It's been a while...

Posted by Piers Cawley on Aug 8, 2004

Mmm… Eurofoo. At what other technical conference could you spend an afternoon in an improvised comedy workshop, marvel at the bandwidth of five guys from Fotango toting a terabyte from London to Amsterdam in 45 minutes, gasp at the audacity of the BBC’s Creative Archive project and rave about a favourite tech book before discovering that said book’s editor is sat next to you?

EuroFoo was the European iteration of the Friends Of O’Reilly Camp first held at the O’Reilly offices in Sebastapol last year and jolly good fun it was too. On the evidence of this conference there’s a good deal to be said for getting a bunch of smart people into a conference centre and divvying up the program on the first night. The improvised comedy workshop got on the program because, as we went round the room introducing ourselves a couple of people mentioned that they did improv and a bunch of us yelled out for a session. I missed them, but everyone who went to the lockpicking session really enjoyed them (and, owing to a slight cockup with a car key, a Guildford Perl Monger’s pocket and the train to Schipol. Well, let’s just say that the acquired skills came in handy – last I heard they were stalled at the steering lock).

As anyone who’s read almost anything I’ve written about the practice of programming in these pages knows, I’m rather keen on the underlying idea of deciding things as late as possible; many of the talks had a freshness to them that I don’t think you’d get at a conference where talk proposals got submitted 3 or 4 months earlier. Also, because there were all of 140 or so delegates, the bar track was rather more laid back; when I went to OSCON last year, the choice seemed to be between running around like a blue arsed fly trying to network with all and sundry all the time, or to form up into a relatively small circle of acquaintance and just hang out with those guys. I ended up playing a good deal of Zendo, and had a few games of Go with Holger Krekel, who, at 3 dan is a good deal stronger than me and trounced me in all three games, but who taught me a good deal in the process. Thanks Holger.

Oh yeah, and Python and PHP types aren’t evil. Who’d’ve thought it?

This is probably my last Just a Summary post before I begin the slow morph into a teacher; if I can work out how to continue blogging my teaching experiences here without compromising anyone’s privacy I hope that those of you who are still looking in on this blog despite the ongoing lack of posts for the last n months will enjoy reading them as much as you’ve enjoyed my wibbling about programming.