This is the second year PNW Scala was held, and I went there again. Again, I got an AirBnB -- my last year's was taken, so I found a new one, at the foot of the Broadway Bridge across the Left Bank Annex. It even had a jacuzzi on the roof. This year was unusually cold for Portland, below freezing, and patches of snow remained on the ground. Friday morning I started walking across the bridge and found a long line of cyclists crossing into the Pearl District. There was a thin film of ice on the sides of the bridge above the ground, and some of them were falling, causing the following cycle to fall too. There was no ice above the river -- apparently the Willamette warms it up! There was even a mom on a bike with a child in a trailer, fortunately she was walking the bike as many other cyclists.
I had to walk like a penguin, as I had a backpack and my camera on. A jogger said. "it's a challenge!" Bikers were asking whether it's icy, and I was warning them. Finally I made it to the Annex. It was warm inside, coffee was flowing, Thomas Lockney was handing out the badges (or rather pointing that they are laid out in order by the first name), and the conference was starting.
Jon Pretty started with the 50 Rapture one-liners -- what a great way to focus your attention on beautiful Scala code!
Brendan McAdams made a real good inroads into
Scalaz with his "Skeptic's view of the Scalaz gateway drugs." Validations, disjunctions, non-empty lists are great things in so many contexts, but especially in web/API programming.
Evan Chan was engaging as usual, with a very clear pathway from Scala collections to Spark, which is basically distributed Scala.
Helena Edelson talked about Cassandra Spark connector. This was the first time I saw her present -- she's great! Definitely want to see her speak at Big Data Scala in August 2015. She also said that there will be a native Cassandra Scala driver, based on the code in the Spark connector.
White Pages guys impressed us all with their monadic prowess. Monads are computational contexts. That's the definition I can finally remember, which is also an answer to the title of Dick Wall's webinar, "What have monads ever done for us?"
Erik Asheim's talk was the most computationally beautiful, presenting a rigorous way to compute with any given precision using countable Rational numbers. It is implemented in Spire -- we really need a Spire talk at SF Scala soon!