A few notes about OSCON:
It was a good conference -- lots of good speakers, interesting topics and interesting people. Best talks: anything by Paul Fenwick, anything by Damian Conway.
The Arduino tutorial was fun too. It's a little embedded processor with a breadboard and sockets to control arbitrary electronic devices, all programmed over a USB plug using a Java app. I'm not a hardware person at all (what do those resistor color codes mean again?) but even I, even after coming in late, managed to catch up and build the basic circuits they demonstrated, including programming them with my laptop. Very cool! I'm looking forward to playing more with the Arduino when I get a spare few moments.
The conference's wi-fi network was slow and sometimes flaky (what else is new?) but they had a nice touch I haven't seen at any other conference: Wired connections, lots of them, on tables and sofas scattered around the lounge area (and more in rooms like the speakers' lounge). The wired net was very fast and very reliable. I'm always surprised I don't see more wired connections at hotels and conferences, and it sure came in handy at OSCON.
The AV staff was great, very professional and helpful. I was speaking first thing Monday morning (ulp!) so I wanted to check the room Sunday night and make sure my laptop could talk to the projector and so forth. Everything worked fine.
Portland is a nice place to hold a convention -- the light rail is great, the convention center is very accessible, and street parking isn't bad either if you have a car there.
Dave went with me, so it made more sense for us to drive. The drive was interesting because the central valley was so thick with smoke from all the fires (including the terrible Paradise fire that burned for so long, plus a new one that had just started up near Yosemite) that we couldn't see Mt Shasta when driving right by it. It didn't get any better until just outside of Sacramento. It must have been tough for Sacramento valley residents, living in that for weeks! I hope they've gotten cleared out now.
I finally saw that Redding Sundial bridge I've been hearing so much
about. We got there just before sunset, so we didn't get to check the
sundial, but we did get an impressive deep red smoky sun vanishing
into the gloom.
[ 23:00 Aug 04, 2008 More conferences | permalink to this entry | ]