TITLE: OOPSLA This and That 4: Inside Stories AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford DATE: November 02, 2005 12:28 PM DESC: Not all of the real value of a conference happens in the content time. And now we can all see behind the curtain via the bloggers. ----- BODY: I'm finally breaking away from the work that stacked up while I was at OOPSLA and so took the luxury of catching up on some blog reading. Some of that reading turned to OOPSLA itself! Thanks to Brian Foote for his compliment on my OOSPLA posts. I'd never thought to characterize my conference reporting style as "play by play", but Brian, as usual, turns the apt phrase. I am please to play this role. If only I can manage to be the Bob Costas of conference reporting, I'll be proud. Of course. I'll be on the look-out for solid color commentators to complement my work. Though I'm not in his league, Martin Fowler can do my color commentary any time. Martin wrote a nice summary of OOPSLA, with much pithier summaries of several key ideas than my fuller-featured posts managed. One of the great things about blogs as a medium these days is that we all get a chance to see conferences from many different points of view, including the points of view of Big Names in the field. If you missed the conference, these reports are irreplaceable, but they also offer something special to those of us who attended -- they enrich our own experiences. In Martin's summary, I found the pointer to Brian Foote's post mentioned above, which also contains the full text of his introduction for Martin's invited talk. Apparently, Brian himself was not allowed to deliver the address, so Ralph Johnson read it. Ralph did a nice job trimming the text down, and he delivered his lines credibly. But now you can read the unabridged version for yourself! And now from the "Watching the Sausage Being Made" department... I can tell you that such introductions are often post-modern works of art, assembled from ideas bantered across a table crammed with pastries, coffee cups, laptop computers, power cords, and power strips. Ubiquitous internet access and Google have opened this process to the full world of pastiche. I especially enjoyed playing an ever-so-small part in James Noble's creation of his introduction to Mary Beth Rosson's talk. Here's the story. Mary Beth chaired OOPSLA the year it was in Minneapolis. Now, Minneapolis was home to iconic American television character Mary Richards, a spunky, optimistic go-getter. Apparently Dick Gabriel riffed on the similarity between the Mary Tyler Moore character and Mary Beth's own cheerful disposition. He coached Mary Beth on how to make MTM's signature cap toss from the TV show's opening theme, figuring she could do it as she took the stage for the grand opening of the conference. I wasn't there, but from what I can gather Mary Beth never quite mastered the cap toss in the time available. It occurs to me now that I don't know if she tried the toss after all or not! Back to OOPSLA 2005... As James contemplated out loud his introduction for Mary Beth's talk later that morning, someone suggested an inside joke to play off the Minneapolis experience. Ultimately, this lead to James wanting to incorporate the lyrics of the theme song into his intro. During the conversation, I was at my iBook, eavesdropping while checking e-mail. I quickly found the lyrics on-line and passed them on to James, who made them his own in a fine theatric reading. I was happy just to help. And I hope Mary Beth can forgive me. :-) -----