Matt RaibleMatt Raible is a Java Champion and Developer Advocate at Okta. developer.okta.com

The JHipster Mini-Book The JHipster Mini-Book is a guide to getting started with hip technologies today: Angular, Bootstrap, and Spring Boot. All of these frameworks are wrapped up in an easy-to-use project called JHipster.

This book shows you how to build an app with JHipster, and guides you through the plethora of tools, techniques and options you can use. Furthermore, it explains the UI and API building blocks so you understand the underpinnings of your great application.

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10+ YEARS


Over 10 years ago, I wrote my first blog post. Since then, I've authored books, had kids, traveled the world, found Trish and blogged about it all.

Devoxx France: A Great Conference in a Magnificent City

Red Eiffel flowers This week, my lovely fiancé and I traveled to the City of Light. Our journey was designed around some speaking engagements at Devoxx France. Devoxx is one of my favorite conference franchises and Devoxx France has been special to me ever since the Devoxx (Belgium) I spoke at in 2011.

2011 was the year I spoke about my experience with Play, Scala, CoffeeScript and Jade. I wrote the presentation on my flight over, composed the demo video the night before and made it all happen in the nick of time. Of course, this was after 120 hours of research and preparation, so the presentation composition process had all the data I needed. You can imagine my sense of relief after pulling off that talk and getting an enthusiastic applause from the audience for my efforts.

One of the first audience questions I received was from Nicolas Martignole, asking if I'd speak at Devoxx France the following year. I whole-heartedly agreed to do it and was excited for the opportunity. It was with great disappointment that I later found out I couldn't attend Devoxx France in 2012. My client didn't like me taking so much time off and I agreed to scale my two week vacation back to 1 week. This year, I was determined to go, so I submitted some of my favorite talks: Comparing JVM Web Frameworks and The Play vs. Grails Smackdown with James Ward. I was extremely pleased when they both got accepted.

Side Story: I met Martin Odersky shortly when he sat down next to me for the Java Posse presentation in Belgium in 2011. After shaking his hand and introducing myself, I had to politely ask him to leave because it was Trish's seat. Talk about awkward; but Martin was very gracious and promptly found a new seat close by.

The Paradox of Choice Comparing JVM Web Frameworks
Both talks required a bit of updating. For Comparing JVM Web Frameworks, I started reading The Paradox of Choice and found many parallels to the agony that developers experience with choosing a web framework. I described how I didn't think good framework decisions were based on the many, many features that frameworks have, but often on pre-defined constraints. There's those lucky developers that get to choose a Full Stack Framework because they're doing greenfield development. Then there's those that want a better Pure Web Framework that replaces something (e.g. Struts) that's not satisfying their needs. And lastly, there's those that've found it possible to leverage a SOFEA and use a JavaScript MVC framework with an API Framework on the backend. I don't think it makes sense to compare all web frameworks and I tried to use these pre-defined constraints (language, platform and application type) argument to separate into categories and help make choosing easier.

I took out the parts of the presentation that've pissed people off in the past - particular the JSF bashing by James Gosling, the Rails gushing from Craig McClanahan and the Pros and Cons sections of each framework. I added the history of web frameworks and research from InfoQ and devrates.com.

History of Web Frameworks 2013

The best part of the JVM Web Frameworks talk was the audience's reaction and enthusiasm. Devoxx always seems to attract passionate developers and Devoxx France was no different. Developers packing the room, clapping after your intro, laughing at your jokes, signifying that they agree with you about JSF. As a speaker, it's an unbelievable experience.

You can view my Comparing JVM Web Frameworks presentation below or on Slideshare.net.

Play Frameworks vs. Grails Smackdown
To prepare for James Ward and my Play vs. Grails Smackdown, we had a number of goals. First of all, we wanted to update our apps to use the latest versions of each framework. I documented what it took for Grails, James just checked in his code to GitHub. It was interesting to see that Grails 2.0.3 -> 2.2.1 caused a number of issues with testing, while Play 2.0.3 -> Play 2.1.0 required API changes, but nothing for tests. Secondly, we updated all the stats for our pretty graphs and ran load tests again.

This is where the fun started. On Tuesday evening, I decided to challenge the notion that Play was twice as fast as Grails. James had proven this with Apache Bench tests. With Play 2.0 and Grails 2.0 (last summer), we clocked Play at 251/requests per second and 198 for Grails. After upgrading each app to the latest releases, we found the numbers to be 233/second for Play and 118 for Grails.

However, Apache Bench only tests until the first byte is received. Since I've done a lot of browser optimizations recently, I fired up whichloadsfaster.com, captured a screenshot and added it to our presentation. The next day, James added a CDN and a bunch of caching to his app and re-ran his AB tests.

Now he was smoking Grails, so I added a CDN and caching as well. However, the best I could do was just over 1000/requests per second, while he was around 2200/second. When he ran live tests during our talk, Play was around 2800/sec and Grails was around 900.

It was great to see how much better performance we could get with caching and a CDN. The best part is this should be available to most applications, not just these frameworks. By adding a CDN (we used Amazon CloudFront) and caching, we were both able to 10x the performance of our apps. You can find our presentation here or view it below.

Summary
This was a very enjoyable conference to attend as a speaker. First of all, it was in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it's also a very special place for Trish and I. We got engaged just outside of Paris in Versailles after the last Devoxx conference I spoke at. Trish has some amazing photos from that trip. Secondly, the Devoxx conference attracts a special kind of developer - one that is passionate about and eager for knowledge. Lastly, speaking with my good friend James, in an exotic city about something we love - that was special. Asking for beers and having them brought to us at the start of our Smackdown. That was magical (thanks Nicolas!).

