For the last three years, Justin and I have been speaking on the No Fluff, Just Stuff Symposium (NFJS) tour. Our reason for participating is simple: we like the people. Attendees are typically developers who are passionate about their work, enough so to come to a weekend conference. Speakers are not just talking heads, but real developers who spend most of their time building software, and then give up their weekends to share their interest with others.
This may not sound like conferences you remember. Many developers (including some of the best ones I know) are cynical about conferences, assuming the worst based on past experiences. Well, if you want a low-cost, low-effort way to check out No Fluff content, here's a possibility to consider. The speakers at NFJS have put together a book, the 2006 NFJS Anthology. My own contribution, on Spring AOP, is available at the book's site as a free sample. Thanks to Neal Ford for doing the editing, and the Prags for handling the printing. If you are on the fence about conferences, start with the book. If you like what you see, I hope we'll see you at an NFJS symposium soon.