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CodeCon 2006, Day 2

  • 22nd Feb, 2006 at 11:57 PM

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I woke up to a breakfast of pancakes, cooked by the wonderful riseorbleed. I don't know about you but waking up to a hot breakfast is heavenly. After some morning ablutions, we hailed a cab and along the way we chatted with the cabbie as I looked out the window. Luxor cabbies are really nice, every time I travelled with them, they had some interesting story to tell and big, broad smiles. Smiling is the way to fatter tips!

The weather in San Francisco is supposed to be rather variable. You know how that is, rain one minute and then sun the next. Well, the entire time I was there, it was bright and sunny and gorgeous. San Francisco really put on her best to charm me and she really succeeded. I didn't think that postcard-perfect pictures were possible, but I saw them everywhere.

I was happy to walk around without needing a winter coat. And everyone else smirked at how happy I was.

Daniel seemed to have recovered from the previous night's revelry. His talk on delta was excellent because he's a very good public speaker. Which is good, because he gave two presentations at CodeCon. When I talked to him on Thursday night, he seemed a little embarassed at how successful delta had become since it such a simple piece of software. But people like GCC use it to fare down their bug reports to the lines of code that reproduce its bugs.

Rob and Tristan sidled up to my bar and asked me if I could get them some juice. For their laptops. They were working on their presentation all the way until the last minute, which involved a drunken Tristan stumbling around on stage. Except that Tristan doesn't drink, so his imitation was quite poor. They were presenting Djinni, which is their implementation of a fast simulated-annealing algorithm that takes also pressure into account. Sadly, they didn't explain their algorithm but their talk was entertaining nevertheless.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

At lunch, Spider snuck me out of the building and she showed me around San Francisco. She pointed out the Eagle Tavern with a glimmer in her eye. I think she's trying to corrupt me. Or she's trying to pimp me out. Then we went to Stompers where she tried on some boots. We were stymied, however, by the fact that a very annoying woman and her husband were trying on every single pair of boots in the entire store.

iGlance is a real-world video-conferencing and screen-sharing application that has some fairly good usability built into it. It also has a fairly sensible privacy model and does some NAT punching to boot. Although it's only got a Win32 port for now, it's free software so someone will fix it up.

Sometime in the afternoon, the beautiful and fair wealhtheow came behind the bar and surprised me with a hug and a sandwich! I was happy with the random hug from a new friend, but the sandwich was wonderful. I had not eaten lunch on Friday so I was very grateful. She put a huge smile on my face.

I munched on the sandwich while listening to the OASIS talk. This technology is a locality-aware server-selection resolver, which is pretty good for distributing servers around the world and finding the fastest one. They implement this as a DNS redirector so that lookups are transparent to normal Internet software. This made me feel a little bad for holdenk, whose SelfDirectedProject happens to be on a very similar topic. It does, however, validate his approach.

maradydd's presentation about Query by Example was up next. She did a very good introduction to data-mining, which segued into her hack on PostgreSQL where you can specify examples of things you want to search for. That is not how SQL normally works, where you specify constraints. With QBE, you just specify things similiar to what you want, and things similar to what you don't want.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

I was chatting with Rob Pascual when I noticed Len lining up in the Q&A queue. Suddenly, my ears perked up as I sensed something important was going to happen. So I pulled out my camera, stepped on some toes, and got into position. When it was his turn at the microphone, he started saying random stuff that wasn't question at all! Something cheesy like how Meredith had changed his life and how he wanted to be with her. Then he got up on stage and asked The Question.

It was beautiful. The audience broke out into cheers and applause, except for the heartless bastards beside me. But who cares about them? This was such an awesome occurance that an interview was taped.

After teardown, some people were going to head to a franchise Mexican restaurant. Spider insisted that I get real food, so we walked down to the Mission. We made a detour to Good Vibrations which is a San Francisco landmark if ever there was one. I swear that she's trying to corrupt me. Anyway, as we were walking out, I must have mentioned that I was from Canada. Because Cohen, a Torontonian, came out of nowhere and introduced himself to us.