To all the Devoxx organizers and crew - well done on a great show!

Posted in Java at Mar 29 2013, 01:14:30 PM MDT 3 Comments

Magnificent Mexico

On October 30th, 2012, shortly after I'd woke up, I received an email from my old friend Jess (of Jess and Lili's Legendary Wedding). Its subject: "Wanna go to Mexico?"

We are taking a trip to Mexico Feb 16-24 with some friends from here and have one spot that just came open in the house we are all renting together. It's a sweet spot, 1 hour north of Puerto Vallarta. It has seven bedrooms each with own bathroom, a cook, private beach and nice pool, link below. Works out to about $1100 per week per couple.
...
http://www.laspalapas.tv/home.html

As you can imagine, I was immediately enticed by the opportunity. I checked my schedule, verified they had high-speed internet and responded We're IN! a couple hours later.

A couple weeks ago, we embarked on this journey and had a great time. The house was awesome, the company was fantastic and the views were spectacular. Not only that, but the town we stayed in (Chacala) was very authentic. No resorts, hardly any paved roads and nary a tourist in sight.

The Pool My Love and I Julie at Sunset

Chacala Sunset

We didn't take our kids, but a few families did, resulting in 19 people total. Everyone got along swimmingly, the home-cooked meals were wonderful and the weather was beautiful.

What a great posse! The Chacala gang! YAY Chacalas!

Sweet nap spots in the hammocks Heaven!

!Salud!

Volleyball on our beach For the most part, we didn't do much throughout the week. I had to work, so I spent my days on the computer with an occasional break to play a game of volleyball. I experienced the same issue I did in Maui and Kauai last year, where my MacBook Pro couldn't find my hard drive. Yeah, it's a first-world problem: my laptop tries to stop me from working when I'm on a beach. ;) Luckily, I had a backup (external) hard drive that I could plugin and work from.

We did a whale watching and snorkeling trip on a Catamaran one afternoon. We didn't get any good whale pictures, but we had many sightings.

Kai surfing!
Love this pic of Leif kayaking with Alaia!

I only ventured into Chacala once, but found it to have a lovely beach, good music, and tasty restaurants.

Mariachi Josh with a tasty Sangria

Thanks to Jess and everyone else for inviting us to this magnificent place in Mexico. We had a great time, made a lot of new friends and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Me and My Love

For more photos, see my Mexico 2013 Album or Trish's Mexico Trip 2013!

Posted in General at Mar 05 2013, 10:53:53 AM MST Add a Comment

November Travels to Kauai and Wenatchee

For the last two Novembers, we've celebrated Abbie's birthday, watched the Broncos beat the Chiefs and then headed to Antwerp, Belgium for Devoxx.

2010 was awesome. 2011 was even better.

This year, we chose to celebrate my parent's 40th wedding anniversary instead. It wasn't a hard choice, since they chose Hawaii as their destination of choice. After visiting last year and this summer, we're pretty much in when anyone suggests Hawaii. We got our flights for $10, rented an awesome beach-front house and had a great time with my parents and sisters.

Below was the view from our backyard.

Rainbow in our backyard!

The purpose of this post is to 1) show off some of Trish's spectacular photos and 2) tell you a bit about what we enjoyed.

First of all, the location was fantastic. If you get a chance to stay at Nani Nani Hale, I highly recommend it. We could walk to the beach in seconds and spent a few hours each day on the lanai, enjoying each other's company, playing games, napping and reading. The sunsets were spectacular.

Surfer Sunset

We felt like we never had to leave and really enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere.

Our Lanai Hanalei Pier Happy Family Surf House St Regis Pool

When we did leave, we played golf, went stand up padding or surfing.

Matt Golfing in Kauai Makai Golf Signature Hole Spectacular Green Trish's chip from the sand Happy Ladies Me and Pops

We did a lot of surfing; almost every day.

Goin' for it! Kalin's got it! by

It was awesome seeing my parents so happy after all these years.

Barbara and Joseph Raible, 40 years strong

And it was great spending so much time with my family and their long-time friends Mike and Mai from Montana.

40th Anniversary Crew

Thanksgiving in Wenatchee
We flew back from Hawaii on Monday, November 19th. A red eye brought us to Denver, where we picked up Abbie and Jack and headed to Washington on Wednesday.

My sister and her wife recently moved from Chelan to Wenatchee and Thanksgiving at their house was the name of the game. My parents were already there, since they started their journey to Hawaii from Seattle. We rented another nice VRBO and enjoyed ourselves while cooking, watching football, playing games, hot-tubbing and watching movies.

I love Trish's panorama of Wenatchee in the early morn.

Sunrise in Wenatchee

The kids had fun...

Abbie Jack

As for the adults? I'll let the photo speak for itself. :)

Crazy Happy Family

For more pictures, see Trish's Kauai 2012 and Wenatchee 2012 albums.

Posted in General at Dec 05 2012, 08:59:00 PM MST Add a Comment

Cruising around the Western Caribbean

I've heard great things about Disney Cruise Lines from friends, especially as a fun adventure for kids. That's why I was super pumped to talk my family into going on a Western Caribbean Cruise for Spring Break. As you might've read in my last post, we spent a week in Crested Butte before embarking on our cruise.

ShotSki Research at The Secret Stash While in Crested Butte, I enjoyed the Java Posse Roundup, but unfortunately had to do client work most of the week. However, that didn't stop James Ward, Trish and me from building a Shot-Ski and doing a 5-minute lightning talk on it. We had a great time doing research, getting locals to help us out and beta testing it with JPR attendees. I'll write a blog post on what we learned in the near future. In the meantime, you can check out Trish's Making a Shot-Ski photos.

