Blog entries tagged with "conference"

Skepticon in Sydney

Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 3:39 pm

I have just arrived home from a weekend up in Sydney for the 33rd Australian Skeptics National Convention, branded as Skepticon Australia.

It was a great weekend, so what were my highlights?

We heard from Britt Hermes of Naturopathic Diaries about how she became a nauropathic doctor, how she came to understand why that was a mistake and finally what she is now doing about it. It was a shame she wasn’t able to be there in person due to illness, but the video conference was the next best thing.

A panel on journalism featuring Kathy Marks, Marcus Strom & Fauziah Ibrahim gave some interesting insights into how journalists are dealing with the news these days. Of particular interest to me was the information from Marcus about – in his time at the Sydney Morning Herald – the level of tracking that occurs on a news website. They monitor every click and how much you read, plus things like constantly running A/B testing on variations of headlines to determine which is more clickable.

The session about War On Waste with Craig Reucassel, Stephen Oliver & Jodi Boylan started off teasing what we could expect to see in the upcoming fourth episode, but then went deeper building on the previous day’s panel. When can you advocate for one side of an issue versus straight journalism and how to balance education with entertainment.

The most powerful talk of the weekend was from Ruth Ellison (who I knew from perious skeptic and tech conferences as a as a user experience person and maker of laser cut jewelery), speaking for the first time in public about what it was like to grow up in and then leave a religious cult. The entire room was stunned to hear about Ruth’s experience, so much support from people later in the day and via twitter.

The other big thing this year was a number of live podcasts recordings (mostly in “the other room” so I didn’t go to them as I went to talks in “the main room”), but there was only one that I was even slightly aware of, and had never listened to. This is not unusual as there a lot of podcasts out there, but the striking thing was that quite a few people I spoke to were at the convention they listened to one of the podcasts (mainly The Scathing Atheist). The two recording in the main room that I watched were Cognitive Dissonance and God Awful Movies (by the same hosts as The Scathing Atheist). They were enjoyable but not quite my taste so I don’t think I will subscribe. I have queued up a couple of their older episodes to listen to, I will see how they are…

I think my next skeptics event like this will be the Surf Coast Skepticamp in February, but much sooner than that I have a technology event, the third BuzzConf in two weeks time…

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More buzzing in Ballan

Sunday, December 4th, 2016 at 9:51 pm

Last weekend I returned to Ballan for the second BuzzConf. There have been a few write ups, including one in The Guardian and another where it is referred to as BuzzConf 2.0. I disagree with that, Ben and Rick organised a better event than last year, but through a number of minor improvements, so it was BuzzConf 1.1…

My view is that there were two themes running through the weekend, one about what we need to do/change/build/learn in order to get to, and the another about using virtual or augmented reality technology. It was cool to have a quick play with a HoloLens as well as an HTC Vive. That technology is cool, but my feeling is that there are not (yet) many use cases for it.

The weekend was also full of many conversations about all sorts of things. It is from one of those that I got the thing that I am most excited about in the short term: that Alton Brown is bringing back Good Eats as an online series

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The buzz in Ballan

Monday, November 16th, 2015 at 10:19 am

For a long time I have been a fan of conferences. You spend a couple of days with people of similar interests learning new things, catching up with people you met at previous conferences and meeting new people. I have been to every Australian (including the one in New Zealand) Open Source Developers’ Conference since the first one in 2004, I attended three of the last four linux.conf.au conferences, I based a month long US trip around two conferences, as well as some smaller things like BarCamps. Also throw in some skeptic conventions and camps…

I enjoy the conferences I go to, otherwise I wouldn’t keep going, but I get the impression that a fair number of people think of conferences as an obligation, something they are sent to by their employer, not something they want to go to. This comes up when I mention to someone that I am going to or have been at a conference and they respond negatively. The times I have pushed back to find out why they have that response it has been because their experience has only been of a vendor/commercial/corporate convention where a lot of money was thrown around to make it look impressive, but the content was nothing new and boiled down to a massive sales pitch for the sponsors (if they are not already the organisers).

Over the past weekend I was at the first BuzzConf which is the type of conference I enjoy, but made even better by being family friendly, having a broader appeal (eg not just programming related) and being very social with fires to clusters around and live music playing.

There were no fancy conference facilities, we were out in country Victoria at an old caravan park. Big tents were put up for the talks and other activities and while some people opted to stay in the cabins, most (myself included) brought their own tent (or campervan). Being a caravan park there was power everywhere, as well as internet, until we broken the nearby telephone exchange…

The talks and workshops were great, I am still overwhelmed by all of the interesting things. In one workshop I assembled a nodebot kit and started playing with it, there were talks about how the future will be awesome (but we need to be able to survive it), brain control, and internet of things. Telsa brought out a Model S which was cool to look over, we didn’t get to drive it, but the representative did take quite a few of us out on a test ride.

One of the closing announcements was that BuzzConf woulbe be back next year and there would be a short time where we could get ultra early bird tickets. I now know where I will be this time next year…

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Another year, another OSDC

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 at 8:52 pm

Last week I was up in Surfers Paradise for Open Source Developers’ Conference 2014. Numbers were lower than in some of the previous years, but the biggest change for me was that for the first time since 2007 I didn’t pay my own way, my new employer generously funded my (and two others) attendance.

