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the second day of the normal conference proceeded along the same path.  keynotes that are 20 minute vignettes again.  i'm not sure why it bugs me so much, but it does.  i think because of this i'm pre-disposed not to get much value out of them...and i didn't.

the next session i went to was the history of copyright and what it means to open source by karl fogel.  karl was formerly with collabnet, and is now with google.  i have to say, karl immediately lost credibility with me on his approach.  to me he committed the cardinal sin of telling the audience he wasn't going to take questions -- what was worse was that he said he'd acknowledge the hands being raised, but wasn't convinced he'd have enough time.  ouch.  even if you aren't going to take questions for whatever reason -- please don't announce that -- you might as well say "my information is going to be way more important than any point you are going to ask or make, so don't bother."

anyhow, karl took an interesting video (too long btw, ate up 10 minutes -- only a few minutes were necessary) on a park survey of what the lay person thinks/perceives copyright to be.  it wasn't a surprise to me i don't think -- people generally don't know the details or history.  the common thread was that the perception is protecting the credit of the author.  in reality, (as karl is pointing out), the copyrights are there to protect publishers.  it's philosophical of course and there are a bunch of legal footnotes to the argument for sure.  it was an interesting talk, but he never really got to the point of the second half of the title: '...and what it means to open source.'  it made me wonder what his credentials were to talk about this -- he didn't announce any legal education or anything.  it was an okay session overall -- i learned something, which is good.

the next session i went to was one on ajax using atlas and asp.net.  yeah, i know, i already know this stuff.  but i wanted to see who else was interested.  plus i think christian is great and always enjoy his talks.  as usually, he was great and injected good humor into his discussions.  he was able to demonstrate what atlas had to offer and answer some good questions on the use of atlas in non-microsoft environments.

after lunch was a session from google entitled 'a google service for the open source community' which we now know was a commercial for google code project hosting.  it was packed.  the project hosting is essentially sourceforge with google-esque user interface.  no ads on the project hosting page (yet).  one thing that i heard after the session was how people thought google did a little dog/pony show.  if you look at their session, up until the actual session the description was "TBD" and not on any update sheets throughout the event.  given their announcement, it really should have been a part of the 'products and services' track (which was segmented out to ensure the attendees know it was related to a product/services offered by a commercial group), but they were able to evade that by keeping the description TBD -- good tip.  google...more evil maybe? ;-)

another session i went to was titled 'roadmap to free .net developer tools' by lee fisher.  sorry lee, but this was the worst presentation of the show.  i got the impression lee was a smart guy (he indicated he used to work on the NT server team), but he went about the approach the wrong way.  his 'presentation' was a super-fast rambling of 11 pages of links to developer tools (not all of which were free by the way as the title suggested).  when people asked questions about certain tools he told them to click on the link and learn about it.  when people asked if certain ones were free (or pointed out they weren't) he responded by saying they'd know it wasn't free when their credit card was charged.  it was just horrible how the topic was approached.  the worst part was that the talk gave the impression that .net development was an overly complicated process.  lee was talking about kernle debugger tools and device driver debug kits.  that's crazy talk.  yes, if you are doing that type of stuff, then great, but it made .net development look like rocket science and jet propulsion combined with explosive diffusing techniques.  i think if someone went in to that session looking to dabble in .net and wanted free tools, they walked out of there probably thinking that it was going to be too hard.  session score: F-- -- sadly this is one of the only sessions i went out of my way to evaluate to put these comments in.  again, i don't mean to belittle lee, but he missed the mark.  by a continent.

i stopped by one last time and it was pretty bare at that point nearing the end of the day and the end of the conferences.  one of the participants in our oscamp session was there and reiterated his appreciation for microsoft being there.  he said we took our punches well and he really did appreciate that microsoft was even at oscon and talking and interacting with people...he really felt we were listening.

after the sessions we (microsoft) hosted a group for dinner.  there was about 40 of us total.  it was great to sit around and chat and we talked about tech stuff, social issues, etc. -- you know, normal people stuff.  there was no hostility and it was a lot of fun.  i heard through several people that google had a large crowd at a 'gentleman's club' the night before and had brought some people with them...i thought that was interesting.

a couple of the guys went to the six apart party that anil invited us to, but i opted to go back and crash (that's sleep by the way, not windows ;-)).

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update: i just read this comment:

The reliability of Google’s uptime seems to be a primary selling point. (source: http://www.techcrunch.com/2006/07/27/google-challe...)

well, here was my first experience:

google just announced their project hosting platform code.google.com/hosting -- so i checked it out...here's my first experience:


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i thought this was cool.  (who got 35th/5000+ in the 2005 wsop) is participating again this year and wrote a little application to track some players.

he calls into a voice service periodically and can record his chip count.  an atlas page then updates every 5 minutes with any player updates.

listen to the audio sample on the voice app -- cool.

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the build is stable now ;-)  this is a long day summary, but an interesting read...

the official oscon general conference kicked off today.  for some reason i feel compelled to point out the odd times.  0845?  it is just odd in the 15 minute increment zone...seems to throw the rest of the day (and my personal body clock) off!

oscon did a cool thing by putting up an iCal version of their calendar.  with the new features of outlook 2007, i can merge the views and drag/drop sessions i want to attend.  someone else put up http://oscal.quxx.info which is a mashup/share/calendar type app and is pretty slick.  i like the concept (if you create an account) -- see who else is going to the session and what other sessions they are going to -- nice idea for all conferences to follow.

okay, the keynote started (don't get me started on the word again).  what is odd here again is the 'keynote' is really a series of 15 minute vignette presentations.  tim o'reilly went first and talked about five principles for open source that are for the future.  i didn't write them down as i was intently trying to listen and determine if o'reilly was as visionary as people were saying he was...the jury is still out.  his talk was a "C" for me.  he did make reference to the windows live vp as seen below (and in a good way).