We left Crested Butte on Thursday (March 29th) and drove back to Denver to meetup with my parents (who drove down from Montana). Friday morning we hopped on a plane and flew to Orlando, Florida and took a bus to Port Canaveral. Abbie and Jack were at their Grandma's in West Palm Beach, so Trish's parents picked them up on their drive up from Naples. We all met with near perfect timing and boarded the Disney Magic around 4 o'clock Friday afternoon.

Raible's and McGinity's welcome to our Disney Cruise!

The Joes Maureen and Abbie Leaving Port Canaveral First Dinner!

My Dad's Stateroom We were immediately impressed with our rooms (we had 3 staterooms next to each other on the 5th floor forward) and their nice portal windows. We saw dolphins jumping in Port Canaveral as we departed and witnessed a horn battle between our ship and the Disney Fantasy. The Disney Fantasy was embarking on its maiden voyage and we saw it many times throughout the trip. That evening, we ventured to the first dinner seating (at 17:45). We were pleased to find out we'd have the same servers all week, at different restaurants throughout the ship.

Key West
Saturday morning, we arrived in Key West and had from 12am-9pm to explore. We took a tour in Key West and learned a lot about the history and architecture of the town. Last time we visited Key West, I was super impressed with Mel Fisher Maritime Museum. It was fun to show it to everyone and we savored some tasty beverages at Margaritaville afterward.

Abbie on stage in Margaritaville Key West Florida Jimmy Buffet mural at Margaritaville Key West Florida

We returned to the ship for dinner that evening and enjoyed the service of Omar (our main server) and Marijah (his assistant) once again. A couple hours laster, the boys (minus Jack) returned to shore to do some bonding. We wandered about, set a match to some cigars and made it back on the ship before it departed. We spent the remainder of the evening in the ship's Sports Bar watching March Madness and talking about Trish and my upcoming wedding.

Bonding in Key West Key West Memories Bonding Night with the Queen

Sunday was a day at sea and we made the most of it. Lots of swimming, relaxing, playing with kids and enjoying each other's company. The ship had two different places that you could drop your kids off and Abbie (9) had a lot of fun attending their activities. Jack wasn't that into it and spent most of his day visiting the soft-serve ice cream machine. That evening, Trish and I journeyed to a romantic dinner at the ship's 18-and-older restaurant and celebrated our 1-year "moved in together" anniversary.

Grand Cayman
Monday, we arrived at Grand Cayman early in the morning and were ashore by 8am. We had a snorkeling expedition planned so promptly gathered and headed out to sea on a snorkeling boat. The weather was beautiful, the water was warm and snorkeling around a shipwreck was a very memorable experience.

Abbie and Jack arrive in Grand Cayman Islands Baba is excited to go snorkeling!

Barb and Joe going shipwreck snorkeling in Grand Cayman Abbie is a little nervous about the shipwreck

We visited the Hard Rock cafe to get my Dad a t-shirt, purchased some Tobago Rum Cakes and finished with a tour of the new Cayman Islands National Museum. We were back on the ship by 4 so our parents could have their own romantic dinner that evening.

Raible and McGinity dinner

Cozumel
Tuesday morning, we woke up in Cozumel. Trish and my parents headed to shore for some exploring while I slept in with the kids and ate at the "something for everyone" breakfast buffet. In the afternoon, we all headed to shore for a submarine ride. The submarine adventure was very cool, going down 120 ft. and even taking us to the edge of a cliff on the ocean floor. We got to see several schools of fish, loads of coral reef and even a sea turtle swimming along the bottom.

Cute Kids Submariners

Disney Double Date! Mimi and Baba Monkeys

The highlight of Cozumel was Manuel. After the submarine ride, we took a taxi to a restaurant with a great view and had a couple margaritas and some excellent steak tacos. While we were finishing up, a man walked up to us and asked if we wanted him to play us a song on his guitar. We said yes and gave him our small change ($1.75) for his serenade.

Shortly after, we got up to leave the restaurant and walk back to the ship. That's when Trish came up with a brilliant idea and asked Manuel if he'd be willing to walk with us around town and play music the whole time. She offered him $20 and he quickly agreed.

What followed was lots of laughs, smiling and dancing through the streets of Cozumel. Not only from us, but also from many of the locals. Manuel was an excellent mariachi musician and provided an exciting sense of celebration around us for the next 20 minutes.

Trish paid Manuel $20 to walk with us and play... Trish paid Manuel $20 to walk with us and play...

Our posse with our Guitarrón Amigo in the Plaza Cozumel Mexico

Wednesday was another day at sea as we traveled from Cozumel to Disney's private island in the Bahamas: Castaway Cay. We got a kick out of the ship's activities, from Beer Tasting to watching the John Carter movie in 3D. I snapped some sweet photos that night as we were watching the sun set over the horizon.

A thing of beauty

Long Lasting Love

Castaway Cay
At first, I thought Castaway Cay was going to be like Disney World, just on an island. I was expecting all kinds of rides and an amusement park. I was surprised to find it was nothing like that, but more of a private beach with all kinds of bars, games, water sports and even a water slide. The kids had a blast building sand castles, learning how to play checkers and exploring the island. I had a massage to the sound of ocean waves in the afternoon and we hopped back on the ship around 5 that afternoon.

That night, we had to pack up our luggage by 10 and put it out so it could be checked into our flight the next day. Disney did an awesome job of handling our luggage both to and from the cruise. All we had to do was attach bag tags in Denver and our bags arrived at our room shortly after boarding. On the way home, we gave them our bags on Thursday night and didn't see them until arriving in Denver.