What I took away from the conference this time was a number of ideas relating to home automation and monitoring, internet of things and embedded systems.

The presentations that covered those topics included:

Of course the two overall highlights were not part of the program. The first being pulling apart a printer in the unconference workshop session… I just love the story behind the scanning lens in a laser printer as that is a key part of what made them both accurate and reasonably priced. Where would technology be if we never had laser printer and desktop publishing?

The other highlight was after the conference close when a few of us went to a nearby pub where it turned out there was an ongoing raffle, you got a ticket for each drink and every few minutes they called out a number. It was just as we were getting ready to leave that one of our numbers came up, Hugh won a meat tray, but he was flying back to New Zealand the next morning. Then one of my numbers came up and – after a mad scramble to extract it from the empty can where I had put it – I end up with a bottle of bourbon.

It was time for me to meet up with my coworkers for our flight and I briefly considered taking it with me, but it would be a squeeze in my bag and it was nothing special, so I donated it to the group who were off to find a BBQ to deal with the meat tray. Later on I did get a photo of the aftermath.

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TAM2014 is over… it was great

Monday, July 14th, 2014 at 2:04 pm

For the past four days I have been immersed in The Amaz!ing Meeting 2014. The closest I got to the outdoors was looking out of the window in my hotel room as I was in an organised session/workshop/event, was talking to people or I was asleep. Throughout the conference I made handwritten notes (instead of posting directly to G+ or Twitter) and I will eventually type them up, but meanwhile I recommend looking through the posts in Twitter tagged with #tam2014.

Tomorrow I will start stage two (before heading to Portland, Oregon for OSCON) which involves hiring a car and driving around Las Vegas and then heading into Arizona for a big loop around the Grand Canyon.

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I went to TAM Australia

Monday, December 6th, 2010 at 10:35 pm

For many years I have been a skeptic. That doesn’t mean I maintain a doubting attitude, it means that I don’t take things for granted, instead I will look for the evidence.

For some time I have been aware of local skeptic groups such as the Australian Skeptics and the Victorian Skeptics I had not become actively involved. Instead of was content to follow the science from a distance via blogs and the books that I read.

That changed when I found out that an Amazing Meeting! would be held in Australia for the first time. I had to go, but while waiting to see if it would conflict with OSDC2010 I missed out on a ticket. But when I heard that a lottery would be held for the final few tickets I entered and was lucky enough to be offered a ticket. I jumped at it, even though I would have to miss the final day of OSDC2010.

So how was it? It’s in the title: Amazing.

Although I struggled a bit, I did manage to make my 8AM Friday flight to Sydney which got me there in plenty of time for the 1PM start. From then on it was a rush. I am not attempt to detail everything that happened, but the obvious highlights included meeting and hearing speak: James Randi, Dr Karl, Dick Smith, Simon Singh and Rob Morrison.

I also met many other people, some of who I expect to see again as next year I intend to go along to some of the local skeptic events. Of course that may even include a Melbourne based TAM.

While most of the talks were great, they had the issue of repeating things I had already read. The discussion panels were more interesting as they depended on the questions people asked. But the largest surprise of the entire event was a talk on management pseudoscience.

It had never occurred to me that management was a psuedoscience, but now that I think about there are plenty of management theories, but very little evidence to back them up. Think about it, businesses are wasting money and time on unverified theories, often on theories that in practice fall down.

Seven years ago I did start to write about work processes and I have been meaning to get back into it. Realising that much of management training is pseudoscience if hopefully the trigger I need. (we are also undergoing major organisational change which was the first trigger)

Instead of writing more here about the event, I will simply link to my messages from during the event. When I do get around to sorting through the photos (mostly from the dinner cruise) I will try to provide some more detail.

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OSDC2010

Monday, December 6th, 2010 at 9:19 pm

A week and a half ago the Open Source Developers’ Conference was held for the seventh time in Australia, the fourth time in Melbourne. I have been to all seven so far and there was no way I was going to miss it, especially as it was local, even though it did clash with another conference.

That clash caused me to miss the last day of the conference. Unfortunately that was the day that Damian Conway was giving two talks. I am glad the the talks were recorded, but I have yet to find time to watch them. (1, 2)

Before I run through my highlights of the first two days I will touch briefly on the biggest negative of the conference. It was held in Melbourne. This is bad because I live in Melbourne.

For the past three years the conference has been in Brisbane, Sydney and then Brisbane again. I enjoyed the conference much better at those places as I was able to immerse myself in the conference. In 2007 I stayed in the hotel that was the venue, so I just had to stumble downstairs, in 2008 I stayed just around the corner from the venue, so it was a short work, and in 2009 I stayed in the city so it was a bus ride to the venue, but I knew others who were staying in the city as well.

But with the conference being in Melbourne I had no hotel to stay in, I travelled home each night. Since I had the option of driving (instead of 1.5 hours on public transport each way) I drove which meant I didn’t stay back for the social drinks as late as I wanted to. If it hadn’t conflicted with TAM, I wonder if it would have been worth the expense of finding somewhere near the venue to stay…

Looking back at the program (there seemed to be a higher number than usual of last minute changes) there are only two sessions apart from the lightning talks that jump out at me:

Of these three sessions, the highlight was Adam’s talk about the scale of the environment that he works with and how it is structured. I may go into that later in another post.

