Deconstruct 2019 day 1
deconstruct conf 2018
I was at Deconstruct, a little conference. It has no sponsors, a single track, no lunch, no public schedule, and no particular focus except computering. It was quite nice. Some notes from the talks.
turn up the hope
I’m at the HOPE XI conference. Or I was. It’s kind of overcrowded, which is both great and not so great. I haven’t been to a HOPE since The Last HOPE, but I don’t recall it being as crowded. Perhaps it was. In any case, the logistics of getting in to see each talk in person is exhausting. Some of the talks I wanted to see today are definitely the big name headliners, and I can’t imagine it will be less crowded. Better to watch online. Some thoughts on the talks I did see.
In the future, the Internet becomes The Nether, a fully immersive virtual reality and the setting for a play by Jennifer Haley. The play alternates scenes between a real space interrogation room and flashbacks to events in the nether. A detective demands that the proprietor of a particular realm, one that specializes in adult-child relationships, reveal the location of the hosting server.
This weekend BSDCan 2015 was held at the University of Ottawa. I was told it was the biggest, bestest BSDCan ever. Certainly, there were a lot of talks, giving rise to a four track split. Personally, I think that may be too many. Some of the best conferences I’ve attended have been two or even one track. To the credit of the organizers though, they did a great job of splitting up talks such that I was rarely in the position of having to choose between two talks I really wanted to attend. Some talks were about new developments, which I’m interested in, some talks were about system administration issues I’d really rather not know anything about. One of the consequences of multi-tracking though is that the OpenBSD people go to the OpenBSD talks and the FreeBSD people go to the FreeBSD talks, etc., making it less of a BSD conference and more like an OpenBSD conference and a FreeBSD conference running side by side. Fewer tracks would mean more forcible cross attendance. But it’s a minor quibble. BSDCan has become a victim of its own success.
Nerds the musical
Nerds is a live musical comedy. I’d say it was somewhere between awesome and really awesome.
Act One roughly follows a similar track as the movie Pirates of Silicon Valley although with less attention paid to historical accuracy. It’s a comedy, not a biography, but it gets a lot right. Various video screens showing era correct screenshots and logos were a nice touch. Act Two covers events up to today, but without even the pretension of accuracy. (The original script was apparently from 2007; it’s been updated to include the iPhone and death of Steve Jobs.)
Favorite part was probably the unveiling of Windows. Previously, Gates and Allen had tried to introduce DOS with a rap song but with bungled rhymes; e.g., “MS-DOS is lots of fun; we made it for every...body“). Then Jobs and Wozniak introduce the Mac (complete with the 1984 commercial showing on screen, but on stage is Wozniak in a crop top throwing the hammer). Finally, Gates steals all of Jobs’s cool ideas, leading to Windows 95. Gates and Allen run out on stage and launch into a Beastie Boys style number with tons of style.
Least favorite parts were probably the love interests for Gates and Jobs. It felt rather forced, especially the sex crazed band geek style stereotype chasing Gates around. Does every musical need the main character to have a love interest, just because it’s a musical? Allen and Wozniak both stuck around far longer than in real life, but that’s forgivable in the interest of plot streamlining. The love stories, on the other hand, were an unnecessary and awkward complication.
RedSnake Philly XIII
Attended RedSnake Philly mini conference on Friday. All the talks were ten minutes, which is shorter than I expected (maybe I should have looked closer at the schedule), but meant that things really kept moving. It was a good pace, but some of the talks could have used more time. Maybe 15 minutes is about right. Anyway, it was a nice contrast from the hour long talks I’m used to.
As far as content, ironically the C++ and lisp talks had the most technical content. The ruby python talks were split between introducing a framework one might find useful and describing a solution at such a high level it was basically language agnostic. If the event’s purpose was to gather a bunch of people in a room and introduce a few speakers to them, then I’d say it succeeded wildly. Three of the event’s scheduled six hours were dedicated to social time. That’s not a complaint, but it’s a little shy of their goal of being “hardcore”.
On an irrelevant note, a lot more women were present, proportionately, than at any other software conference I’ve attended. Maybe because women like ruby and python more? Maybe because the event was both free and pitched as more of a social thing? Didn’t feel like being the guy to go around and ask, but if somebody wanted to promote women in tech, more events like this would be a good start.