oscon: day 2

The opening talk about Processing was really cool. On Sunday, I’d talked with Schwern and Tom Limoncelli about women’s participation in computer science. Schwern mentioned some neat visual programming environments. I think that Processing seemed like something in that direction. I want to play with it!

The overcoming bias talk was pretty boring. The idea was good, but Robert Hanson didn’t really have the crowd with him. He said one thing that stuck out in my notes: “Private advantage but at a social cost”. It was nice that he spoke before the Microsoft guy.

So microsoft is launching an opensource portal/marketing site. Nat’s questions about where microsoft was going with it’s litigation really put him on the spot, and the guy didn’t give a real answer.

The Pirat Partiet guy was awesome! Rick Falkvinge started the Pirate party in sweden to encourage copyright reform. They’re going for 4% of voters in 2009 (i think!). Campaign contributions are unregulated in Sweden, so you can donate here.

Steve Yegge spoke last about branding. Then the keynote sessions were done!
I saw Amy Hoy’s When Interface Design Attacks talk. A great distillation of a lot of UX material. I learned a new word: satisfice. It’s what a user does when they can’t do what they really want to do – use the next best thing or give up.

After that, I went to the Mahara presentation by Penny Leach. Penny is the maintainer of the postgresql port of Moodle. The idea behind Mahara to maintain ePortfolios throughout a student’s education career. For example, there’s hooks for creating a CV and creating/sending cover letters to employers. I like the idea of tracking that type of thing automatically. I learned that my husband’s high school the high school my husband teaches at uses Moodle later. Ton of functionality, seems like a great product. The talk wasn’t well attended – I wonder if fewer university/education folks came to OSCON this year. Penny mentioned mochikit as a good javascript library.

3 thoughts on oscon: day 2

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  1. Hey, Selena; it was great seeing you at OSCON again this year.

    Re:fewer university/education folks at OSCON: Actually, I was thinking the number was up this year; I hosted a BoF for Open Source in Education on Monday night and we had something like 30 people(!). It might just have been that education folks couldn’t figure out what the Mahara session was about from the description; the page was too general.

  2. Michael: Yes! Very good to see you again. Yeah, maybe that’s something to pass on to Penny. I was very surprised by the low turnout.

    Theory: *sigh* fixing…