From the second day, four sessions (again excluding the lightning talks) were memorable:

Arjen’s session was lightning talks of a non technical nature, the highlight being Noirin getting us all to stand up and try to learn the Charleston. This was so popular it was repeated during the standard lightning talks session later in the day.

While Noirin’s talk on the Apache community was interesting as we Schwern’s perl5i talk, Schwern’s demonstration of Git revisions using Tinkertoy‘s was the standout.

So, overall it was a great conference and I intend to watch Damian’s two talks, plus any others that I missed such as Rainbox House v4.

I can’t wait for next year.

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OSDC2009 wrap up

Sunday, December 6th, 2009 at 10:29 am

In the last week of November I headed up to Brisbane for the sixth Australian Open Source Developers’ Conference and over the three days of the conference I took a lot of photos. Yesterday I completed sorting through them and uploaded 177 of them to Flickr across four sets.

Anyone who follows me on Twitter, identi.ca or Facebook would have seen me commenting as the conference unfolded, but here is a pictorial summary of what I consider to be the highlights.

OSDC2009 – Day 1

The conference began with a talk from Karen Pauley on Understanding Volunteers:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 5

Richard Jones discovered issues with MacBooks an some projectors:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 10

Paul Fenwick told us about the awesome things we missed in Perl:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 18

Adam Kennedy brought us up to date on Padre:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 27

With the day closing with lightning talks:

OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 31OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 33OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 34OSDC 2009 - Day 1 - 36

OSDC2009 – Day 2

On short notice Marty Pauley gave a great talk on simplicity:

OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 1

Then later in the day Arjen Lentz let us know that failure is not an emergency:

OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 14

With the day concluding with lightning talks:

OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 28OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 29OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 30OSDC 2009 - Day 2 - 31

OSDC2009 – Dinner

At dinner a certain someone garnered lots of attention by dressing up for his dinner talk:

OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 20

While everyone else was challenged to illustrate in Play-doh how removing something can be a feature:

OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 35OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 38OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 43OSDC 2009 - Dinner - 56

OSDC2009 – Day 3

On the final day we heard about Google Wave:

OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 10

contained more lightning talks:

OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 31OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 33OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 39OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 35

Before being closed by Pia Waugh talking about open source in government:

OSDC 2009 - Day 3 - 40

It was again a great conference, that I really need to speak at again next year. My only regret this year was that I had to fly back on the Friday night. It would have been better if I had hung around and flown back on the Saturday like I did last year.

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Photos from OSDC2008

Sunday, December 7th, 2008 at 10:29 pm

I have just finished sorting through my photos from the conference and have uploaded the better ones to Flickr in a set for each day:

Almost all of them are of people in between the talks or in the evening at the dinner or at various pubs.

The photos I took of presenters as they were presenting didn’t come out the best, the 50mm f/1.8 would have been very nice. Despite this I am glad that I resisted the impluse to go and buy one as I ended up being the winning bidder for a secondhand one, at half the retail price.

Of all of the photos, this one requires to be singled out:

Paul dressed up for his talk

I have a lot more other photos from Sydney. I should be able to sort through them soon.

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Being touristy in Sydney

Saturday, December 6th, 2008 at 6:32 pm

So what did on my final day in Sydney?

After checking out of the hotel and putting my bag in a locker I headed down to and then up Sydney Tower. It was a very different perspective of the city that I had seen so far.

My next stop was back at the bridge, but this time to the lookout on the south east pylon. I didn’t even know about this until I got a complimentary pass when I did the bridge climb.

From there I continued walking across the bridge to the northern side where I walked under the northern approach and then down to Luna Park. I didn’t actually spend long there as the next ferry over to Darling Harbour was only a few minutes away.

Once I got to Darling Harbour my first priority was something to eat, and then I headed into the Maritime Museum. As it was quite warm outside I decided to only visit the air-conditioned museum, but that was quite interesting.

Time was moving on (as it usually does) I spent another hour or so wandering around Darling Harbour before heading back towards the hotel for my bag before heading to the airport. But I had more time than I thought so I went back to Hyde Park and St James for some more photos, specifically of the fountains that I saw on Tuesday.

Which brings me to right now. Sitting on the train from Central to the airport.

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OSDC2008 is over … with sekrits revealed

Saturday, December 6th, 2008 at 12:24 am

It is now technically the day after the last day of the conference, but it ended up being a long day.

Despite my plan I didn’t end up making it to the breakfast as I ended up sleeping in a bit By the time I arrived I had also missed the keynote, which by all accounts was quite good.

Of the talks that I did get to, Adam’s and Paul’s were excellent as usual. I also went to one about a CMS originally written for a local government and I caught the end of one about code reviews. The content of that one wasn’t anything new to me, but the questions/discussion after it have me some ideas about how to get buy in for our processes at work.

The closing keynote from Pia Waugh about the OLPC in Australia gave me a better understanding on how the project was going and also how it is related to Australia and Oceania.

