Blog posts tagged "reportback"

OSCON06: Thursday and Friday

July 29th, 2006


r0ml: “I could make the analogy that open source is like the tomato, and how people used to think it was poisonous…. but I won’t”

Still kicking myself for missing Jo’s talk on OSGeo, even if I spent it having a great talk with Surj, Buffington, and crew.

Pulled the eject cord early on the haXe talk (damn you Surj!) and landed in Microsummaries. Something interesting there, unfortunately nothing I couldn’t learn from the wiki. At least I didn’t come out looking as scrunched up and miserable as the folks who went to Python 3000

Building DSLs in Ruby was one of the talk I was really excited about, and I think Neal is probably a really smart guy. However I think this talk might have served as a “How not to build DSLs”. Domain specific languages ain’t about relying on questionable (and soon to be removed) features of Ruby to get kind of sort of English like languages. Please see NLP if thats what you want. Ugh.

Concurrently Google Code Hosting got launched, and was slashdotted before the end of the presentation.
Google Code: “I’m sorry you can’t create a new project ‘Magpie’, a project with that name exists somewhere else on the Web.”
A bit later, “Hmmm, where is the export feature?”

Software Libre, good community organizing around FOSS (just ignore the implicit Marxist critique).

  • Step 1. Appears to be get every MIS certified tech-type person to go on strike in protest of election of Leftist government.
  • Step 2. un-install all Microsoft products as you no longer have the password that were reset by striking MIS type people.
  • Step 3. take over the world!
    Haven’t quite figured how to apply this model to US

Avi makes my head hurt, but in a good way. Great talk, best one I saw at OSCON. Started off judging crowds interest and skill level. (Or he could have just noticed that most of the room had green “Speaker” badges, or worked for O’Reilly, or had written their own frameworks) “Who knows what Seaside is?” “Good, then I won’t waste time telling you about it.” “I know you’re never going to use Smalltalk, its been out there for 4 years, so I’m not going to try convince you to use it.”

Most effective piece of advocacy I’ve seen in a long time. I’ve had people telling me continuations are the way to do web development for years, but watching it in actions is very different. Add to todo list, “Find good book on Squeak“. If you get a chance to see him speak do it. Also if you’re going to give an interesting talk, aim for the last slot of the day so when you come back for an encore the next session isn’t beating down the door.

Took a break to go watch the Eclectic Bastards. Yay for Summar roof top concerts.

Kind of crashed the 6A party, let me tell you OSCON parties are very different then SxSW parties.


25 years of IBM PC: “Gates’ legacy is the donkey game.” IBM has proof that the last piece of software Gates wrote was a demo game for the IBM PC in 1981 where you tried to get your car across the road without hitting a donkey or alternately tried to hit as many donkeys as possible. (your choice)

Having extracted promises that I could find Fogel’s slides online, and David would tell me the hilights of his talk over beer some night in SF, Jesse and I set out in search of the fabled Stumptown annex. (no links, whole site is Flash, ugh)


Arriving too early for the days cupping we were forced to linger over macchiatos, and Clover (hmmm, sexy) pulled cups of the Panama Esmeralda. More then a little buzzed and with our palette totally saturated, we sniffed, swished, broke, and sipped a Kenya AA Gethumbwini (wild and tangy!), a Rwanda Karaba (hmmmmm, chocolate), Guatemala Finca el Injerto (might have just won CoE, and smells great, but doesn’t really register after a cup of Emerelda), Costa Rica Monte Crisol (hot its really aggressively green, like celery, as it cools very very sweet), and of course more Esmerelda.

Ohhh, my spinning head.

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OSCON: First Day of Sessions

July 27th, 2006

The day started out right, if a bit bleary-eyed, with Gnat giving OSCAL a lovely plug during the keynote. Also got to see Rael’s latest project, tres cool. (and in Rails, of course)


Embedded databases in browsers turned out to be a bit more theoretical then I was in the mood for, but the backchannel was buzzing about Justin Erenkrantz’s modproxytalk, so I skipped over there. Jackpot. mod_proxy has done gone and grown up. Elegant, serious, flexible, built in caching (with multiple backends), pluggable protocols. Squid’s days as a reverse proxy are numbered. Now if someone would just hurry up and package Apache 2.3 we could do without Pound. (I’ve misplace the slides link)


Tim’s talk on atompub was good, if basic. I’m still trying to figure out how to push it beyond basic publishing. An interesting challenge, but later Tim pointed out that there are is some intentional wiggle room left in the spec, and one or two holes that you could drive a truck through with enough determination. (don’t think there was a slides link?) Oddest new thought, we need a mime type for Markdown, or maybe a container type for the whole class of human readable markup.

Briefly met Chad and Jeremy, something I’ve failed to do at work.

On The Floor

Wandered the exhibit hall a bit. Blah. Just not feeling the vendor love. No surprise, but its slams home what a commercial conference OSCON is, with very little of the raw delite and innovation of the smaller events. All the good shirts cost $$ this year — wonder what that means for t-shirt driven development, and the t-shirt economic metric. Finally met Jason from Apress. They have a Flickr book out in August.