next up was a guy from greenplum, scott yara.  he was doing an analogy to open source and rock and roll.  i think it lost some people.  he showed a few video clips with some f-bombs in it and made references to girls in vegas at one point...i'm not easily offended (nor was i here), but it just struck me as odd to do in such a wide general session -- to someone evaluating that community, is that the first impression you want?  at any rate, his message was simple about open source: keep it real. keep it dangerous. (and dangerous in the sense that it keeps people thinking/innovating.)  this talk: B-

next was anil dash, an evangelist from six apart.  the topic was making web 2.0 suck less.  i liked this guy.  a lot.  he really grabbed my attention in both his style/preparation, but in his message.  that is, until, it turned into a commercial for six apart products.  anil really had some great points that applied to the greater software community and had great comic relief while maintaining valid points.  i wish he would have saved the plug for open jobs and new products for another time...he lost some street cred with me there.  by far though the best session so far for me.  talk: B+ (would have been an A).

i walked out on the last one -- it lost my attention too fast.

afte a little break, my team went to the oscamp area to make good on what we committed to the other day and the session we signed up for:

OCamp MSFT Topic

we had a decent turnout of about 8 people total (not including our team).  we got comments about how appreciative people were that we were there...and of course where we sucked.  was there again and after listening for a while launched a Jair-had on us about the social aspects.  i still have to say, i love his passion.  we added to the oscamp wiki with some raw notes on things discussed was there and filmed the whole thing so hopefully we can put it up on their site soon.  Jair didn't want to be on the video in either audio/video form so we have to edit that part out -- but only by his request...no other areas will be edited.  it is a shame he wants to remain so anonymous...i don't get it.  there were some other people discussing microsoft at oscamp as well.  brandon was doing a great job with oscamp and really made everyone feel comfortable.


after that i went to the expo hall.  saw companies like google, yahoo, local linux/oss groups, portland state university (and their rockets), ticketmaster was recruiting, and some random sponsors.  we got the guy from google to take a picture of our team (maybe jason will post that).


i then went to a prototype session by stuart halloway of relevance llc.  it was pretty good.  stuart knows his stuff.  when referring to namespaces, he said: "you have namespaces in c++, java has packages, and c# -- do they have packages or did they pull out a thesaurus when they stole namespaces?" (paraphrasing of course, expect the stole word) ;-)  i smiled.  it's odd that we seem to think that you are only smart if you are the originator of the idea.  but if others recognize a good idea and adopt it, then you're just a loser.  whatever.

i stepped in to stuart's next session on streamlined, but left because it felt too commercial. 

the last one i went to was the rubyclr talk by john lam.  it was good.  he really did a good job explaining his approach.  jimh from the ironpython team was there and nodding his head on why john had to take some approaches he did -- i thought that was great...some validation for john at least.  ironpython is talking tomorrow.

thursday evening we are hosting a dinner for some guys and we'll see how that goes.  during the day tomorrow (thursday), jason will be giving his talk.

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so at oscon they are having an oscamp -- basically an event within event.  the oscamp is an '' event -- where essentially it is an open forum...


a big wall and you basically put your name and topic on the wall.  so what better to do for a group of microsofties at an open source conference? 

we decided to put our name on the wall (this was about 4:30pm).  our goal (honest truth here) was to learn more about the open source community and how microsoft can do better, learn from oss, and be a better oss citizen.  can we (my team) immediately impact change?  maybe, maybe not -- but having the results of these types of conversation is essentially to determine if we can (and let the people who can influence change know as well).  so here goes...

we put our session on the board for thursday at 10:45am.  title? 'why we suck: come chat w/microsoft and tell us'

well before i could finish putting the tape up on the board, someone *immediately* saw it and started engaging us in a conversation.

his name was (sorry for any misspelling, i assumed short for jerry, gerald, or something -- he wasn't very forthcoming about his personal details, which was okay).  there was something telling about him -- he was wearing a robin hood hat -- for a purpose.  at any rate, Jair said there is no way he was going to let us get away with putting a title up like that (which by the way isn't really the attitude of open space events: see rule #1 about 'whoever comes is the right people') and wanted to talk with us immediately about our intentions.

the conversation was long (we left about 6:30pm).  i've mentioned this before, but one thing i love about the bigger geek community is the passion we display.  at times, our passion pours over into other aspects of our lives.  Jair is one of those people.  man, he was passionate...i loved it.  he has so much energy and it is clear he is passionate about his beliefs...mad props to Jair for that.  Jair went on a long conversation with us about his dislike for microsoft (although in reality it wasn't just microsoft, but kinda bigger and more philosophical).  i won't go into the details as it would take a while, but i listened.  i didn't always understand what he was saying, but listened.  i didn't agree with what he was saying on some levels, but i listened.  the net-net is that he defined me as an 'unwitting agent' and didn't appreciate that.  hmmm...am i an unwitting agent?  or am i just as passionite as him?

others gathered and /. heard that 'microsoft guys were here' and entered the room (didn't catch the guys name).  google was listening quietly as well (and taking pictures which i'm sure will end up on some blog with some not-so-kind-words).  a bigger group gathered and mainly listened to Jair as well...some piped in with some comments.

one comment that i liked from someone who shared some of Jair's views (paraphrasing of course): 'at least you came in here, put something on the board and are talking to us...i don't see mysql or google doing that.'  yeah, that's the point.  *we* (the team i represent) really do want to understand.  do we want to change perception?  of course.

well, we'll have to see what happens on thursday morning...stay tuned for the report from the unwitting agents ;-)