journal for 2003-07-07

oscon: day the first


I woke up pretty early, which was OK. It gave me time to get clean, wake up, check my mail, and get some breakfast.

Unfortunately, breakfast was not to be had. The hotel doesn’t offer a free breakfast. I think that’s pretty lame. Even worse, the breakfast they do offer is pretty badly priced. The “All American” or something like that, which consists of eggs, meat, and toast, is like eight dollars. Sure, they deliver it to your room, but still! There’s a coffee and bagel bar in the lobby, but it didn’t look too impressive.

I decided to head out to the Plaza Deli (I think that’s the name) but they were closed. Their hours were posted: open at 0700. It was 0710 when I was there, and there were no signs of life. Suck!

I decided to skip breakfast.

making programs faster

This tutorial was given by Mark-Jason Dominus, aka MJD. It was good, although I felt like it was a small amount of material for the length of time. A lot of his time was spent driving home points he’d already made. I guess this was good for the slower people who didn’t understand common sense things.

Actually, most of what MJD had to say was common sense. That’s OK, because he largely said it all well. Also, he touched on a few very interesting things, including the Perl profiling stuff. The Devel modules (DProf, especially) looked really useful, as did the ability to write my own Devel modules. Now I really need to write some pseudo-CGI test harnesses. Arrgh!

Sadly, MJD’s slides aren’t available to download. I don’t want to have to take any packets home with me, so I’m going to try to rip out the useful pages. Otherwise I won’t fit everything back into my carry-on!

In the middle of the tutorial, we had a break. There was tea and coffee, but still no food. This hotel is OK, but where’s the grub? At this point, I still hadn’t eaten anything since Burger King yesterday.


Lunch came after MJD’s tutorial. I thought I’d run upstairs and dump some stuff and pick up some other stuff and then go grab a sandwich somewhere. The elevators here are really slow, and there were a lot of people waiting for them, so I thought I’d take the stairs. I’d forgotten that the stairs don’t go from the second floor (they call it the “restaurant level”) to the third floor (where my room is). I got to the second floor and waited for a long time with a few other people who’d all made the same mistake. Finally I got up to my room and decided lunch was a wash. I ate a protein bar. It was actually Just Fine. I ran back down to the Rendezvous Lounge and had some water. I plugged in, did a little chatting, got ready to go to the mod_perl2 tutorial. The network was still going up and down.

While it was up, I found that our Exchange server at home was down. Argh.

mod_perl2 by example

This talk was given by Stas Bekman, one of the Important Apache People. It was really, really content-rich and really, really boring. He just didn’t speak compellingly. I made the comment on IRC that it was like having the grad student teach the class: he knew what he was doing, but you still couldn’t learn from him.

That is a little unfair, though, because I did learn a bunch of stuff. I downloaded his slides, and I’ll review them more, later. I think the problem was just that he was hard to listen to. He mumbled, he digressed, and he corrected himself aloud when he could’ve kept quiet or gotten it right the first time. It was very frustrating, especially because he’d started the tutorial by telling us he’d be running an hour long.

At tea time, I ran into the guy I’d seen at the Phoenix airport! He said, “I remember you!” And I said, “Yeah.” And we talked briefly and then someone came by and broke out a Zendo set. Zendo is a way cool game which I must acquire. I didn’t win, although I think I was close—I had a good concept of the solution, but I was completely unable to put it into English. I actually failed to do that pretty fantastically.


After lunch, the mod_perl2, continued to be wicked boring. I killed time on IRC talking with other attendees about their toots and planning dinner. We talked ourselves up from BK to Subway to Quiznos to Chinese to some posh Japanese place called Madame Butterfly. We met after the tutorial; only two other people showed up, and we weren’t very solid on where to go. We wandered toward the lobby and I saw the guy from Phoenix (Haim) and the rest of the Zendo players and asked if they were up for some food. They were debating for quite a while before we gave up and just headed out. We finally saw Madame Butterfly, which the Zendo crew had mentioned, and decided to go there. About twenty minutes later, everyone else showed up and we formed a very long table of geeks eating Japanese food. Everybody was pretty cool. We took our time, enjoyed our food, and talked about stuff. It was good.

After dinner, a lot of the guys went to someone’s house (Clint’s?) and watched MST3K. It was tempting, but I wanted to get home and do some work. Instead, I got some sleep. I need (need!) to work on my SwashComp game.

Written on July 7, 2003