Our crew on the Disney Magic!

The last morning on the Disney Magic was a bit early. We had to be at breakfast at 6:45, were off the ship by 8 and at the Orlando airport by 9. Our flight was at 7 that night, so we suddenly found ourselves with 9 hours of free time and nothing to do.

LEGOLAND
Last year around this time, Jack was struggling in school and getting in trouble almost every-other-day. In an attempt to promote good behavior, I told him I'd take him to LEGOLAND if he had 10 days in a row of good behavior. This didn't seem to help and we ended the school year with no trip planned. However, when this school year started, he had excellent behavior (which has continued all year) and quickly remembered my promise.

As we were sitting in Orlando's airport, I remembered this promise and 30 minutes later we had a car rented and were driving to see some legos. We spent a joyous day there, riding the few rides they had and marveling over all the things you could build with legos. It was a fun way to end our wonderful vacation.

This cruise was a first for myself, my kids and my parents. We were extremely impressed with Disney's Customer Service and have never felt more pampered in our lives. All the crew we interacted with knew our names by the second days and were some of the most kid-friendly people I've ever met. The food was excellent, the weather was beautiful and the activities were plentiful. It wasn't until the last night that we realized there were 15 bars on the ship, and by that time it was too late for a pub crawl. Oh well, there's always next time. ;-)

For more pictures from our Disney Magic voyage, see our photos on Flickr.

Posted in General at Apr 15 2012, 06:05:57 PM MDT Add a Comment

Our Engaging Trip to Paris and Antwerp

If you're a technologist, you should attend the Devoxx conference at least once in your life. It's one of the finest conferences on the planet. If you're a fan of Belgian beer, you owe it to yourself to visit Belgium to savor a taste. If you're a romantic, Paris is a recommended destination. Since I'm a technologist, love Belgian beer and consider myself a romantic, I went for the trifecta a couple weeks ago on what's becoming an annual trek to Devoxx. When Trish and I traveled to Devoxx last year, we flew to Amsterdam and took the train to Antwerp. This year, we decided to fly to Paris and take the train.

Much like last year, we witnessed another Broncos over Chiefs victory the Sunday before we left. That night, I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning finishing my Devoxx presentation. We left Denver around noon and met up with James Ward at the Red Carpet Club in Chicago. While sipping cocktails and catching up, I wrote a blog post about how PhoneGap rescued me a couple days earlier.

We slept soundly on the flight over, thanks to little sleep the night before. After arriving in Paris, we took the train to the the Notre Dame de Paris and had some breakfast nearby.

Notre Dame Cathedral Paris

We were planning on exploring throughout the day, but quickly realized that hauling our bags around was no fun and headed to Gare du Nord to catch a Thalys train to Brussels. We gasped at the cost of two first-class tickets, but soon forgot when we settled into our seats with free wi-fi, Belgian beers and power. After talking a local train to Antwerp, we finished our 21-hour journey by checking into the Hilton Antwerp in the city center. We were warmly welcomed with excellent Belgian beers on ice in our room and celebrated with a delicious meal at De Godevaart.

On Wednesday, I headed to Devoxx and attended a couple of great talks: Play 2.0, A web framework for a new era and PhoneGap for Hybrid App Development. As you can imagine, both talks were extremely interesting for me since I'd been using Play for several months and was recently saved by PhoneGap. Play 2.0 Beta was announced just before the Play talk and my blog post about the Play 2.0 session was picked up by Hacker News and the hits rolled in.

That afternoon, I headed back to my hotel with James Ward and met up with Trish for a couple beers. We spent a few hours in our hotel lobby updating presentations, editing videos, editing photos and getting ready for our talks on Thursday. That evening, we enjoyed a scrumptious dinner in the dungeon-like Pelgrom and conversations with Kevin Nilson, Sadek Drobi, Guillaume Bort and David Geary. I was pleased to find out from Sadek and Guillaume that Play 2.0 will include many fast website best practices, including concatenation, minification and gzipping of static assets. We retired early to get a good night's sleep before my talk on Thursday.

Kwak Kwak Kwak! Candle at Pelgrom

Matt Raible and Crew at Devoxx dinner Matt Raible at Pelgrom

On Thursday, both Trish and I journeyed to Devoxx to watch James Ward talk about how to deploy Java, Play Framework, and Scala apps on Heroku. My talk was an hour later and I gulped as I stood up front and watched the (very large) auditorium fill up with Devoxxians. Since I'd never rehearsed my talk or timed it, I was a bit nervous. Luckily, it ended up being one of my best-timed performances and there was even time for Q and A at the end. You can imagine the smile on my face as AC/DC's Thunderstruck blasted through the speakers during my video demo. After my talk finished, it was great to see all the positive feedback on Twitter and enjoy an "Atlas Beer" while watching Java Posse Live.

James Ward speaking on Heroku at Devoxx Matt Raible speaking at Devoxx Belgium 2011

Audience at Matt Raible's Presentation Devoxx Belgium

That evening, we had dinner with the Java Posse crew and James Ward before heading to the Devoxx Party @ Noxx.

Devoxx Party @ Noxx

Yes, we had an awesome time at Devoxx. I was pleased with the positive response from my talk and learned a bunch from the few talks I attended. Thanks to Stephan for inviting me and organizing one of the best conferences I've ever attended. For our last night in Antwerp, we dined at Huis De Colvenier and especially enjoyed our aperitif in the 19th-century wine cellar.

