2005-08-06 23:24 in /meta
I’ve started getting hammered with comment spam. A small trickle over the last week, and then dozens today. Fortunately, I set up the “simplest thing that could possibly work” protection, requiring people to enter my name, as soon as it started and that seems to be holding back the flood. The annoying thing was that I kept getting emails from
wbnotifyon all of them, so I had to keep going to check if things were getting through. I fixed that, but it required some cut-and-paste hackery. I may have to give some more thought into how the writeback plugin ought to really work. It seems pretty clear that it needs it’s own plugin system to address issues like this.
2005-08-06 09:42 in /tech/conferences/oscon
Unsurprisingly, I got up a bit late and missed all the keynotes, and half of the first session, which didn’t really have anything that was tempting me strongly anyway. Chatting with people in the hallway did yield the quote of the day. Overhearing us griping about the prices of some technical books, Nat Torkington piped up with: “It’s very rare that [O’Reilly] would make a book that fails so miserably that we have to charge $80 for it”. (Most technical books are expensive because no one buys them. Take that, Econ 101!)
For the last non-keynote session of the conference, I went to MJD’s talk You Can't Get There From Here. It was a little disorganized. He said that his daughter was sick and up most of the night, which I can definitely sympathize with. By popular demand, he jumped to the end of the talk first to explain how you flip a coin over the phone, and how you can use NP-complete problems as a method of proving your identity. An interesting point here is that we actually understand a lot about how hard problems like the traveling salesman are. However, we don’t really know how hard prime factorization is. After that digression, which actually took most of the scheduled time, he jumped back to the start to explain just what NP-complete means, and started to discuss the halting problem and why it isn’t NP-complete, but something completely different. At this point, we were way over time and the closing keynote was starting. Some people stuck around for more of the talk, but I switched rooms.
I’m not really sure why I did. The closing keynote didn’t actually catch my interest and I ended up spending most of the time catching up on websites and blogging about Thursday. The main thrust of the talk seemed to be that open source can produce all the eye candy that the Mac has, which is nice and all, but I really don’t need the jabs about people using Macs not believing in open source. Until Novell open sources all their products, that’s just hypocrisy.
There’s always a ton of people I want to say good-bye to at these conferences, and I almost always end up disappointed. In this case, I needed to hurry to get on the road to Ashland in time to catch a play, so I had to cut things particularly short. It was a little disappointing, but to compensate, the Shakespeare was outstanding.
2005-08-06 00:29 in /tech/conferences/oscon
Wednesday night we crossed the river for a splurge at the Portland City Grill, which was very nice, but took a long time and it was midnight by the time I got back. So, once again I missed the Stonehenge party. Honestly, I’m not that disappointed; from what I’ve heard, I don’t think it would really be my thing.
I started Thursday at Ask’s talk on Real World Scalability. I was interested to contrast what he had to say with what I talked about. While we differ in a couple implementation choices, overall the ideas are similar. He spent a lot more time in his talk hammering on the idea of thinking horizontally for effective scaling. One thing I did get out of the talk was a reminder about perlbal, which I think I knew about at one time, but it had passed off my radar.
At the lightning talks, the one that caught my interest was kinosearch, which I might check out with the intent of writing a Blosxom search plugin using it. I need to find out more about how it tokenizes and normalizes terms, though. I started down this road myself last year at OSCON because I wanted to get reasonable indexing of Perl code, but I ran out of steam to complete it.
The big event of the afternoon was why the lucky stiff, doing something I can only describe as avant garde / absurdist performance art about Ruby.
Later on, I went to Project Estimation and Tracking that Works, which was basically an extended example of how to track project velocity and burn-down rate. Since we’re doing some Scrum development at work, this was nothing particularly new for me.
After the sessions, I spun by the ADC event for appetizer bits, then headed back to the hotel to get most of my packing done, then went to dinner with a few of the other Yahoos: Michael and his wife, Ryan, and Eleanor. Post-dinner we returned to the hotel too late for the MySQL party but found a few lingerers in the bar. Eleanor and I sat down for a round and blue-haired Chris appeared, and the three of us hatched a plan to go seek out entertainment of some variety. A couple phone calls established that a few people were hanging out at Aura. Did I say a few? I mean, about half the conference, or so it seemed. It was quite a crowd when we got there and found Andrei, Marcus, Laura, and about a dozen others whose names I’m forgetting or didn’t know. Geoff Young, Greg Stein, and a couple others rolled in shortly after, just in time for us to get kicked out by the midnight last call. We headed around the corner, where we crammed into Cassidy’s. More drinks were procured, more people appeared, and we learned that New Zealanders call a Buttery Nipple something much more obscene. Once again, we were kicked out by last call, this time at 2:30. Since the Max stops running at 12-ish, we piled into cabs and our group ended up at the Marriott, where we sweet-talked the night staff into letting us into the hot tub. Sometime around 5, we finally called it a night (some more reluctantly than others) and stumbled to our respective beds to get to sleep before the sun was entirely up.