Too Many Codepoints

Andrei’s PHP6 and Unicode talk was impressive, and overwhelming. ICU is being baked deep into the core string object. An .ini setting to determine default behaviour, with Unicode (UTF-16) and binary string types. Automatic stream oriented encodings from input/output/file/cli etc. Look for a preview release this Fall. (Eclipse gets all the glory, but ICU is another amazing IBM open source contribution, worth checking out in its own right) I’m not sure anyone is thinking about the “How do I make charsets work across the PHP4, PHP5, PHP6 spectrum in an open source library?” Doesn’t seem like that out there a question. Looking forward to catching up with him back in Sunnyvale.

Ruby Rodeo!

FreeGeeK goes on being one of the coolest, most inspiring community projects anywhere. Packing it to gills with hyper excited [Ruby hackers] certainly didn’t detract. Lucas Carson’s talk on dRB/Rinda was cool and inspiring. Not as polished a delivery as some talks, but he coded up a server-client architecture for discovering primes and automatically deployed it to those of us in the audience running irb. In about 20 minutes. The hilight though was finally getting a chance to catch up with Scott after all these years. (Rinda may just be good old Linda retreads, but Ruby is so damn slow that distributed computing is with the effort)

Didn’t Make It

Most disappointed to have missed in retrospect, Kevin Henrikson Ajax Optimization Techniques: Working with Large Ajax Applications. Got rave reviews.

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Report Back: FOO Camp

August 28th, 2005

My Foo Camp report back is a little late coming I know, but a few quick scribbles (if I had more time, I’d write less).

A great time was obviously had by all, except for the handful of souls who were too cool for it. I was not among those, self proclaimed web fanboi that I am. To the extent I had no agenda for the weekend it was a wild success, to the extent it could have been even better, I’ve got a few thoughts.

Squid Labs

Squid Labs are my new heroes, its one things to do inscrutable and mind altering hardware hacks, its another to incorporate training, and knowledge sharing for all ages as a core component. Instructables is an awesome attempt to open source knowledge, while Howtoons are just brilliant. The work by Saul Griffith, on self-replicating machines made me wish my math was better, a hard feat. The reality enhancing devices had more of an “oh wow” factor, but what really sealed it for me, is they all travelled up in a modded school bus, full chopped up bikes.


I felt like I saw early potential in microformats, and yet am also sort of late to the koolaid drinking party. The best definition I ever heard of artificial intelligence is that AI is the technology that is perpetually 10 years away, in the sense that once a problem domain has been solved (I believe the germane example at the time was computer vision) it is no longer considered AI. I wonder if the Semantic Web is a similar movable feast, and microformats are one of the first spin-offs.

I was impressed by Tantek and the other folks I met working on microformats in that they deeply understand the power of reuse, and more importantly understand that the social hack they’re pulling off is significantly more difficult then the technical one, and more important. That community/communication focus makes me think microformats will be a winner, and hCalendar is certainly the first standard I’ve ever seen that could enable a simple “add this to my calendar” technology.

When 2.0

Saturday morning we did a mini-calendaring track. Michael Radwin, Adam Trachtenberg, Larry Wall, Ray Ozzie and I spent an hour riffing on timezones, leap seconds, and the dismal state of calendaring libraries. (It was also noted that the Olson database might have a “Postel problem”, in that it is unspecified what happens when the maintainer dies)

We were joined by Andy Baio (Upcoming), Brian Dear (EVDB), Jesse Vincent (Reefknot, Data::Ical), and others for what I think will be an interesting ongoing conversation about the future of calendaring.

What take away was of the morning session was that it would be simple, and very easy to build a RESTful web service access to the Olson DB, keyed by region, lat/long, street address and the desired date. You could even support 304s as all the various change information is captured in the timezone files. Personally I’d also like some way of surfacing the rich, and eccentric commentary also contained in the files.

Other hilights were Quinn’s functional body mods talk (scary cool, get her to give you this talk), the potential of seriously messing with the mobile carriers, meeting a bunch of virtual friends/heroes IRL, Mark Fletcher’s talk on Bloglines’ crawling architecture, Segways, ice cream sundaes, free books, and generally incredibly high level of articulate, communicative geeks.

Self Organizing Technologies (for Humans)

Saul’s presentation on teaching machines to self organize was brilliant, and yet, to me, ironic. By sitting there learning about his work, I was missing half a dozen other sessions I would have killed to be in. FOO Camp is billed as a “self organizing” event, and to the extent that O’Reilly does a good job of providing people, space, food, and something like a rough skeleton it, this is true. But the techniques it used, could use an upgrade, it was very much “Self Organizing 1.0”

But not all self organizing is a like. Burned into my mind is the rugby scrum the first night, as 200 geeks pressed into a small space, trying to desperately scrawl and juggle their ideas across the grid. Many events that shouldn’t have been scheduled against each other were, and if you weren’t willing to push, and kick shins, then you didn’t have much say in when you’re session would be scheduled for. This is the kind of thing that gives anarchy a bad name.

I’ve seen it work better, any number of communities have better techniques, and groups like Aspiration and Blue Oxen are in the business of organizing self-organizing events. If I were to lead a session next year it would on “Self Organizing Technologies for Humans”.

Other report backs

On the wiki