Friday, May 08, 2009

Looking Forward

So what are the talks I'm hoping to get to at OS Bridge, or at least want my friends to get back to me on, if a favorite two happen in parallel?

I've long been curious about Parrot and the C hacker behind it, Allison Randal, so Introduction to Parrot top o the charts. Parrot is a virtual machine (VM) that invites dynamic languages to ride it, like a work horse. The runtime engine at the core of Microsoft's .NET and Novell's Mono (as in monkey) represents a similar architecture, as do standalone Python and/or Java. The advantage of getting multiple languages to use the same VM is of course greater interoperability. If you find the perfect Ruby gem or Perl pearl and want to run it within Python, no problemo, you just need the API. Now, given I don't know a lot about Parrot yet, please accept the above as in need of refinement -- why I'm eager to get the story from the author herself.

OK, FOSS on the Farm, I have to admit I'm curious. Over on Python's edu-sig, I've long suggested DwellingMachine as a paradigm Python class (canonical blueprint), a way to inspire young imaginations with the methods and attributes needed for better than adequate (i.e. satisfying) environment controls in possibly challenging climates, perhaps in a scientific research capacity but hey, we still need to eat, so farming and/or permaculture and/or John Todd type ecovillages need their open source "how to" manuals, with maybe some remote sensing equipment and feedback cycles, such that if I forget to water the plants, they get watered anyway? Geeks being lazy, what a concept (or just devoted to science, the job they signed up for). OK, I realize FOSS on the Farm isn't likely to be this futuristic, but I'll glean some ideas, I'm pretty sure, always looking to add realism.

My own talk, Python for Teachers. Let me be honest: I'm interested in how it'll go and since attendence (by me) is mandatory, I might as well make it a priority. As the old saying goes: freedom is to desire the inevitable. That little blurb attracted attention from SAO already, cuing me about the Litvins' book, which Steve Holden and Dr. Ian both ordered. Ian described it as "excellent" but 23 hours ago. On the other hand, no matter how strong a curriculum, having it accepted means a lot of rough and tumble politics. Like here in Portland, LEP High is on the ropes, is fighting back with a benefit concert (Koreducators was always big into music). LEP High is one of the few schools to invite me in to deliver a Python Briefing directly to students, though with a math teacher always present, ostensibly grading papers off to one side, quietly attentive. This isn't my usual format, but then LEP High isn't you're traditional Portland Public high school.