Huis De Colvenier Huis De Colvenier Huis De Colvenier Huis De Colvenier

Riverside in Antwerp Antwerp Town Square

Mmmm, Belgium Beer... We love Belgian Beer

Paris and Beyond
This brings us to my favorite part of this story. I was pretty stressed leading up to our departure to Devoxx because I had so many deadlines. I had a deadline with my current client to finish up some features before I left, I had to finish my Devoxx presentation (and app developed for the talk) and I had a secret deadline to finish my proposal to Trish. That's right, I was planning on proposing marriage to my dream girl. I mean, we were going to the diamond capital of the world (Antwerp) and one of Earth's most romantic cities (Paris). It seemed like the perfect opportunity to ask her to marry me. We did some ring shopping before we left Denver, but she didn't realize I had purchased one before we left.

We're both big music fans, so I decided months earlier that I would propose with lines from songs we both liked. Of course, I waited until the last minute to compose my prose, but I did finish it before we left for Europe. However, with all the Devoxx shenanigans, I didn't have time to memorize my proposal. Instead, I recorded it using the "Voice Memos" on my iPhone. I did this in the wee hours of the morning on Friday, while I was watching the Broncos game on the internet.

Saturday afternoon, we traveled to Paris via Thalys and checked into our hotel around sunset. When we stepped outside an hour later, I remember saying to Trish, "the Eiffel Tower looks pretty small, I thought it'd be bigger". After walking for a bit, it turned from small to big to huge. My plan that night was to propose on the tower. As Trish snapped pictures along our walk, I was taking out the piece of paper I had the proposal printed on and trying to memorize it. As you can imagine, I had to to this stealthily and by the time we reached the Eiffel Tower, I had enough memorized to propose. We arrived around midnight and were disappointed to find it was closed. This terminated my proposal plans for that night, but we still enjoyed the sparkling tower lights and took several pictures.

The Eiffel Tower The Eiffel Tower

The next day, Sunday, we traveled to the Château de Versailles. This was a recommendation from my good friend Eric, who had recently traveled to Paris with his wife, Heather. In fact, I owe a lot to Eric. He recommended we extend our trip to Paris (he'd traveled there disgruntled about not doing a beach vacation, then fell in love with the city) and suggested a number of great locations to visit. He also recommended proposing in the Gardens of Versailles, a very romantic location according to him. I had this in the back of my mind as we did an audio tour through the Palace of Versailles. As we ventured out into the Orangerie, I started hatching a plan to get Trish down to the gardens and try to rent bikes. We both love biking and the outdoors, so I figured it'd be a nice way to spend our memorable moment. As we strolled closer and I didn't see bikes to rent, I spotted the Grand Canal and noticed they had row boats.

The Versailles Orangerie Château de Versailles Gardens of Versailles Trees in the Versailles Gardens

Bassin d’Apollon – the Apollo Fountain

When we first arrived at the boat dock, there was a long line, but it magically disappeared moments later. We stepped into the boat, rowed to the center of the canal and paused for a bit to take in the beautiful day and the setting sun. Trish asked me to row to a better spot so she could photograph the sunset, but instead I said "here, listen to this" and handed her my headphones. I pressed play and watched her face light up as she heard my voice in her ears. 90 seconds later, I asked "Trish McGinity, will you marry me?" She responded with, "Of course!" :)

Happy Versailles Sunset

The rest of our trip in Paris was quite romantic and fun. We decided to wait until we got back to The States before telling anyone we were engaged. This meant we had three days of just us, Paris and some of the most beautiful art in the world. We explored the Louvre for 5-hours on Monday, marveling at the low-rider on display near the entrance and all the famous paintings.

Trish and the Louvre At The Louvre Lowrider in the Louvre Liberty Leading the People

Louvre

We imbibed in $40 martinis at The Hemingway Bar and scarfed down some delicious pizza at Gambino's. We had breakfast at Angelina's, toured La Sainte-Chapelle, hiked up Arc de Triomphe and wandered through the shopping districts Champs-Élysées and Faubourg St-Honoré. Yes, we fell in love with Paris and can't wait to return for Devoxx France in April.

Arc de Triumph

We departed Paris on the Wednesday morning before Thanksgiving and arrived in Boston that evening. We spent the next three days with Trish's family and our good friends, Chris, Julie, Lili and Wes. We did a 5K Turkey Trot on Thursday morning, followed by football watching and eating succulent turkey while basking in everyone's joy for us. We smiled, giggled, laughed, guffawed, smiled some more and had an all-around great time the rest of the weekend.

We returned home on Sunday evening, departing Boston's Logan airport only minutes after the Broncos kicked a field goal in overtime to beat the Chargers. Our flight was delayed just long enough (3 hours) that we got to watch almost the whole game. It was the perfect ending to a phenomenal trip.

To see more pictures from this adventure, see Trish's fantastic photos and mine on Flickr.

Posted in General at Dec 04 2011, 04:02:34 PM MST 12 Comments

Oregon, Cape Cod and Fun in Winter Park

Silver Falls State Park I'm proud to say it's been almost a month since my last blog entry. This can only mean one thing → I've been having too much fun to blog. The good news is I finally found time to write about our recent adventures, so grab yourself a tasty beverage and read on.

Within hours of my last blog post, Trish and I hopped on a plane to visit my good friends, Clint and Autumn, in Oregon. We flew into Portland and spent the weekend hiking in Silver Falls and drinking good beer at the Oregon Brewers Festival and Edgefield. Edgefield is one my favorite places on Earth, encapsulating a farm/resort environment with 27 different features. The features range from a soaking pool to a winery to a pool hall to scotch tasting in a shack next to a garden.

Thirsty Field of Flowers

The weekend was especially fun since Autumn was pregnant and it was two weeks before the due date of their first child. Broderick Jordan Wilburn Foster was born yesterday and I hear the whole family is doing well.

