TITLE: StrangeLoop 9: This and That
AUTHOR: Eugene Wallingford
DATE: October 01, 2012 7:40 AM
Every conference leaves me with unattached ideas floating around
after I write up all my entries. StrangeLoop was no different.
Were I master of Twitter, one who live-posted throughout the
conference, many of this might have been masterful tweets.
Instead, they are bullets in a truly miscellaneous blog entry.
The conference was at
the Peabody Opera House
(right), an 80-year-old landmark in downtown St. Louis. It shares
a large city block with the ScottTrade Center, home of the NHL
Blues, and a large parking garage ideally positioned for a
conference goer staying elsewhere. The main hall was perfect for
plenary sessions, and four side rooms fit the parallel talks
When I arrived at 8:30 AM on Monday, the morning refreshment table
contained, in addition to the perfunctory coffee, Diet Mountain Dew
in handy 12-ounce bottles. Soda was available all day. This made
Sadly, the kitchen ran out of Diet Dew before Tuesday morning. Such
is life. I still applaud the conference for meeting the preferences
of its non-coffee drinkers.
the Akka talk,
I saw some code on a slide that made me mutter
under my breath. That made me chuckle.
"Man, there are a lot of Macs and iPads in this room."
-- me, at every conference session
On Monday, I saw
across the room in his
Manfred von Thun
jersey. I bow to you, sir. Joy is one of my favorites.
@fogus's jersey tweet,
I actually ordered
one for myself.
Unfortunately, it didn't arrive in time for the conference.
A nice coincidence:
spent most of his career at Stanford, whose mascot is...
the Cardinal. (The color, not the bird.)
Matthew Flatt's talk,
I couldn't help but think Alan Kay would be proud. This is
programming taken to the extreme. Kay always said that
Smalltalk didn't need an operating system; just hook those
primitives directly to the underlying metal. Racket might
be able to serve as its own OS, too.
I skipped a few talks. During lunch each day, I went outside
to walk. That's good for my knee as well as my head. Then I
skipped one talk that I wanted to see at the end of each day,
so that I could hit the exercise bike and pool. The web will
surely provide me reports of both (
The Database as a Value
). Sometimes, fresh air and exercise are worth the sacrifice.
I turned my laptop off for the last two talks of the conference
that I attended. I don't think that the result was being able to
think more or better, but I definitely did thought differently.
Global connections seemed to surface more quickly, whereas
typing notes seemed to keep me focused on local connections.
Wednesday morning, as I hit the road for home, I ran into rush hour
traffic driving toward downtown St. Louis. It took us 41 minutes to
travel 12 miles. Love St. Louis and this conference as much as I do,
I was glad to be heading home to a less crowded place.
Even though I took walks at lunch, I was able to sneak into the lunch
on Plato (OOP) and Aristotle (FP) brought a wistful smile. I spent a
couple of years in grad school
for our lab's approach to knowledge-based systems from the pragmatists,
in contrast to the traditional logical views of much of the AI world.
That talk contained two of my favorite sentences from the conference:
Computer scientists are applied metaphysicists.
We have the most exciting job in the history of philosophy.
Indeed. We can encode, implement, and experiment with every model of
the world we create. It is good to be the king.
This seems like a nice way to close my StrangeLoop posts for now.
Now, back to work.