Tuesday, August 02, 2005

OSCON (Day 2) + Wanderers

I'm listening to Dick Pugh tell the story of our Willamette Meteorite. Dick feels sure this multi-ton lump of metal was pushed by a glacier, then a big flood, from a great distance. The metal itself (a mix of several, some gold even) dates back about 4.5 billion years (mas o meno) and likely came from the asteroid belt.

People have fought over its possession ever since it was discovered. These days, it's in some museum in New York. Dick has a couple little pieces of it. The museum itself broke off some to trade for Martian rock. Native Americans have some ceremonial control.

Now I'm back at the Convention Center, in my Mono Bootcamp venue (room E141). While still at the Pauling House, I downloaded the 40+ meg installer for Windows. Upon rejoining OSCON, I ran the installer and tested the demo of gtk# widgets off the Start menu, which worked well. Mono implements .NET on various operating systems. Of course I'm interested in Mono/.NET mainly because of IronPython.

I had a choice of buses, coming from Hawthorne District: the 75 to Hollywood, transferring to the Max, or the 14 to downtown, transferring likewise to the Max, but going the other direction. I positioned myself strategically to take whichever bus came first. Not surprisingly, it was the 14 (it runs more frequently). Enroute, the middle exit door got stuck, meaning a rider had to make his way to the front. The driver literally rebooted the bus, twice. The second time, he had to get out and do something at the rear. Rebooting the bus solved the door problem.

I handed off a copy of my open source OSCON talk to some guy with a USB stick, after we talked for a few minutes (it's on the web too). This guy turned out to be D. Richard Hipp, creator of SQLite, as I found out later, when he received a $5K Integrator Award from Google.

I'm connected by wireless, which is why I'm able to do real time blogging, check email, news and so on. Yes, I'm concerned about the shuttle, have been at least since reading about NASA seeking replacement parts -- CPUs -- on Ebay. I'm in substantial agreement with the LA Times opinion (The Wrong Stuff, July 28) that "no shuttle should ever fly again" (new technology is needed).

Highly technical talks may be sampled on many levels. I appreciate the freedom to not give my undivided attention to the C# code being discussed on the big screen right now, even though it's really cool.

Larry Wall gave a whimsical State of the Onion based on Spy (a fictional computer language). Damian Conway delivered fun with dead languages (e.g. Latin, Lisp, PostScript, C++...), featuring Lara Croft and Conway's Game of Life which latter was also important in last year's talk, about programming in Klingon. In between, Paul Graham discussed what businesses might learn from open source and blogging (or die).