OSCON D1.2

by brian d foy

After lunch with Rael, I decided to wander around for a bit.

Schwern showed me the Aegis source control system he's using for some of his stuff. It has some cool ideas: every change is a branch, you have to declare what the change is going to accomplish before you start, you have to write a test that passes with the change and fails without it, and a reviewer checks it for it merges back into the main branch. Sounds great, right? Well, it has some issues, like not knowing anything about networks. Schwern says he's had enough and is going to implement the same cool things with cvswrappers.

I ran into Adam Turoff and Jesse Vincent (Best Practical, the fine folks that make RT), and we chatted about this and about that. I brought up collabrative filtering for search.cpan.org and cpanratings.perl.org with the idea that we will never be able to keep crap and spam out of it, so we should just make it irrelevant. Instead of each rating having the same weight, a user can pick out reviewer or personalities and assign weights to them. Then that user sees ratings geared towards them as modules that their chosen reviewers like float to the top of the list. Someone mentioned mining CPAN to see which modules the popular authors actually use in their modules, so someone could ask questions like "Which modules does Tim Bunce like?" (Answer: he wrote most of the good ones it seems, so he likes his own).

David Adler (NY.pm despot) is the social butterfly of the conference, but I seem to keep missing him this year. A lot of Perl Mongers would have never happened without his help. I think he's the third person I met at a Perl Conference, right after Adam Turoff and Clay Irving, two other New Yorkers. If you need a New York restaurant or bar recommendation, David is the guy to see. He practically runs the city. He can also fill you in on the finer points of Buffy, at least until the London crew get into town.

Jim Brandt wants to go to a Maple Leafs game in Buffalo. I guess the Canadians figured out that it is easier to get tickets fot the away games, so they have been taking over the crowd. Damn it, it's time to fight back.

I met for the first time a lot of people I already know, and
although they tell me we haven't met, I somehow can't beleive it. Email is this evil thing that makes me think I already know these people, although when they come up to me in conferences, they tell me we haven't met. Odd that.

A lot of people have been making noise about the noise on CPAN. Everyone seems to want to create new modules rather than working to improve and extend existing modules. Certainly diversity is good, but how many option parsers, config readers, and DBI abstractions do we really need? Instead of a lot of great modules, we have gazillons of almost-good modules. I get to nudge people in the right direction as a PAUSE admin, but I can't really stop people from doing their own thing.

For the rest of the afternoon, I holed-up in the press room and talked to some other magazine people about The Perl Review. Five hundred copies shipped today and should be in Portland tomorrow. I have the tracking numbers, and they were scanned in Kentucky about an hour ago. They should be here tomorrow, and if you didn't make it to the conference, you can still subscribe.

Towards the middle of the afternoon, I saw Larry Wall wearing a martial arts outfit and walking away from Damian's Aikido talk. I didn't see Damian come out of the room, nor did I see him for the rest of the evening. I hope he's okay, and that those paramedics were for something else.

After the normal day was over, Randal and I went to Peter Scott's (author of Perl Medic) annual Perl Trainer's BOFH. We got to meet some new people, but the story is the same: how do we make more business? Everyone hurt for business over the past two years, and only Stonehenge seems to see an uptick in the economy at the moment. We talked about Perl 6 for a while, but no one seemed to think it was an important thing to think about at the moment. A conservative estimate put it four years off for training, and sometime after Randal updates Learning Perl for the new major version.

The SCO Moot Court looked popular, and the O'Reilly staff was holding off a near riot of people waiting to get into the room. This may not be as dangerous as the Democratic National Convention, but I think SCO does not have many friends here.

Someone walked off with R. Geoffery Avery's bag, including his computer and camera. Bad karma indeed. Just return it to the front desk and life won't kick you between the legs later on.

There is a rumor going around that Jon Orwant is pregnant, which is why he can't make it to this year's conference. Nat Torkington called it an ectopic pregnancy, but I'm not sure that is what it is. Apparently this is not a new thing, so Jon won't make it into the record books.

Randal and I had an appointment with a steak dinner at one of his favorite restaurants, so off we went. I have been back in the States for about 3 months now, and I have been looking for the perfect steak. I have been disappointed until tonight. This place knows whatt "rare" means, and served up a tasty cut of cow. Those vegetarians that decided to skip out on us should really think about what they are missing. Again, Randal knows all of the staff and the waitresses, and he was recruiting more people to help out with the Stonehenge party. I think the party might have a staff to rival the official conference staff, and maybe even be just as expensive. If you want to party with the big boys, you have to talk to Bill Harp.

Back at the Stonehenge Ranch, Bill has his party crew getting ready for the Stonehenge party on Wednesday. He showed me some schematics of where everything will be, but we didn't have much time to talk because he was supervising the people loading everything into the van. I guess they are starting the load-in tomorrow to be ready for the next day. I asked if we could get dancing chihuahuas for the party, and after thinking about it for a moment, Bill said "next year, I promise." I guess it's too late to change the plans now. Remember, get the Stonehenge t-shirt to get into the party for free.

So far I have not joined any new projects or exciting opportunities that seem to be all the rage at conferences. I have come to realize that they are really just a symptom of mass hysteria that dissolves naturally after three weeks leaving only a half-designed website and an idle mailing list. Nat told all the "olbies" to get out of the way to make room for fresh blood anyway, so all of us thirty-somethings will just browse the web and use IRC when people start talking aobut new things for Perl.

Tomorrow I get to sleep in which suits me just fine. I want to hack on my OSCON moblog, so I will be up pretty late.

3 Comments

ShockeyK
2004-07-27 11:26:06
Stonhenge Party
Been trying to find out more about the fiesta on Wednesday. What's the deal, where, what's going on, how do we get there?


BTW: check out our blog of the conference: http://www.snapplatform.org

brian_d_foy
2004-07-27 11:45:54
Stonhenge Party
The party is at Bar 71, but Stonehenge is providing free transportation to and from the conference hotel. Meet in the lobby starting around 7:30pm on Wednesday.


Make sure that you stop by the Stonehenge booth in the exhibition hall to get your free Stonehenge t-shirt, which is your admission ticket to the party.


See you there. :)

trachtenberga
2004-07-27 15:07:22
Restaurant Name?
What was the name of the steak place you went with Randall? I'm on the lookout for OSCON restaurants.