But that wasn’t all as Adam revealed the sekrit that he had been alluding to. Which was actually two things:

  • at 5:30 that morning he had managed to build perl6 for windows and a beta should be (hopefully) out for Christmas.
  • during his recent tour talking about Strawberry Perl he was offered assistance from Microsoft. They will me running virtual instances of all the current versions of windows for testing purposes. Which will be available to anyone with CPAN account.

So that was the end of the actual conference, but that wasn’t all as many of us adjourned to the pub next door. As that was crowded and didn’t serve food (at least in the bar), we moved to the nearby RSL. At least thirty of us.

I am now back at the hotel and have a rough plan for tomorrow:

  • get up as early as I can
  • figure out exactly when and how I’m getting to the airport
  • check out of the hotel
  • find somewhere to leave my bag
  • head up to the Sydney Tower observation deck

This should take until midday. Only another six hours to fill…

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Completing the second day of OSDC2008

Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at 10:08 pm

The remainder of the second day of the conference was quite good, but only one presentation, about building up documentation for a project, sticks in my mind.

After the lightning talks session (the usual mix of good and bad) there was a Perl BOF. Twenty five of us (including Larry) headed up the street to a pub for drinks and then dinner. All sorts of things were discussed only some of them Perl.

Tomorrow there is a late addition to the schedule with one of the sponsors putting on a breakfast. That could be interesting.

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Almost halfway through OSDC

Thursday, December 4th, 2008 at 10:58 am

After my post yesterday there were two of the most memorable talks of the conference so far. First there was a lightning talk by Adam Kennedy about asciio, a tool for drawing ASCII diagrams, then there was the dinner keynote where Anthony Baxter ran through an A-Z of thing he hates.

These talks were memorable more for their delivery rather than their content. These two guys are skilled enough to make any topic entertaining. (which isn’t to say that their talks weren’t also informative)

On the other side was this mornings keynote from Larry Wall which was way more informative than entertaining. It was still excellent and Larry talked about regular expressions under Perl 6.

Unfortunately I wasn’t able to best appreciate it because after the dinner (with its free drinks) we went to the bar next door…

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OSDC2008 begins

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008 at 2:34 pm

It’s now part of the way through the first day of the conference (ignoring the pre-conference hackathon which sounded interesting, but I have heard that a laptop was essential) and it is going quite well. My tiredness from yesterday aside.

I have been taking a few photos but I’m finding that this is another situation where my 17-85mm isn’t fast enough and my 28mm is too wide. There is a Ted’s down the street and they do have a 50mm in stock. I’m tempted.

Tonight is the conference dinner and the 28mm will be better for that.

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Eight hours of walking and photos

Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 at 10:53 pm

My journey to Sydney ended at 2PM when I checked into the hotel. After a brief rest I walked around the corner to the conference venue and registered instead of waiting until tomorrow morning.

Then I started walking … and didn’t stop until 10PM.

I had a bridge climb scheduled for 5PM so I first spent a couple of hours walking down there. Via parks (eg Hyde Park and the botanical gardens) to the opera house, taking photos as I went.

Then there was the actual bridge climb which is 3.5 hours long.

As it was dark by the time I left the bridge climb I spent some time taking night shots with my tripod around Dawes Point (under the bridge) and Circular Quay.

This was topped off by walking back to the hotel.

My feet aren’t quite happy. But the climb was worth it and I’ll find out about the photos once I get then off the camera.

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I am going to OSDC in Sydney

Monday, November 3rd, 2008 at 10:13 pm

This year the Open Source Developers’ Conference is being held in Sydney. Unlike last year, when it was in Brisbane, work is not sending me. So I decided I would go on my own.

Last week I registered for the conference (just before the extended early bird registrations closed) and this evening I booked my accomodation. I have yet to book the flights, and before I do that I need to work out exactly when I want to go.

I am flying up on the Tuesday before and flying home on the Saturday afterwards. On the Tuesday the cheapest flights are between 10AM and 3PM, and on the Saturday they are from 2PM onwards (I’m not getting up early for a 7AM flight home). There are plenty of options and what I am trying to work out is how much extra time do I want to spend in Sydney. Maybe catching up with people or doing touristy things.

So, does anyone have ideas for what I could do?

My mum suggested that a Bridge Climb could be a late birthday present. There is also the observation deck up Sydney Tower as well as just wandering around with my camera.

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The third and final day of OSDC2007

Friday, November 30th, 2007 at 10:27 pm

I am now back in Melbourne, but what happened yesterday, on the final day of OSDC2007?

After taking it easy in the morning I learned when and why Ruby on Rails would be an option, saw how an enterprise wide SSO solution can be built, how to optimise for wetware, gave a lightning talk, and heard the trends that should shape the future.

After the official close of the conference, ‘networking’ continued well into the night back at the Brewhouse.

Something I was very happy about was that my flight back wasn’t until the next afternoon as people dropped out throughout the evening to either catch a flight or return to where they were staying in order to get up for an early flight. If I were to change anything I’d make my flight early afternoon to reduce the amount of waiting around after checking out of the hotel.

