Midnight Mobility Madness - putting the “mob” in “mobility”

by Peter_vdL Motorola 03-06-2012 10:32 AM - edited 03-07-2012 11:59 AM

At the airport, the gate agent informed me my flight was delayed for two hours “because of weather”.  Maybe she was telling the truth.  All I knew was that I’d be two hours late for my event at the destination.   

I was on my way to an unusual software developer event, known as “Midnight Mobility Madness”.   Midnight Mobility Madness is an evening of “edu-tainment” that alternates between "technical presentations about mobile software", and "noisy contests for novelty prizes".   Guess which I was there for?  Really? (Well, sez you, mister!  I was actually there because I’d been invited to give one of the tech talks).

There have been several previous Midnight Mobility Madnesses, all of them associated with the developer conferences of enterprise software company SAP.   Tonight’s event coincided with the SAP Insider conference in Las Vegas. Because of the flight delay, the Mid/Mob/Mad event had already started when I got there.  I entered the auditorium just in time to hear the warm and capable event organizer Marian announce “One of our speakers isn’t here right now, so …”  I didn’t want Marian to give everyone the wrong impression, so I shouted out “I’m here!  I’m the missing speaker and I’m here!”   
People talk about being surprised by events, but what happened next was truly unexpected.  Everyone nearby rushed up to me, and begged for my autograph!  As more and more people realized that I was the “absent” speaker Marian was talking about, they joined in the general clamor for my autograph.  I haven’t been this popular since I was eight years old, and a sudden toothache motivated me to give away all my Halloween candy to the neighborhood kids!  I had the presence of mind to snap this photo of my new posse of admiring fans!


Admiring fans mob Peter for his autograph!

This outburst of crowd enthusiasm was surely a long overdue recognition of my speaking, writing, and coding talents?  Sad to say, this natural assumption proved inaccurate.   It turned out I had arrived at the start of the first contest.  The contest had the audience trying to guess who the speakers were, by matching “fun facts” about them, and getting their fact sheet signed off in return.  There were some great prizes for the winners. By identifying myself as one of the speakers, I caused a mob scene worthy of ancient Rome, and used up my 15 minutes of fame all in one go.  But it was quite a rush while it lasted!

Later in the evening, I delivered my presentation on “The customizable Conference Room App.” The presentation is an app I wrote that lets the user choose the name of a conference room, and then displays a map of the floor of the building where that conference is located.  All the data is externalized into resource files, so it’s easy to change the app to use the conference room names and maps for your organization.   

You can download the “customizable Conference Room App” at this link.   Unzip the downloaded file.  One of the files within it is “”.  Don’t unzip it - that zip file can be imported into MOTODEV Studio as an existing project, then customized by editing res/values/strings.xml and providing new map files as png images.  Showoff is a very popular app.  But not as popular as I was in the crowd activity at SAP Insider’s Midnight Mobility Madness!   They say “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” and (sadly) in this case, that turned out to be entirely true.

Peter van der Linden
Android Technology Evangelist

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