Wednesday, July 28, 2004

OSCON 2004 Day 2

Well, most of this day turned out to be spent recovering from last night's fun.

I got up about 10 minutes before the first tutorial session was about to start and ran downstairs because I didn't want to miss MJD's "Welcome to my bin" talk, but once I got there it was pretty clear that I was far too hung over to get anything out of it. I hung in until the break and then retreated to the room and fell asleep. I also didn't make it to the afternoon session, spent most of that time either sleeping or going over the slides for my first presentation.

The evening was less of a waste. I went out to dinner with the SVN/Apache guys (Joined by Justin Erenkrantz this time, who had just gotten in to town, Ken Coar, who's weblog I've read forever, but who I had never encountered in real life, Steve Mallet, the sysadmin for opensource.org, and some friends of Rich who's names escaped me).

After dinner I headed down to the evening events just in time for Larry Wall's talk, which managed to turn xscreensaver into a heartfelt talk about the last year in his life and how he feels about the community around him. I could certainly empathise, as many of the medical problems Larry's gone through hit far too close to home for me.

Next (how much does it have to suck to follow up after Larry Wall!) was Paul Graham, of "Hackers and Painters" fame, who I was quite impressed with. Much of what he had to say was very similar to stuff from his book, but it covered a lot of interesting ideas about how to find those elusive hackers who are truly gifted and get them to work for you. A particularly insightful statement of his was the fact that becuase the only way to really know how good a hacker someone is you have to work with them, thus if there's a Michael Jordan of hacking, nobody will know it, not even him. Overall I was quite impressed with his talk.

Finally, Damian Conway gave his "Life, the Universe, and Everything" talk, where he melded together "Conway's Game of Life", Maxwell's Demon, and the Klingon language, with a simulation of Maxwell's Demon within in the Game of LIfe, implemented in the Klingon dialect of Perl. You really had to be there to understand how weirdly cool this was. Truly mind blowing, as I have come to expect from Damian's talks.

Anyway, now the conference opening keynote is about to start, so I should start paying attention and stop typing...

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