[Edu-sig] Pretalk talking points (P4E)

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Thu Jul 26 21:22:14 CEST 2007

In the spirit of open sourcing stuff, I'm jotting some last minute
thoughts for my talk, which I'll print out and have with me at
the podium, probably with annotations, other markup.

I'm recalling Novell's Miguel (de Icaza) showing off the rotating
cube of desktop motifs in earlier OSCONs, the applause.  But
now that it's a reality on my Ubuntu Dell, geeks seem hesitant
to revel in eye candy (I've seen no rotating cube in any
presentation so far -- were they big last year?).  Either it's ho
hum or let's leave it to OS X to pioneer "trendy" (as in iPhone
or whatever).  Not sure what it is.

Anyway, I don't take that slant.

I'm planning to be Bold with Beryl (r.c. 0.4.2 or something).

In the context of this morning's keynotes, my presentation is
somewhat about branding, less so about Python (kwel logo)
and more so about me and my 4D meme, which I've used
as a prefix for the two subsidiaries:  Solutions and Studios.

My logo appears on the top and bottom facets of the Beryl
cube, as well as @ myspace.com/4dstudios.

So on each facet (4 of them, top and bottom not counted),
I'll have a different show and tell item.  Screen 0 = slides,
which anchor my narrative.  Screen 1 = IDLE, from whence
I might sneak a peek at the source and/or run some short
demos.  Screen 2 = VLC paused in Code Guardian, to help
with my slides about Real Time versus Render Time output.
Screen 3 (last but not least):  Firefox, with a bunch of pages
preopened in tabs.

The context:  we're already over the hump with the open source
languages, even some some closed ones, regarding their
relevance to "cave painting" in an educational context.
I explain what that means using several illustrative slides.

The Python stuff that I pander has everything to do with my
vision for the local economy.  We're a ToonTown in the making,
since long before I got here, and BioTech is another big win,
along the existing chip fabs, OSDL, other big players.

Clients for "toons" include these technology companies, NGOs,
other institutions and think tanks (e.g. wwwanderers.org).

I'm not just talking about Roger Rabbit here.  I'm talking about
hemoglobin, geospatial simulations, all the "professional adult
cartoons" we call "visualizations" and read Tufte regarding.

So that explains also my very biological approach, of proteins,
biota, animals (or other similar scale) for expressions, functions,
class types.  Modules = Ecosystems.  Snakes have __ribs__.

We're big on biology (OHSU etc.).

Then comes the long digression into string.Template, which
has to do with Office Automation.  The initial big application of
PCs was word processing (their first "killer" role -- witness death
of the typewriter, probably calculators next).  And the big
application of word processing, abetted by spreadsheet and
database,  was the "mail merge."

When it comes to kids, they like Mad Libs.  Let's start there
and roll forward through a some examples of boilerplate
"view languages": POV-Ray's SDL, Vpython's API, and X3D.
Tie in the "mail merge" idea and use that to motivate a
discussion of back end databases, with Venn Diagrams
tying to MySQL.

In sum: "template" remains an important abstraction, is the
same "boilerplate" that used to come from lawyers more than
from today's coders.  Boilerplate shapes the View while the
database (Model) keeps the raw vital records.  Thirdly, some
Controller (WordPerfect?) mediates between them, giving us
form letters, address labels, or GUI views on a screen
(perhaps with write access back to the Model).

Smattered in between:  more bio about me, cuz it's my company
that I'm branding.

The success of IDLE in spreading Python to a vast base of
Windows users was a shot heard 'round the world, still with
echoing repercussions (mostly good ones).

That's about it.  the Saturday Academy brand (going on 24
years) gets some air time, my HP4E and the whole business
about Geography (my segue to/from Polyhedra, as "Platonic
planets") now much amplified as a result of this convention
(glad to see my intuitions were on target).

We'll just fade out at the philosophy part, as that's where
my "keep Portland weird" background paper picks up (the one
I wrote for the Lithuania presentation), and which is more of
a formal paper (with endnotes and everything), less a slide
show, much less a "switching desktops" screencast.

I'll post more about how it all went later sometime.  Or watch
my blogs (RSS feeds available).


PS:  I do confess to collecting "positive collateral" regarding
snake iconography.  An obvious example:  the caduceus,
used as a trademark by Physicians and others of the medical
persuasion.  We think of them as healers.

Also: positive links to Dragonology, but more about that in
some other venue.  We don't want edu-sig to get sucked into
my HP4E too deeply ("HP wuh? Harry Potter for everyone?")
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