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.
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
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
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
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
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