Trish and I spent the night at Edgefield on Saturday and caught an early flight from Portland to Boston the next morning. Her brother (also named Matt) lives near Boston and we drove our rental Volvo convertible (to fit in with the New Englanders) to his house Sunday night. On the Hertz Bus from the airport met Nigel Parry, a professional photographer. Not just anybody, but someone that's shot pictures of some very famous people. Trish is also a photographer, so they had a long conversation and it inspired her to resign from her sales job last week. Actually, it wasn't that meeting, she's been wanting to be a famous photographer since she was in high school. Now that dream shall happen. She's awesome.

On Monday afternoon, we picked up Abbie and Jack from the Boston airport. They flew up from West Palm Beach on their first unaccompanied minors flight. We drove them to Cape Cod and settled into Trish's parents house near the water. The rest of the week, we had a blast with our friends Chris and Julie and the entire McGinity clan. We boated, grilled, flew down the water slides, played miniature golf and toured Martha's Vineyard. We had a pool party, played some pool and sang our hearts out at karaoke. Trish's brother's kids are the same age as mine, so you couldn't wipe the smiles off our kids' faces, especially when we had the tunes cranked with the top down on the convertible.

Wheeee!! Hercules! Michael and Jack

Monkey Shadows

For more pictures of this super-fun trip, see Summer Fun in Oregon and Cape Cod part 1 and 2.

After returning from Boston, we had a week without kids and lived it to the fullest with a John Butler Trio concert at Red Rocks and the Winter Park Beer Festival. Trish's friend Joanna and my good friend, "The Professor" joined us for a weekend of mountain biking and sweet mountain views. We even got to hang out with James Ward and his wife Jenny at the beer festival. Sunday, we hiked up the beautiful Columbine Lake Trail. Trish's dog, Sagan (named after Carl) chased sticks and was his crazy self as usual.

Cheers! Crazy Sagan!

We drove back Monday morning to be there for the kids first day of school. They sure start early these days don't they?

First Day of 2nd and 3rd Grade

I rode my bike 168 miles to and from work throughout the following week. The next weekend, we took the kids up to the Ski Shack for their first time. I hired a guy to make queen-size bunk beds for them, so they had a blast in their new roomy beds. On Saturday, we had a garage sale since the previous owners left a bunch of beds and couches and we didn't need all that furniture. The turnout was great and we got to hang out with Jodi and James, Suzie, and The Lamonts. All of these folks are old friends that just happened to be in the mountains for the weekend. One of Trish's best friends, Chris, has a place less than a mile from us and we had a blast with her on Saturday night. Thanks for the fun memories Chris!

On Sunday, we took the kids the Winter Park Base Area where they have Disneyland in the Mountains as I like to call it. An alpine slide, miniature golf, a maze, a climbing wall and a Chili Cook-Off to keep Daddy happy. We met our good friend Suzie there and had a lot of fun with Chris, Brice and their crazy kids. Enjoying an Avery White Rascal at the Cheeky Monk's happy hour was the perfect way to end the day.

Abbie and Jack on the Cabriolet Chili Cook Off! Abbie on the Trampoline

Nice flip Jack!

Sunday night, we were graced with the presence of a beautiful sunset.

Sunset Views from the shack

Happy Kids Sunday Sunset

That pretty much catches you up-to-date with the goings on in my life. As you can tell, it's been a great summer so far. I'm really looking forward to the fall too. Broncos season, a trip to Hawaii, learning new technologies, talking about them at Devoxx and a new gig.

I've decided to leave Overstock because I'm a die-hard Broncos fan and I can't work for a company that supports the Raiders during football season. There's a good chance I'll be back after the season, just in time for The Greatest Snow on Earth. ;)

This weekend, my parents are meeting us in Winter Park for Labor Day weekend. We plan on fishing, hiking, smiling and enjoying each other's company a whole lot. Tomorrow is Jack's birthday. I gotta run ... it's time to go buy a bike, play a little golf, hit the pool and go to the BBQ before tonight's CD Release Party.

Posted in General at Aug 27 2011, 01:50:52 PM MDT 1 Comment

4th of July Adventures in Montana

Montana is one of my favorite places on earth, especially the The Cabin. Like last year and the year before, I spent a couple weeks at the cabin for this year's 4th of July. Last year was interesting because I met Trish two days before my vacation. This year, she joined me for the 2nd week, along with her Dad. It was also the "90s Reunion" for the Seeley Swan High School, which I attended my freshman and sophomore year.

My parents have lived at the cabin for a little over a year now, having retired there last year. It now looks like it did when we were kids. That is, it feels like home rather than just a cabin in the woods. Their retirement cabin is coming along nicely and the finished bathroom with a toilet + shower provides a nice break from the outhouse and sauna. It was interesting to see all the logging being done on The Homestead. My parents hired someone to clean things up and it looks great so far. They're not clear-cutting, just thinning the forest to reduce fire danger and give more resources to the big trees.

Abbie, Mimi, Jack and Joleen The Logging Operation Happy Kids at Seeley Lake Lookout at Sunset

There were several highlights of the trip, but one of my favorites was our Float in the Swan Valley Parade. Abbie came up with the idea (Happy Birthday America) and we decorated an old trailer with streamers, balloons and a birthday cake to celebrate. Abbie made up a song and sang it throughout the entire parade (with a portable microphone and amp). We all got dunked afterwards, drank some cheap beer and had lots of fun fiddlin' and swinging. The fireworks that night were epic and Trish and I were amazed late night when we smiled on a crowded campfire with many of my parents' old friends.

