Friday at OSCON

by Ann Barcomb

Related link: http://www.oreillynet.com/oscon2004/




Friday was the last day of OSCON. After a late night at the auction I decided
to skip the keynotes. I am told that I really missed out by not seeing
David Rumsey's speech involving maps.




I was soon sent on a mission with Uri Guttman to obtain pies. Dan Sugalski
had decided to offer Guido van Rossum a second opportunity with a pie, and
of course Michael Schwern was still owed his shot.




When I got back, I attended Damian Conway's 'Sufficiently Advanced
Technologies' talk. It contained numerous Harry Potter jokes, but I
missed seeing
Jan
Pieter Balkenende, the Dutch Prime Minister
among examples.
Damian's basic point was that all modules should attempt to automate
as much as possible: consider interfaces, think of what you could remove,
contemplate what could be automated, find better defaults for subroutines,
give subroutines fewer options, design subroutines to do just one thing
well, and consider the possibilities of overloading.




Just before the final keynote it was time for the pie event. Michael
Schwern gave up his turn in favor of Nick Clark. First Guido van Rossum gave Dan a cream pie directly
in his face, then Nick pegged him on the right side of his head. We watched
in astonishment as the hotel crew cleared away the plastic and pies in
mere moments.




Milton Ngan gave the closing speech: 'There Is More To Life Than LOTR'.
In it he talked about what had been done with technology in 'The Return
of the King'; about the increased use of open source software; about the
next movie project, 'King Kong'; and on the work that gives his company
its bread and butter: creating advertisements. He showed some movie
trailers and showed the composite pieces of various scenes. As a hold-out
who hasn't seen 'Lord of the Rings' (I didn't like the book, so I don't want
to see the movie), I still enjoyed seeing the detail that went in to creating
shots. For instance, a view of an entire tower crumbling contained two
nearly invisible (on the projection screen in the ballroom) trolls.




With a few words from Nathan Torkington the conference was over.




What a week. I saw old friends and met new ones, and gained some knowledge
I can't wait to apply to my work.