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The second day of OSDC2007

Thursday, November 29th, 2007 at 11:27 am

It is now the morning of the third and final day of OSDC2007, but I should say something about yesterday…

First up Rasmus (the creator of PHP) demonstrated how broken the web is and why you should never click on a link. I also saw how to script tests for web applications, what is coming in CPAN 1.5, a reminder on testing, how spammers operate, and a method of server side components that are connected together to enable client side mashups. Finally the evening was capped off by Paul’s thoroughly entertaining Illustrated History of Failure at the dinner.

Strictly speaking the dinner wasn’t the end of the night. The Belgian beer garden was.

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First day of OSDC2007

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007 at 10:19 pm

Today, the first day of OSDC2007, started with breakfast at the hotel and finished with a few beers up the road at The Brewhouse.

However, in between I did go to a few talks.

I heard why C is still has a place, what behaviour driven development is, the experience of running a small business, why to package up your perl as if it were on CPAN, what Perl 6 features can be used right now, and how to (try to) manage email overload. There was also a lightning talk session that was as varied as usual with the talks ranging from informative to entertaining.

After the conference I’ll clean up my notes and put them up. But for now I’m just taking advantage of the conference wireless that I can reach from my room.

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Travelling north

Monday, November 26th, 2007 at 8:03 pm

After a taxi, a plane, a train and a walk I am now in my hotel room in Brisbane. As there is no daylight saving (local time is 7PM) and I am further east than Melbourne it is already dark and I am about to venture out in search of some (cheap) dinner.

However, my first priority was to check my email and make this post. While the room has an internet connection it was a simple decision after looking at the prices to not use it. Instead I dialed into work (nationwide number so only a local call) and connected to the VPN.

It is pretty sluggish using intense sites like google maps (ie everything that uses ajax or looks fancy) but the sensible sites work fine. Tunneling a VNC connection is even more painful. I need to look at another client for OSX that can use compression and drop the colour depth, etc for performance.

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Off to Brisbane for OSDC

Sunday, November 25th, 2007 at 11:02 pm

Tomorrow afternoon I’m flying up to Brisbane for this year’s Open Source Developers’ Conference which runs from Tuesday through Thursday.

Currently the plan is to post a couple of times a day about the talks I go to. We shall see how well that goes…

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A correction to my paper from OSDC2006

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007 at 7:01 pm

In my paper at last year’s Open Source Developers’ Conference I said that one of the negatives of Class::DBI was that it connects to the database at module load. If this fails an exception is thrown which can cause issues when the Class::DBI code is just one part, for example in a web server.

It looks like we were causing this behaviour, instead of it being how Class::DBI operates.

By default DATE fields in Oracle are formatted for year, month, and day even though the field includes hour, minute and second. In order to get the complete date and time our base class changes the default formatting with a line similar to:

__PACKAGE__->db_Main->do(
  "ALTER SESSION SET NLS_DATE_FORMAT = 'DD:MM:YYYY HH24:MI:SS'"
);

It is this line that triggers a connection on module load. If it is removed then the classes can be loaded even if the database is dead. Connection is now only attempted on first action which is a much more approriate time.

I’m not sure what the documentation said about it when we put the line in, but Setting Session Globals and Working With Oracle Date Fields on the Class::DBI wiki warn about using it in a mod_perl environment and that it will initiate a connection when the modules is used.

Over the next few days the commercial product that this database is used with is being upgraded. During this time the database will be unavailable for use so we revisited the issue of how to get the classes to load cleanly. These investigations found the root cause and we now have a solution; alter the base class so that the date formatting is altered whenever a connection is initialized (using information from how to use multiple databases), not when the class is loaded.

Now, although we have solved this issue, having to solve it wasn’t trivial as we were required to dig through some of the Class::DBI and Ima::DBI internals to mimic its behaviour.

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OSDC2006 – Day three

Friday, December 8th, 2006 at 7:30 pm

So what happened on the third and final day of OSDC 2006?

  • As I had seen Scott talk about Zaltana before (at OSDC in the past, at OSDClub, and at perl mongers) I decided that I would take my time getting in and skip his keynote. I ended up taking more time than I planned and missed the next talk slot.
  • Adam took up two half hour slots with his presentation of The Portable Image Testing Architecture: Rediculously Large Scale Testing. In a nutshell this is a system of virtual machines running a variety of operating systems with a variety of perl versions. Perl modules are then fed to these machines in order to obtain test results. This is what CPAN testers will be replaced with.
  • Another Scott (actually one that I see every day at work) presented on Usability, user-centered design (UCD) and FOSS. Although I had been exposed to the material before it was still an excellent presentation which was represented by Scott receiving a prize for the best talk later in the day.
  • As usual the lightning talk session was the highlight of the day with many excellent talks and some good talks. Cog has even made available the slides from his lightning talk which summarise the entire conference

Despite excellent talks and more people than last year I could not shake the impression that the conference was not as good as the previous years. This was partly confirmed by the announcement that next year it will NOT be held in Melbourne which would expose a new audience. The question is whether I would travel to attend…

See also:

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OSDC2006 – Day two

Thursday, December 7th, 2006 at 10:06 pm

So what happened on the second day of OSDC 2006? Not much. I only attended a couple of talks (nothing much to say about them as I had essentially seen them before), missed other talks to work on my slides and then presented my talk.

Tomorrow on the other hand is looking great.