Abbie singing "Happy Birthday America" Abbie before getting dunked Jack and Joe Fiddlin' Trish

The next day, we woke up, recovered a bit and then headed for Glacier National Park. We spent the afternoon at Big Sky Waterpark and had a great night's rest at Glacier Mountain Lodge. Trish woke up early the next morning for some sunrise shots at Lake McDonald and we enjoyed a short hike to Avalanche Lake that afternoon. Unfortunately, Going-to-the-Sun Road was closed due to snow so we were unable to drive to the top. 2011 is the latest they've ever opened.

Happy Abbie Thirsty Boy Paddleboating Lake McDonald, Glacier National Park

The rest of our vacation was spent doing early morning airport runs, riding the 4-wheeler, golfing and hanging out with old friends. For the trip home, we took the scenic route, driving through Yellowstone and Grand Teton. We stopped along the way to spend the night at Jackson Lake Lodge, shortly after marveling at a Grizzly Bear and her two cubs along the highway. Trish snapped some some magnificent sunset and sunrise photos and we packed up the car for the final journey home. After being gone for 3 weeks, I've never seen the kids happier to cross the Colorado State Line.

As far as vacation destinations go, Montana is one of my favorites. This year was special because I had the pleasure of sharing it with Trish. She's always wanted to photograph Glacier National Park and the Grand Tetons and we were lucky enough to visit both. I also got to share a lot of smiles and memories with old classmates and friends. I experienced the joy of seeing my parents back home, living as Montanans once again and loving every minute of it. I smiled proudly as Abbie thought up the "Happy Birthday America" float and then sang on it the whole way through the parade. I simply loved spending so much time with my family in such a beautiful place.

Finally, I'd like to share a picture montage that Trish put together of the trip. Below that are some of her best shots from our adventures. As always, you can find see my latest photos on Flickr.

The Raible Cabin

Sunrise at Jackson Lake by Trish McGinity Abbie at The Tetons by Trish McGinity

Path to Tetons with wildflowers

Posted in General at Jul 19 2011, 09:24:54 AM MDT 2 Comments

A Sweet Trip to Switzerland for Jazoon 2011

I've always enjoyed speaking at conferences, especially those in exotic locations. Earlier this year, I saw Jazoon's call for papers and thought, "I've never been to Switzerland, sounds fun!" I proceeded to submit a talk, got accepted and booked a trip with my girlfriend, Trish. We left Denver last Tuesday and arrived in Zürich on Wednesday around noon. After settling into our awesome accommodations at Hotel Opera, we journeyed to the conference location, which was held at a movie theater.

We were quickly impressed when we learned the conference had reserved a theater for an evening showing of The Hangover 2. We grabbed some drinks from the bar and settled in for a couple hours of giggling and barely staying awake from jetlag.

Zürich quickly made an impression on us the first day. We experienced its excellent transportation system (trains, trams, buses and boats) and saw a number of fancy cars (a Bently, a Lamborghini and a Ferrari). Prices were high, but the food was excellent.

Zürich Airport Sunset in Zürich Zurich Shopping District Ferrari Ferrari

On Thursday, we woke up and Trish realized she'd left her expensive Nikon lenses on our flight from Atlanta to Amsterdam. This realization hit her hard and she scrambled to try and find them by contacting the airlines. I rushed off to the conference to catch Frank Kim's What Every Developer Should Know About Application Security. This was a great session and I especially enjoyed that he selected Apache Roller as the application to hack. After that, I attended Ed Burns' Hyperproductive JSF and published my notes.

Then I met Trish for lunch at the conference and we went to the room for my talk. We had some technical difficulties to start (my brand-new Mini-DVI connector was bad) and I started about 10 minutes late. During this mad scramble to fix things, I started having some stomach issues, but ignored them thinking I could make it through my 50 minute talk. As I was doing demos and sweating profusely, I realized I couldn't make it and ran out of the room with 10 minutes left. The whole experience shook me up a bit. It was definitely not my best performance, but it could've been a lot worse. ;-)

Friday, we tried to sleep off our jet lag and woke up in the early afternoon. Trish had three places she wanted to visit and we managed to see them all in the same day. We climbed the tower at Grossmünster, rode the train to Rhine Falls and celebrated our anniversary at Gruelich, the highest-rated restaurant on TripAdvisor. We arrived at Guelich around 10pm and were very happy when they agreed to serve us. We did the 4-course meal and had the Sommelier choose our wines. It wasn't cheap, but definitely worth the experience.

View from Great Church Happy Couple in Zürich Riding the Train Rhine Falls!

Whoa! Rhine Falls Flowers

Olives and Sprouts Scallops and Tomato Dessert at Greulich Greulich's Backyard Trees

After dinner, we took the 8 Tram back to our hotel. However, it somehow turned into the 9 and we ended up on the opposite side of the lake. This turned out to be a nice diversion as we had a nice walk around the lake with some nice swans and lights on the water.

Swans on Lake Zürich Cool Lights Night Colors of Lake Zürich

Mmmmm, breakfast! Saturday, we woke up early for a big day of travel to the Swiss Alps. We enjoyed a scrumptious breakfast at the hotel and headed for the central train station. My good friend, Fernand, recommended we visit Grindelwald, while one of Trish's best friends thought we'd love the quaintness of Gimmelwald. We gulped at the price (500 USD) of the train ticket to both locations, but were impressed that you could buy all the tickets we needed (including the bus and trolley ride) at one place. We both quickly forgot the cost as we passed through the beautiful town of Interlaken and arrived in Grindelwald. An hour later we were hiking through Gletscherschlucht (Glacier Gorge) and marveling at the craftsmanship of the trail.

