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cwest (1514)

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Perl geek.

Journal of cwest (1514)

Wednesday September 22, 2004
10:00 AM

Whirlwind Week

[ #21002 ]

Last weekend I had the pleasure of attending Foo Camp at O'Reilly's California campus. It was an exciting trip. I met a lot of people I already knew, and many more that I didn't.

Foo Details

I'm going to try to recall important facts and figures (people) the best I can. There were two sessions I ran at Foo. The first was "Web Services War Stories." I had folks from Google, eBay, PayPal,, and Amazon at my disposal and I was curious about how they felt about web services. Generally, the session ran like an AA meeting for people having to deal with SOAP.

By-and-large, everyone agreed that while SOAP is a huge pain to deal with, it's a necessary evil if you have any kind of corporate interest. There also appear to be hard issues in the areas of security, authentication being at the top of the list. Finally, much to my dismay, .NET and Java are important considerations if you have business-level interest in your web services.

Meng Wong and I tried to run a session on designing the next generation email system. That didn't work so well. We had some disruptive students in the class and, unlike I knew I should have, I didn't feel like settling them down. Due to this I don't have anything interesting to report here.

On the way back to the airport I gave Meng and James Duncan a ride into San Francisco. We stopped for a wonderful dinner and some relaxing conversation. It was the highlight of the trip, to sit and relax, and converse with interesting folks. Now that I think of it, that was the large part of Foo Camp.

After Dinner I left these folks and got on a plane for Pittsburgh.

Rest Time

Now here comes the interesting part. I was in the process of securing plane tickets to head off to YAPC-EU in Belfast, which I expected would come through for a flight on Tuesday. It was Monday at this point. When I finally got home I got the details of my flight. I was leaving in three hours.

So, after an extended layover in Pittsburgh I made my way to the airport to catch a flight to London. Oddly, as I'm waiting to board the plane Mr Duncan comes walking down the hall. You just can't get rid of some people. I had left him in SFO, he had a later flight out of there, and we were once again together and flying to London. Neither of us expected that. :-)


In Belfast it was known that I was coming without much expendable income. Marty and Karen gave me a room in their lovely house, and an air mattress, so I had shelter. The many kind YAPC attendees helped me through the week with food and drink, sometimes too much of either. But it turned out just fine.

I didn't go to any talks, except for the ones I was either giving or organizing. I accepted my fate of assimilation into the organizational staff. I helped get the wireless network running, I carried things, and I organized a couple of "free form" sessions titled "Essential CPAN Modules" and "Life Hacks."

An interesting bit on the Life Hacks was that I tried to organize a live webcast of James Duncan talking about some utilities he'd written to make his life easier. This almost worked. Every solution we tried required too much bandwidth because, well, the folks in the audience were likely upgrading their Debian installs while listening. We resolved to an audio cast and me controlling an editor. It worked well enough, but we'll go for something better at a later time. I've got some ideas.

Saturday was a very fun day. Marty, Tony, Karen and I toured the north east coast of Ireland. It's amazingly beautiful. We could see Scotland across the Irish Sea, which means the weather was in our favor. At one point we were rained on pretty good, but that just created more beauty, a double rainbow over the sea.

Back Home

So now I'm back home. In three weeks I'm off to Venice to board the Geek Cruise, a trio of Perl, MySQL, and Linux. I'm looking forward to that trip as well.

Maybe I'll even get back into the habit of writing in this Journal. Speaking of random details, how do you like the autumn colors?

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