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Why conferences matter by Java Rock Star Stephen Chin

It is easy (and important) to get sucked into the minutia and detail of what you are working on technically day-to-day.  However, this makes it hard to get a broader perspective on what new technologies and advances you could be taking advantage of.  Conferences are a great opportunity to break from the rigor of the daily-grind and explore new frameworks, dev practices, and technologies that may be what you are working with tomorrow.
Also, my favorite part of conferences is the hallway track — you can find a lot of interesting folks to talk to between and even during sessions.  If there is a slot with no sessions you are particularly interested in, you can often learn more by roaming the hallways and starting up conversations with other attendees and speakers.  JAXConf is a great place to do this in, because it has a high concentration of folks in the know — great ratio of speakers, and very technically astute attendees based on my past experience.
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