Grindelwald! Grindelwald, Switzerland Grindelwald from Gletscherschlucht Cue Water Rushing Sound

After enjoying a beer on a patio with a view, we boarded the train for Gimmelwald. A transfer, bus ride and cable car ride later, we were standing in the picturesque town, marveling that it had a lower elevation than Denver and perplexed that everyone seemed to be American. We strolled around, took a number of cool photos and had a scrumptious dinner at the Pension Gimmelwald.

Gimmelwald Gimmelwald Flora Path in Gimmelwald The Swiss Alps

Purple in Gimmelwald Trish as Julie Andrews Yodeling Cheers from Gimmelwald!

On our train ride home, we missed our connection in Interlaken. This was no surprise as we regularly encountered very short layovers between trains. The Swiss are incredibly efficient and our brief stop in a store (that had a line at the cashier) was enough to miss the next train. The hour layover turned into a nice opportunity to stroll around town and snap a few last pictures. I especially like the sunset below, taken around 9:30 at night.

Interlaken Sunset

Trish and I both were super-impressed with Zürich, the friendliness of the Swiss and especially the Swiss Alps. Yes, it was definitely expensive, but everything was top notch and beautiful. There's a very good chance we'll visit again. Thanks to the Jazoon Organizers for having us and providing us the opportunity to explore their gorgeous country.

Posted in General at Jun 28 2011, 12:52:33 PM MDT 4 Comments

Good Times on The Annual Father's Day Camping Trip

Four years ago, I started an annual tradition with my kids: The Father's Day Camping Trip. The last two, I've flown my Dad in and we've journeyed to the Great Sand Dunes National Park. This year, we decided to stay a little closer to home and head up to Lake Granby. Both my parents flew in again, the kids returned from a month in Florida, and Trish and I packed up her puppies for a wonderful weekend.

When we arrived, the weather wasn't great. We showed up an hour before sunset and had just enough time to setup our tents before the rain started. It proceeded to rain throughout the night, but our tent help up nicely and we never got wet.

Lake Grandby Sunset Kids on the Beach

Mom and Dad - Fishing Preparations Stillwater Campground Rocks!

On Saturday, we did some fishing, hiked along the East Shore Trail, rode our bikes, and had a great time relaxing and enjoying each other's company. It only rained for a bit in the afternoon, the rest of the time we sat back and enjoyed beautiful views.

Beautiful Colorado Abbie on the shores of Lake Grandby

Happy Jack Mama Moose and Babies in Rocky Mountain National Park

On Sunday, we drove back through Rocky Mountain National Park, saw a moose and her two calves and enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. I really enjoyed spending so much time with my family this weekend. The good news is we get to do it again when I meet them at The Cabin in Montana next week. In the meantime, Trish and I are off to Jazoon for a few days of fun in Switzerland.

If you'd like to see more pictures from our Father's Day Camping Adventure, please see my Father's Day at Lake Granby album on Flickr.

Posted in General at Jun 20 2011, 10:38:01 PM MDT Add a Comment

Music, Mountain Biking and Memories in Moab

Moab is one of my favorite place on Earth. It has been ever since I first journeyed there in college for a float trip down the Green River. Last year, I mountain biked in Moab for the first time and had a great time at Desert Rocks. This year, I made the trek again, but this time with the lovely Trish McGinity. The story of our drive out there last Friday is one of my favorites.

I've been a longtime fan of nice car stereos. You know, the ones you hate when you roll up to a stop light and their bass shakes your car. I, probably like you, don't enjoy someone else's nice stereo - but I've often enjoyed having one in my own car. It's been quite a few years since I've had a bass-tastic system in my car, but I still have the music on my iPhone.

So Trish and I are driving down I-70 in her Xterra and one of my old bass songs comes on. I say, "We can skip this one, it only sounds good on stereos with bass". She looks at me, cracks a half-smile and says "Oh, you don't think I have bass?" She then proceeds to turn some nobs and press some buttons and seconds later my seat is vibrating and the mirrors are shaking. I was appalled, overjoyed and super-impressed all at the same time. Turns out she has a Rockford Fosgate system with a subwoofer under the drivers seat and it sounded awesome. A wicked fun roadtrip ensued.

Shortly after my oh-my-god-you're-so-awesome-woman moment, we stopped in Fruita for a mountain bike ride on Horsethief Bench. This was a beautiful ride along the Colorado River with tons of flowers along the way.

Fruita Horsethief Bench in Fruita Hike-a-bike at Fruita

The purpose of our trip was 1) camping and enjoying the outdoors in Moab and 2) listening to great music at Desert Rocks. Our good friend, "The Professor", had driven out to Moab earlier in the week. He scored us a great camp site and we promptly set up our tent when we arrived. We installed some tikki torches, rolled out a small living room rug and settled into our camping chairs for cold beers. That evening, we saw several good bands and danced into the wee hours of the morning.

The rest of the weekend was spent 4x4ing, mountain biking, dancing and hiking in Arches National Park. We enjoyed tons of great music, with our favorites being Scenic Byway, Great American Taxi, JGB feat. Melvin Seals, MarchFourth Marching Band and Hot Buttered Rum.

One of the best way to describe good memories is with pictures. When you have a professional photographer with you, it only makes sense to end this post with some of Trish's best photos.

La Sal Mountains from Desert Rocks Scenic Byway

Bar-B or Killer B? Three Gossips and Tower of Babel

For more pictures, checkout my Moab and Desert Rocks 2011 Set on Flickr.

Posted in General at Jun 03 2011, 10:15:25 AM MDT 3 Comments