OSCON D4.2

by brian d foy

The afternoon was mostly me trying to stay awake. I'm getting too old for these week long conferences and all night parties. This is why you're supposed to go to college right after high school---otherwise it would kill you.

I chatted with Andy Lester at the end of the day. I keep asking hom when he's going to write a book on Perl testing, and he doesn't have the answer yet. Somebody is going to write the book, and Andy is a good person for it, but the opportunity is not going to be around forever.

Randal, Brenda Brewer, and I ended up at Bar 71 for dinner. You may think it's just a bar. You may think it is the bar where Stonehenge had it's party. You may think it's the bar across the street from the homeless shelter. You probably aren't thinking about it's baked Mac & Cheese, but you should. It's the best I've had anywhere, and I've tried a lot of Mac & Cheese around the world.

After dinner Randal and I went to the mod_perl BOF. Stas Bekman wants to get the word out about mod_perl. The Netcraft and Securityspace trends reports show mod_perl penetration at at a plateau, which doesn't mean that it is holding it's ground, but that it's not keeping up with new installations. The crowd had a lot of ideas about fixing this. David Wheeler wants mod_perl 2.0 so the community has a new version and new development branch to rally around. Various people talked about setting up a position within The Perl Foundation to oversee mod_perl advocacy, and a lot of the crowd agreed that mod_perl could use some good old public relations work (although it might be too pricey).

I think a devious path could help mod_perl: publicise mod_perl working when Microsoft IIS fails horribly enough to get on the news. I also think we need to hack the social network to personally get our message in front of mainstream media like The Economist and PRI's Marketplace. I think we need to forget about the tech and think about the decision-maker level. You have probably seen "Oracle makes Linux Unbreakable". That's a full page ad in almost every Economist. Image the same ad "mod_perl makes apache unbreakable". I want to write a non-technical article about mod_perl performance: "Ten times the hits, one-tenth the resources". Other people came up with other devious paths too. Think MoveOn.org and Meetup.org style action.

Some party was going on in the bar, and I ended up over there. I don't know whose party it was, what sort of product they have, or anything like that. At least the Stonehenge party made just about everyone wear the Stonehenge shirt (and there were ads above the urinals too, so you're going to see the name). It was just free beer so that's where everyone was: that is, if you could get in the door. They were counting people to keep within the fire code, which means people has to leave before people could go in.

I ended up chatting with Dale Dougherty about his new magazine Make, and we talked about The Perl Review for a bit. A lot of people are giving me a lot of tips and hints about magazine publishing, and I could use all the help anyone wants to give because I'm new at this.

After that I chatted with Dick Hardt about his new thing, sxip, which is going to be a Microsoft Passport sort of thing, but done right, and done in a distribute manner. No one should have to store your personal information ever again, and you could have a single sign-on to everything on the web. I like the sound of that because I only have to update my personal info in one place.

I left the party for The Perl Foundation auction a room over. Robert Spier and Schwern ran the show while Ann Barcomb, Bill Odom, and Jim Brandt rounded up the money. The auction was going pretty slow until Michel Rodriguez and I got in a bidding war for Peter Scott's out-of-print Perl Debugged. For the hell of it I did $65 at the last moment, then it was game on. We went back and forth with the crowd going wild. Michel bid $90, and I wanted to slow it down, so I bid $91. He jumped it up to $100, and I yielded. But hold on! Robert produced a second copy of the book and announced it was a dutch auction, so Michel got his for $100 and I got mine for $91. Overall, they wanted to raise $2,000, so that was just about 10% of that. My bid was an ugly number, so I wanted to round it up to $100. I challenged Schwern to auction the shirt off his back, and started the bidding at $9. The next bid was $10 for Schwern not to take his shirt off. Chaos insued, and people lined up on different sides of the room collectively bidding for Schwern to strip or to not strip. It was pretty close: a hundred or so dollars on each side. What the hell, I bid another $100 for the strip side. It's for charity! Think of the children! The non-strip side tried to match that, but they couldn't come up with the money. Now I have the shirt, and TPF has a bunch of money. They ended up with $3,300 at the end of the night, and Schwern went home without a shirt.

I think Schwern's shirt should go on a world-wide tour to the Perl Mongers groups. For a small donation to The Perl Foundation, it can make an appearance at your user group meeting. Who wants it next?

I discovered late last night that the GPRS service around here really sucks, so I had a lot of trouble updating my moblog. I also discovered that once my phone can't connect to GPRS after several tries, something happens that just keeps it from creating a conection even when it should be able to connect. If I reboot the phone, though, it connects immediately. Great, now I have to reboot my phone to get it to work, as if computers weren't already a pain in the butt.