See also:

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The hard part is over

Thursday, December 7th, 2006 at 6:43 pm

At 2PM today I presented my paper. If people are really keen they can run through my slides on their own time.

For now I am relaxing and will post a recap later tonight.

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OSDC2006 – Day one

Thursday, December 7th, 2006 at 1:35 am

(I am typing this as I wait for the next train back to Glen Waverley from Flinders Street. Unfortunately I missed the previous train by seconds as I decided to continue on with the group I was travelling with instead of changing at Richmond. Over half an hour of waiting…)

Anyway … today was the first day of OSDC 2006 with the following highlights:

  • The opening keynote, Free software – A look back, a look ahead, by Randall Schwartz was a great start and included a run down of the various open source licences and examples of how Randall and others have been able to make a living from them. Despite them being ‘free’.
  • cog’s first talk of the day, Perl White Magic, ran through some of the many command line switches and special variables that can be used to reduce the size of Perl scripts, in particular when writing one liners on the command line.
  • In contrast to his first talk, cog’s second talk on obfuscation and golfing was the opposite of his earlier talk – how command line switches, special variables and other syntactic magic of Perl can be used for evil.
  • Paul Fenwick gave us a rundown of the new features available in Perl 5.10 5.9.4. It is interesting to see Perl 6 features being incorporated. Jokes were made that by the time that Perl 6 comes out the features will already be available and in use.
  • Adam Kennedy decided to buck the trend and give a talk on how things do not always go to plan. After reflecting that conference talks are (almost) always about new or succesful projects there is not exposure to the failures he went on to decribe a number of common pitfalls that are experienced.
  • The final talk from cog covered ninety modules from the Acme namespace in twenty minutes (it should have taken thirty so he will look for some more to describe). What was scary about this was that some of them (for example one to allow C style comments) may now be useful to members of the audience. It was interesting to note that many of the mentioned modules were from Australian authors such as Damian , Paul and Adam.
  • Above all of this was Damian’s rendition of The Da Vinci Codebase. This is a magnificent parody of The Da Vinci Code with the main protagonist, Dr Damian Conway and expert on symbology in computer languagess, supported by a variety of characters in Paris, Texas unravelling the clues that lead to the villan, the DMCA.

Although not part of the formal program, and facilitated by alcohol, were a variety of interesting discussions. On in particular led to the proposal of Acme::Playmate::Object. An extension of the Acme::Playmate module which allows you to obtain the vital statistics of Playboy playmates with Data::Vitals which is a class build for a modelling website that represents the vital statistics of fashion models and allows easy conversion between metric and imperial. The expectation is that Adam will have Acme::Playmate::Object (the objectification of playmates) ready to present as a lightning talk tomorrow.

See also:

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And so it begins

Tuesday, December 5th, 2006 at 9:14 pm

For the next three days I will be attending this year’s Open Source Developers’ Conference. Similar to two years ago I have been finishing off the slides for the presentation of my paper which is in a scant forty hours away.

I am also undecided on how I am going to get there. Last year I caught the train from Glen Waverley to Richmond and then another back to Caulfield which took around fifty minutes. I have been playing with the Metlink Journey Planner which tells me that it would be five minutes quicker to get off the train at Tooronga to catch a bus to Caulfield if I catch a certain train.

In a sense this highlights the issue of public transport in Melbourne being focused on travelling to the city. East Malvern station on the Glen Waverley line is actually pretty close to Caulfield station on the Packenham/Cranbourne/Frankston lines and has plenty of options including trains, buses and trams that can get you to the city. However the options to travel across to Caulfield are limited with no direct routes, they all go a fair distance out of the way…

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Finally done

Thursday, November 16th, 2006 at 12:15 am

Over the past two weeks I have spent almost every available minute working on the final version of my paper for this years Open Source Developers’ Conference.

Actually that statement is a bit misleading. Every available minute for the past two weeks except for a half dozen hours has been spent procrastinating instead of working on my paper. It is amazing what I would find myself doing.

Now I have three weeks until the conference. Three weeks of procrastination regarding working on my presentation…

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Paper is done

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006 at 11:40 pm

A month and a half ago my paper proposal for this years Open Source Developers’ Conference was accepted. Last Friday I decided that I had procrastinated enough so I started writing it. Since then I have spent on average three hours a day working on it and tonight I submitted it with half an hour to go before the deadline.

I have made it available to anyone who cares along with my paper from two years ago.

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Acceptance

Saturday, August 5th, 2006 at 1:19 pm

Earlier in the week my paper proposal for this years Open Source Developers’ Conference was accepted. I now have just over a month and a half to write it…

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Conference swag

Thursday, December 8th, 2005 at 7:58 pm

I have just sorted through the stuff I collected at the conference and threw most of it out except for:

A nice collection but now I need to find time to read the books…

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OSDC 2005: Day 3

Wednesday, December 7th, 2005 at 8:44 pm

On this third day of the Open Source Developers’ Conference 2005 that everyone was getting a bit tired.

Today’s highlights:

  • Learning Haskell (Tang, Autrijus)
    This morning Autrijus followed on from his talk yesterday about the Perl 6 implementation in Haskell by explaining the fundamentals of the language. It is scary how much my head is hurting by those academics and their declarative language. Thesis papers as documentation…
  • Lightning talks
    As yesterday the lightning talks session was a must see. One of the talks was allowed, even encouraged, to exceed the five minute limit as it was very insightful about how we (ie Australians) should negotiate with Americans (the talk was from an American now working over here…).