Well, what was I to do but to invite my fellow countryman to dinner? So we set off to find a Taqueria that served nopales. This failed since Californians don't seem to like eating cactus. Instead, we went to Pancho Villa where I ate enchiladas and salsa verde and guacamole and churros and I was so very happy!

We bid farewell to Cohen after exchanging contact information and tried to find everyone else. Unfortunately, we couldn't reach anyone by cellphone, so we sat around dejected for a while. Then we realised that we could go to Annie's Social Club where an event was happening. This turned out to be a good and a bad idea.

Originally uploaded by sfllaw.

It was a good idea because we found everyone at CodeCon. It was a bad idea because Annie's Social Club double-booked us with bad karaoke! And then were quite rude when we complained. And then kicked out John Gilmore. So I just want to say that Annie's Social Club hates geeks and freedom. So Len hailed a black stretch limousine, we all climbed into it, invited some reporters along and moved the entire party to the XYZ bar.

The XYZ staff were very awesome, accommodating an extra hundred patrons and getting an extra bartender. And they were very nice about it. Unfortunately, the bar was full, so I had to lead a bunch of introverts in the fine art of taking over an establishment. We walked in, started talking, I encouraged people to sit down in empty spots on the couches. They did a very admirable job of taking over the back.

I got the stunningly adorable akashayi a seat and a drink, before I taked to the people sitting with us. They were a couple who had moved from Florida to San Francisco, and a man from New York who was quite the boor. The man in the couple knew the New Yorker and seemed quite embarassed about him. After twenty minutes of conversation, they excused themselves and bid us good night. This gave us plenty of seating space to talk about geeky things until the manager kindly kicked us out.

I made sure Akasha got safely to her hostel and then took a taxi back to the guest room. It was quite the challenge to direct the cab driver, since I had lost the directions back, but I managed!


( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
23rd Feb, 2006 09:40 (UTC)
oh yeah! thanks! I'm not even sure how we got back to the hostel[too much to drink?], but I really appreciate that.
23rd Feb, 2006 13:30 (UTC)
You're most welcome!

You may recall us hailing a Yellow cab, whose driver drove very aggressively, didn't know where Isadora Duncan was, and became rather upset when I tried to pay him.
23rd Feb, 2006 16:47 (UTC)
Then come to Debconf!
I see you are to
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I see you are to <a href="http://www.debconf.org/comas/participants>still not registered to come to Debconf</a> - Why? Just do yourself a favor and <a href="http://www.debconf.org/comas/attendees/new">register</a>. At the very least, I assure you you will taste good <i>nopales</i> (not <i>Nápoles</i>, a city in Italy... Naple? Naples?)
23rd Feb, 2006 17:14 (UTC)
Re: Then come to Debconf!
Ha ha!

I was planning to, you know.

But one has to make sure that one can get away for a week.
23rd Feb, 2006 18:13 (UTC)
It's hard not to be corrupted when visiting Castro/Mission District - places I'm happy to visit relatively frequently since the company headquarters are across the Bay in Alameda. The question is whether there's someone there that you'd like to corrupt you. :) My usual approach is to take the bus from Alameda across to the SF Transit Depot and then walk around town, or take the BART or MUNI on to other areas. I miss living within walking distance of public transport.
23rd Feb, 2006 19:30 (UTC)
Now why would you think thjat innocent little me would want to get corrupted by somebody?
23rd Feb, 2006 20:07 (UTC)
QBE in SQL is an interesting idea although I wonder what impact that would have on the query optimiser. PostgreSQL's isn't that smart, so probably not a big one.
23rd Feb, 2006 20:08 (UTC)
Whoops, didn't log in for that comment.
23rd Feb, 2006 20:09 (UTC)
You may just want to ask the developer yourself?
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )