First Impressions of My Craftsmanship Swap With 8th Light

This post was originally published on the Elabs blog, before Elabs and Varvet joined forces.

This Saturday, I left a rainy Göteborg at 7 am and I arrived 2 pm to Chicago, where Paul Pagel from 8th Light came and picked me up. Paul showed me around in Chicago. We went to the Millenium park and saw the famous Cloud Gate sculpture. After that we had a couple of beers and went to a barbecue party on a big terrace with a beautiful view over the Chicago skyline. I went home pretty early since I had been up for almost 24 hours. And of course I forgot to tip the taxi driver on the way to the hotel. It’s not easy being a Swede and not being used to tip all the time.

On Sunday I took the Architecture River Cruise; there was a fantastic guide telling stories about the buildings. I actually learned one thing on the boat trip: the difference between modern and post modern architecture. Modern architecture follows the rule: "less is more" while post modern let the surroundings effect the form of the building. Therefore a modern building can be placed in any city and still fit in, while a post modern building only has one right place - the current. I can highly recommend that boat trip - it was awesome.

After only two days in Chicago I’m already in love with the town.

8th Light

This Monday morning I took the train from Chicago Union Station to Libertyville. I felt very excited to join all the craftsmen at 8th light. After saying hi to everyone I got to pairprogram with Doug Bradbury. It was a multi language project (C++, Java, Ruby). But fortunately we only programed in Ruby. The application handles reservations of computers in libraries. I learned a lot of new stuff today. The most profound thing I learned or the most extreme thing I did was to pairprogram with Doug when he was on a treadmill - that’s extreme programming. I also got to work in IntelliJ for the first time. It’s very nice but I’m still a Textmate guy, but since Ruby 1.9 still isn’t working properly with all the bundles, I’m thinking about switching editor. IntelliJ might be the one.

NoSQL at Obtiva

In the evening, we went on to the a to Obtiva office’s, downtown Chicago, for a NoSQL group meeting. They had a very nice office and served some delicious food. It was an open discussion around a paper (CAP - Consistency, Availability, and Partitioning) that everyone had read beforehand. Interesting but very technical. We had to leave early since we had to catch the train back to Libertyville, a one hour train ride, so we missed the last part of the group meeting.


One hard thing coming from Sweden to USA, is to program on an american keyboard. Since we have the letters å, ä, ö, in our alphabet, the important “programmer keys” are positioned differently. So there’s some fumbling on the keyboard while trying to find the right keys.



So far it has been a great experience. I love the town and the people. I’m very glad for having this opportunity to travel from Sweden to Chicago and getting to know the 8th Light guys. Finally a big thank to Micah Martin and CJ Kihlbom for making this a reality. Now it’s time get some sleep before a new exciting day at 8th Light.