(I may add to this very short list in the next couple of days after I recover and also digest all the new information…)

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OSDC 2005: Day 2

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005 at 9:05 pm

Following on from yesterday the second day of the conference in all ways met or exceeded my expectations.

As requested by the conference committed a number of people have put the photos they have taken at the conference up on flickr.

The highlights:

  • Instrumentation and Control Systems Used on the Australian Synchrotron (Farnsworth, Richard)
    Although the talk was light on the gritty details it was great to hear that a conscious decision was made to select open source solutions where possible. An example that was given was how they simplified the acquistion of RF emitters by telling the manufacturers the output requirements AND what software (an open source physic control suite) it needed to be controlled by out of the box (albeit a very box box). Richard also stressed the parallels between the science community (papers, peer review, building on others research, etc) and the open source community.
  • Towards best practise development: Developing standards and procedures for consistent results (Bailey, Nathan)
    This talk was extreemly interesting to us as it was our manager talking about how we work. It is good to know the difference between what management thinks we are doing compared to what is actually happening.
  • Lightning talks
    Lightning talks will always be one of the best sessions at a conference due to the high percentage of content versus waffle and the sheer variation in their topics. One of the best today was Paul’s talk on automating mimesweeper using perl…
  • Introduction to Pugs: Perl 6 in Haskell (Tang, Autrijus)
    This was definitely the talk of the day as Autrijus ran us through how quickly the implementation of Perl 6 in Haskell was done. However what really hurts the mind is that it was not just an interpreter but also the ability to compile Perl 6 into other languages such as PIL (for Parrot) and even Javascript. Argh!

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OSDC 2005: Day 1

Tuesday, December 6th, 2005 at 12:06 am

Today (now it is technically yesterday) was the start of the Open Source Developers’ Conference 2005. The conference was off to a good start as the bag included a book: Firefox Secrets

The talks that I went to today were much like last year, of a very high calibre, with the highlights being:

  • Making Things Move: Finding Inappropriate Uses For Scripting Languages (Oxer, Jonathan)
    Although I had seen this talk before it was still excellent and a great opening talk for the conference as there were no heavy concepts. Unfortunately it reminded me of the projects in my list that I really need to get working on…
  • Parsing, Analysing and Manipulating Perl (without perl) (Kennedy, Adam)
    We didn’t even make it to lunch before the first head hurting talk came along. Using the perl modules Acme::Bleach, Acme::Buffy, Acme::Morse and others Adam we to the extreme to show us how the oft quoted statement “Only perl can parse Perl” is incorrect, it should really be “Only perl can run Perl”. With that out of the way he explained to us that by thinking about documents of Perl instead of Perl code it was possible for PPI to even exist. Now that we can ‘parse’ Perl it is possible to build into other programs (such as an editor) the ability to correctly syntax highlight, correctly tidy it up, and even calculate a wide range of metrics. That is why my head hurts…
  • It’s Good to be Greedy: Keeping a Straight Face around Regular Expressions (Balbo, Ben)
    Ben’s talk on regular expressions pretty much convered ground that I already understood. With one exception: look-ahead and look-behind assertions. Since I have never needed to use them (maybe that is because I didn’t understand them before) I never got around to understanding these assertions. But there was something about the way Ben explained it that made them so clear…
  • Zaltana (Penrose, Mr Scott)
    Zaltana is Scott’s name for an environment where different web applications in different languages can coexist under the same authentication and with the same look and feel. The key to it is the greater control over the request lifecycle that is provided by mod__perl 2.0. A filter takes the authentication details from apache and passes them to the application and another filter takes the xml output of the application and transforms it into XHTML/CSS with the appropriate look and feel. I recall having some vague thoughts of this nature back in June when Stas Bekman gave a presentation about modperl 2.0 at perl mongers. But Scott has actually done something…
  • Conference Presentation Humour (Baxter, Anthony)
    During the dinner Anthony Baxter gave a presentation about presentations which convered pretty much the same ground as the similar presentations by Paul and Damian. Apparently a joint presentation was in the works between Anthony and Damian however as Damian was unable to attend the conference that did not pan out…

I ended up talking with Anthony after the dinner where he revealed that the format of his presentations was inspired by Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture keynote at OSCON 2002.

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Powerbooks here, Powerbooks there, Powerbooks everywhere

Friday, December 3rd, 2004 at 9:21 pm

One thing I forgot to mention in my previous posts about OSDC was that the majority of laptops that I saw were Apple Powerbooks. And a fair number of those where 12″ just like mine

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Conference is over…

Friday, December 3rd, 2004 at 8:45 pm

The third and final day of OSDC

  • MySQL In 2005 by Luke Welling
    This keynote talked a fair bit about the composition of MySQL as an international company that makes most of it’s revenue from licensing and support to a very small percentage of the userbase.
  • Docbook by Scott Penrose
  • Regexp::Common by Abigail
  • Developing the Monash Research Directory by Stephen Edmonds
    I was forced to go to the talk because I was presenting it…
  • Lightning talks
  • Templates Templates everywhere but not a drop to drink by Scott Penrose
  • Lightning talks
    All that I recall from this session was Damian’s two small talks, one of which was another song…
  • Sufficiently Advanced Technology by Damian Conway
    Damien’s talks are always good value, his keynotes expecially so, and this one was about you should be writing modules that make things happen in the rest of your program with little or no work.

