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acme (189)

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Leon Brocard (aka acme) is an orange-loving Perl eurohacker with many varied contributions to the Perl community, including the GraphViz module on the CPAN. YAPC::Europe was all his fault. He is still looking for a Perl Monger group he can start which begins with the letter 'D'.

Journal of acme (189)

Friday March 14, 2003
10:05 AM

Technical meet

[ #11033 ]
It's coming up to conference season and technical meetings are ramping up to cope with the number of people wanting to practice talks. Yesterday those friendly people at Yahoo! hosted a tech meet that was slightly different from normal: much less Perl.

Aside: I've been discussing with Nicholas Clark what we think makes an interesting talk. The conclusion we've reached is that it's not really about technical content. A good story is much more important. What problem did you have? How did you try to solve it? What problems did you have on the way? etc.

Bill, a technical Yahoo!, gave a presentation on Y::Notifier. This is a "network transparent, message passing architecture for IPC based on a publish/subscribe model" that they use in the publishing frameworks. It seemed to be quite a nice implementation, although there were some strange features. For example, every server talked to every server, which I imagine wouldn't scale to large number of servers or widely-distributed servers. It had some similarities to Jabber, but I wonder why he didn't use Spread instead. Unfortunately he got a little stage fright, but the details were interesting.

Celia presented a talk on "Soap operas and the semantic web", which showed FOAF modelling of characters, locations, and plots. The talk was well structured and Celia was a very comfortable speaker.

Ivor introduced us to VCS::Lite, a kind of minimal version control system. It was a lightning talk and I initially worried that he had too much material but Ivor carried it off very well.

Matt and Jo organised a double-bill, introducing us to RDF and the semantic web and an application: collaboratively mapping london (in space with gps, location reviews and more). To be honest, RDF scares me, but these talks were a nice introduction and a wonderful application. If only mapping data could be free...

Nigel gave us a great talk on introduction to intellectual property. We've been arguing about this onlist without much knowledge, so it's great to have the facts. Even more so if they're presented in an amusing way.

Nik introduced us to AxKit::App::Gallery, where he reinvented the wheel somewhat to end up with a slightly angle-bracketedy-shaped wheel. He was a great speaker and used Keynote and Clicker to great effect, although sometimes the transitions were a little annoying. It seemed like he had fun learning AxKit, but I'm not sure having a six-stage XML pipeline is really necessary for a simple image gallery application (of course, it depends how much architecture you like having around to help you).

Finally, Schwern told us why MakeMaker was DOOMED! He had by far the funniest pictures, and I think he's convinced to have a look at Module::Build.

It was a wonderful technical meeting. A wide range of speakers and topics, all interesting. The conversation in the pub varied from Perl 1 to CPANTS. More on these some other time ;-)

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