[Edu-sig] decompressing from OS Bridge

kirby urner kirby.urner at gmail.com
Mon Jun 22 03:59:31 CEST 2009

Greetings edu-siggers --

I'm still decompressing from an intensive 3-day OS Bridge conference
here in Portland, Oregon.  Having a purely Portland management and
local focus made this a rather different experience, a small gem actually,
well run and cram packed with interesting talent and talks, from a
cyborg anthropologist to a typography expert.  We're attracting more
social science and artist types, musicians, clowns (professional) who
explain the web in easy geek (thinking of Keroes).

My own talk hit most of my usual themes, filling in details regarding
my work crewing with "buckaneers" as well as around marketing new
kinds of geometry teaching (showed off the usual hypertoon, Scott
Daniels actually in the same building this time -- he did the decorators).

Re: me 'n farmer David:

Lots of overlap with our Institute for Science, Engineering and Public
Policy (e.g. the keynote speaker had been with us earlier -- she really
gets around it seems to me (hi Amber)).  ISEPP was not a sponsor
though, and I was representing 4D Studios, which is a DWA thing
(DWA and ISEPP are completely distinct).  I represented ISEPP at
Pycon (brought Josh Cronemeyer to Pauling House for a look see
-- having missed him in Chicago (another geek with some Quaker

Here's a blog post with links to the slides.  Apologies in advance for
the large file size (6 megs), but in making this a retrospective in some
ways, I got into screen scraping at the pixel level, meaning we're often
looking at fully stored bitmaps even where type fonts are concerned
(no vector graphics).

Turnout was low (lots of empty chairs) but it's quality not quantity.
I had a professor from Linnfield College who'd been to my OSCON
talk years ago.  He came right up to me and said that as a result
of that talk he'd gone straight back and started wheels turning,
getting Python accepted.  Now they're moving more physics to
VPython, like some other schools we know about.  This is all
gratifying to hear, sounds like we're a lot on the same wavelength,
whether or not we actually get to meet all that often (the years
fly by eh?).

As I noted to my lobbyist friend (Software Association of Oregon):

PS:  the low turnout was not a surprise, is somewhat par for the
course in a geek conference averaging age 35, no one there a high
school math teacher by training or future intent.  I've been in rooms
just like it with just as few, but once it was both Guido (BDFL) and
Robin Dunn (wxPython), and this time I had you and
ThoughtWorks/Chicago, plus there're the recordings and prestige, so
lets just say I was not dissatisfied.  What packs 'em in is when its
directly about their career, so in a conference for math teachers
needing computer language skills, you'd expect a tight fit, sometimes
people on the floor (rolling?).  ROFL.

Plone was a presence.  Canada is near.

I'll blab some more as time goes on.  Got a note that Paul is
dropping off though continues tracking through various blogs
and/or wikis.  I invited him to rejoin and requit as many times
as he likes (not that I'm listowner or anything -- that'd be
Mr. Wilson or Andre or Dr. Pepper maybe).

Cronemeyer's talk was Google App Engine related, as you'll find
my blog post 'Winding Down' with his picture.


Wave to Jeff Elkner, been yakking about you behind your
back (all good).

Not sure exactly how it works, but I think when Portland does its
own FOSS conference, the dynamics with Microsoft are different.
Redmond is part of the same bioregion.  Their queen of open source
made a big splash plus Python has generally been Windows
friendly, given how tremendously successful her code base in this
platform, now with the DLR's backing.  You'd think their marketing
machine would take more interest, especially with Sara Ford at
the helm.


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