Well, I just got back from OSCON 2005 last night, and let me tell you, my head hurts from the amount of information that was stuffed into it!
There were 2 parts to this trip, the conference part and the social part. First the social part:
Dan, James, Todd, and I flew up to Portland Oregon (PDX) via San Francisco (SFO) Saturday night, July 30th, to save on the air fare. When we
were sitting in SFO looking at the Portland map and trying to figure out how to get to our hotel, this nice Portlander man sitting near us asked
what hotel we were staying at and then offered, "just stick together and if anyone tries to sell you any people, liquids, or powders, don't buy
them. You should be ok." Needless to say, that got us a little nervous. When we got off the plane and were waiting to get on the MAX Light Rail
(herein referred to as the Trolley) a man stumbled off the train in a drunken stupor with a paper bagged bottle in his hand and said "welcome to
Portland, home of the FAT weed!" He got on the trolley with us but at the first stop, he got up to leave, and the proceeded to fall down the
stairs of the trolley to the outside. Needless to say, by this time, we had some ideas of what to expect from Portland. But, as it turns out,
the 0.7mi walk from the trolley to our hotel was just fine. (Turns out we later found out that our "hotel" used to be a rent-by-the-hour motel,
but that's a different story).
Our hotel, The Jupiter was recently gutted and overhauled. It's connected to a restaurant and bar,
the Doug Fir (which was open till 4am). Both the hotel and the restaurant were great, the food was great, and always available. We had several
meals here because there wasn't much other food close to our hotel.
The conference started Monday, so we spent the day Sunday walking around downtown. We saw this cool fountain and some museums, but they were
all closed, on account of it being Sunday. We were allowed to register for the conference on Sunday, so we did to avoid having to wake up uber
early Monday morning.
We didn't have much time for sleep the whole week. We got up at about 7am every day, and didn't usually get back to the hotel until between 9
and midnight. Then after eating dinner and everything, I don't think any of the 4 of us ever got to bed before midnight.
It must have been by chance, but when we got back from the conference Monday night, there was a huge Meelee going on in the parking lot and
courtyard of our hotel. Turns out, it was a promotional party for Captain Morgan's new flavor, Tattoo. There was some scandalous stuff going on
including people getting actual tattoos right on the spot (not me, don't worry). There was a row of Ducatti motorcycles, and Dennis Rodman
actually rode in on a motorcycle with some cohorts and took pictures with people right there in the middle of everything. After a little bit of
investigation, we found out that since we were guests of the hotel, we were on the VIP list. There were free drinks, live music, and everything.
It's not something that we would've gone to but since it was literally right at our front door, we had to go witness it. It was quite the
We found Chipotle, only a few blocks away from the Convention Center (the location of the conference) and then we were set.
Now the nerdy part. There were SOOO many uber smart people there it was quite overwhelming. Here is a laundry list of people, buzzwords, and
other cool things I learned. The overwhelming feeling I got at the conference was one of wondering what I'm doing with Windows when OS is
better, has much better community support, and is free.
- OS X
- As much as I don't like to admit it, OS X is really a nice product. About half of the laptop users at the conference were also PowerBookusers. It does make sense… 1. Who would want to pay the "microsoft tax" when buying a laptop with windows on it when you are going to formatit to install linux. 2. OS X provides a great front end/GUI AND is based on linux, right out of the box.
- Larry Wall (the guy who wrote Perl)
- I'm sorry, he is the most uber-nerdiest uber-nerd I have ever met. But man he is a genious.
- Bill O'Reilly
- Obviously he had to be there, since his company put on the whole kaboodle. He is a very smart man. He has a keen grasp on the future and isan excellent speaker. I think O'Reilly (the company) is going to be around for a long time.
- Damien Conway
- This man is ridiculously smart and hilariously funny. He gave several presentations that I got to see throughout the conference. My favoritewas his demonstation of his "Latinized Perl" or maybe it was "Perlized Latin". Either way, he has created a language that is a cross betweenLatin (yes, the human language) and Perl (yes, the programming language). His paper is quite dry, but his presentation was definitely
- Phillip Torrone
- Phillip is one of my personal heroes. He is one of the associate editors of Make Magazine and a frequentcontributor to engadget. He was in the exibition hall demonstrating some cool gadgets, including a 150mW greenlaser that was capable of popping a balloon, and he gave a presentation entitled "The Do It Yourself Mentality" where he encouraged people to
stop throwing away their one year old electronics stuff, and instead hack it into something cool.
- This is a distribution of linux, based on debian, but with a project philosophy that is trying to make linux "just work". They have someawesome graphical goodies and are testing the distro on lots of different laptops to make sure that it will work. Also, they are giving awayfree cd's, all you have to do is ask!
- Blogs, wikis, flickr, del.icio.us, and technorati
- There is a trend within the computing community towards social networking. All these technologies make it easier for people to communicateand share information with each other and with the world. Blogs and wikis make it easy for anyone to share his (or her) opinion, flickr makes it easy to share his pictures, and del.icio.us and technorati make it easy to share his bookmarks. It makes sense to me that all these technologies would bepopular among the open source community members, who have been sharing code for decades.
- If you're not using Firefox, you're behind the times. Download it now and start usingit.
- This is the technology that Firefox uses to describe its complete user interface. XUL = XML defined User-interface Language. Besides makingthe firefox skins easily modifyable, it enables developers to write completely different apps using the mozilla guts (see Komodo).
- A complete IDE for Perl, Python, PHP, TCL, and XSLT, which uses the Mozilla guts and is multi-platform ready.
There were lots of other things too… I'll keep adding as I remember them. This list should keep you busy for a while though