I also won a copy of Essential CVS because my answer of K3.21 to the question of what was the actual room number of ‘room 1’ was close enough… K3.21 was actually ‘room 2’ with K3.07 being the truly correct answer.

In all the conference was excellent and I can’t wait until next year…

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Summary of Day 2

Thursday, December 2nd, 2004 at 9:28 pm

With my slides for my talk tomorrow at the Open Source Developers’ Conference complete enough I suppose I could go through a summary of Day 2…

  • Open Source Trends by Nathan Torkington
  • “Scripting Language” My Arse: Using Python for Voice over IP by Anthony Baxter
  • PHP and MySQL Web Development by Luke Welling
  • Javascript Game Development by Simon Hildebrandt
    I didn’t realise just some of what is possible to do by using JavaScript to interact with the Document Object Model (DOM).
  • I didn’t know perl could talk to hardware? by Scott Penrose
    This talk has inspired me to revive some of my abandoned projects. In particular getting the 1-wire temperature sensors I have hooked up and wiring up at least one of the LCD displays I have had for at least six years now. And of course I will be interacting with them through perl…
  • How to build a Web Grabber / Screen Scraper by John Kaye
  • Overview of Perl Security Modules by Craig Pearce
  • Lightning talks
    This was probably the most value as there was a lot of interesting topics which were then capped by Damian performing his rendition of “Everything I need to know about the Perl community, I learned in kindergarten”

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Day 1 Complete

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004 at 10:07 pm

The first day of the conference concluded with the social dinner which means my talk tally now includes:

  • Coding standards while programming in PHP by Jeffery Fernandez
    This was pretty much a waste of time for me as it only covered the basics of coding standards, consistent naming and formatting.
  • Doing stupid things in Perl by Paul Fenwick
    This was an excellent reminder of the stupid things that people often do and it was a laugh to see one of them being something Paul found in the portal code when he was in on a contract.
  • How to Make Money from Open Source Software by Con Zymaris
    The actual talk was a bit of a disappointment as I was full of food (it was at the social dinner) and couldn’t really hear him (no decent sound setup). However since I was a reviewer for this talk I know the content was interesting…

Under 37 hours until my talk. Maybe I should get around to finishing off the slides…

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Mostly through day 1 of the OSDC

Wednesday, December 1st, 2004 at 3:03 pm

The first day of the Open Source Developers’ Conference is almost over and so far it has been pretty good with the talks (that I attended) so far being:

  • Perl 6: OO Made Insanely Great by Dr Damian Conway
    Although this was essentially the same as the Perl 6 that I heard him give back in February it was still interesting as I had forgotten much of it.
  • Beware of Benchmark by Abigail
    A number of potential issues exist with the Benchmark module such as being aware that the code under test is run with no strict and that you must make sure that the code isn’t optimised away.
  • The trials and tribulations of a test suite in Perl by Scott Penrose
  • Evolution of a Perl-based Knowledge Portal by Robert Barta
    This was pretty interesting but I will probably need a lot of time to actually understand topic maps.
  • Open Database Access Protocol (ODAP) by Clancy Malcolm
  • Managing an Open Source Development Environment by Nathan Bailey

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OSDC is tomorrow… argh!

Tuesday, November 30th, 2004 at 6:06 pm

The 2004 Australian Open Source Developers’ Conference starts tomorrow which will be very good. Unfortunately this also means that there is a scant 65 hours until I have to present my own talk…

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Google can be too helpful sometimes

Sunday, October 10th, 2004 at 10:19 pm

A few months ago when I started to write up my paper for the ODSC conference in December I used google to find information about how to do it. Since I’m planning on doing a practice run at perl mongers this Wednesday I thought I might as well procrastinate in a productive way by reading through some of them again.

One specific one I was looking for was a slightly tongue-in-cheek presentation about how to make a presentation. Unfortunately since I couldn’t remember exactly what it was called (or had bookmarked it) I spent around about an hour looking through the results of various google searches with little luck.

Fortunately I recalled that it might have been linked from and article on perl.com which narrowed my search significantly. The article I then found was Giving Lightning Talks which includes a link at the end to Conference Presentation Judo….

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Only a week late…

Monday, September 20th, 2004 at 11:25 pm

I have just managed to finally finish my paper on the Monash Research Directory for the Open Source Developers’ Conference 2004 later this year. Originally the final draft of the papers were due on the 6th of September. This was extended to the 13th and then left a bit open ended…

At least I can finally get around to rebuilding shaun…

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OSDC Paper Proposal

Friday, July 2nd, 2004 at 8:54 pm

Today I submitted my paper proposal for the Open Source Developers’ Conference that is being held in December this year. Everyone at work submitted on and mine is for a twenty minute talk about the development of the Monash Research Directory.

I’m not sure if I actually want it to be accepted…

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