OSCON08 Day 2

Today’s keynotes didn’t do much for me. The first guy was trying to justify intellectual property as a concept. Epic fail. The rest weren’t really all that noteworthy other than a good message to stop whinging. I’m a bad whinger.

Two things I’ve noticed about the conference so far:

  1. For supposedly smart people, everyone seems to sit in the isle seats first, forcing everyone to “excuse me” past them making it awkward for all involved. Sit at the damn wall!
  2. Geeks have horrible taste in music. I’ve heard some of the worst music ever at this conference.
  3. The wireless is way way worse than last year. Is a broadcast domain of really the best we can do?

First talk of the day: Effects of stress on programmers. Presenter is British which for some reason makes him instantly affable. He talks a lot about neuroscience and how our brains work with different stimuli. Interesting stuff. He suggests a reduction in light levels while programming which is something we already do. He also says that people can become addicted to stress and makes comparisons between stress’ effect on the brain and cocaine’s. He also suggest that there are people who follow procedure because it’s all they have and there are people who are capable of full cognition of problems and tasks and that those people will solve those problems in better ways. He says Six Sigma is all about limited cognition and following procedure. I wish all of my bosses and their bosses were at this talk. I ask, “What’s a snowdrop?” (It’s a flower.)

Mindtouch Deki which is a new wiki that’s getting a lot of buzz. Mozilla switched their docs to it recently. I talked to these guys a bit in their booth and they suggested we use them + Jira. The demos are really quite impressive. They have MediaWiki converters that handle templates. It has an “adapter” for Bugzilla. (I don’t know what it means either at this point.) CTO looks like and has similar mannerisms to my erstwhile co-worker Kelly Mills however he has a thick german accent. So Not Kelly Mills! Deki seems quite nice. One day I bet it will replace our MediaWiki instances. Some windows vista related accidental comedy in the presentation.

Ran into Luke and James Turnbull at lunch and 100% convinced them that XMPP was Puppet’s future. I expect the tarballs shortly. :)

CSS for High Performance Javascript UI is much more basic than I expected. Bail. I head over to “What to expect in Ruby 1.9” and it’s way too specific; talking about individual functions and so forth that have changed. I’m not there yet, so I wander around until it’s time for the Puppet talk.

James covers a lot of ground with a lot more philosophy than I’d expected. He does a great job. Several questions afterward and someone suggests a BOF. I hope that happens.

I talked to one of Luke’s friends who has written a cool interface to RRDTool that does some cool javascript/ajaxy stuff for moving around in time on a graph. I showed him our stuff and he got really excited and has asked to be an early tester! Exciting stuff. I thought about giving a lightning talk, but I figured that the network was so terrible it wouldn’t really show our stuff in a great light as the experience degrades linearly as latency goes up.

PHP Data Objects is next. Not a lot new, but I think PDO will be a good direction for PHP.

Capistrano is an SSH parallellizer. The guy starts his talk by saying that it’s 5pm on Friday and you want to [make a bunch of changes]. !? Who does that? He calls directories “folders.” Capistrano seems like a really bad idea. It’s a DSL that lets you define shell one-liners that will be executed on remote hosts via a single SSH connection for each “task.” Bailing.

There might be a puppet BOF tonight, if so, I might add a new post or edit this one, probably the former. OSCON was a lot of fun and energizing as usual. I’m very glad I came.

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