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Posted by jive on October 24, 2006 at 9:04 PM PDT


OOPSLA As a wack to the side of the head

The only real reason to attend a mad scene like OOPSLA is for that wack
to the side of the head that shakes lose some of your preconceptions,
and hopefully allows you some room for those ideas that seem to
gravitate to such occasions.

Here was the advice given at the start of the day:

  • three new acquaintances
  • gain an in site, lose a preconception
  • explore the next big thing

We will see how well I do.

But First

Lets get a few things out of the way:

  • Most Improved Player Award - Microsoft Cooperation had a
    showing at OOPSLA 2004 where they misread their audience, this year
    they are taking care of the student volunteers who make the event a
    success. I tracked down at least one of their representatives
    personally, way to go guys.
  • Most Impressive Use of Multimedia - Ron and Richard
    presented an
    amazing production of multi media tag team stage craft along the
    subject of "Conscientious Software" with references to Eric Clapton and
    Micro-Biology feedback systems. Fun stuff.
  • Cool - The KeyNote bringing together a feedback from poetry
    and expression  to the massively multiplayer experience. And
    heck 1/f pink noise was around in the form of water and wind chimes to
    close the gap with music as an expression of nature.

So with all that out of the way what the heck can I possible
communicate about OOPSLA?  Well for one this creative lot puts
on a  fine show. It is almost like they communicate ideas for
a living.

New Acquaintances

Well I did find one interesting spatial application here at OOPSLA, and
me the author: Mr. Steffen Schaefer. Here is a link to href="">A
Sensor Network Solution for reliable and more secure Container Shipments.

I was also amused during href="">The
Ultra Challenge: Software Beyond Big to find a Mr. Gregor
Kiczales using GeoSpatial emergency response as one of these impossibly
hard problems, citing "24" as the gold standard by which success could
be measured (a show lasts 55 minuets can you create an operational

Many of the scalability questions are relevant to the ongoing catalog
debates raging in the Geospatial community right now.  I will
cite a couple of  reason why we have a chance of success where
other fields such as health care are rather doomed.  By
definition our user community thinks in terms of FeatureTypes (every
map has a key to guide the reader in interpretation), and we have the
wonderful escape of "integration by eyeball" (so information from
different sources can appear on the same map regardless).

I did love the panel and previous keynote on the subject as both
Software Engineering and the Agile approaches break down under SCALE.
 Always great to find another way to look at things.

Lose a Preconception

The Onward! href="">The
Geography of Programming was a fun insight other ways of
looking at things. This time it was based on cultural differences.
 A fascinating break down of a picture (that apparently has
historical object oriented significant as a teach aid), where the
cultural interpretation ranged from horrified at the disharmony
presented, to a fascinating interplay and insight into the motivation
of the actors present.

Here was the part that stuck in my mind as being just on the edge of my
awareness was the following subtle insights offering by the following:

  1. Natural Resting State - or the concept of "Harmony". The is
    an under current of "fear" present in a lot of the talks and material -
    how can stability be achieved?  Suggestions buffet from all
    sides, several talks searching to nature. A goal of 60% test coverage
    looks rather sad, if you are comparing against nature where QA
    functions seem to account for more of the material for life then actual
    function. The Ultra people tend to agree as they consider failure as
    always part of the system, and change as a continual aspect of the
  2. Group Action - a local resonance where a bunch of objects
    respond to the same stimulus. This is slightly different then the
    emergent behavior, or the web 2.0 quest to turn mob behavior into
    money.  The picture example was a table of party goers
    pointing to their cake at the other end of the picture, or a group of
    gossips laughing at a man who was unable to pay his bill (both of which
    I missed on first inspection)
  3. Object and Field - and this is the nice one for me. By
    paying attention to the whole, the system rather then the parts becomes
    visible. If I break into a discussion of negative space or something
    you can blame a multi media high.

Just as a parting note, at FOSS4G (and recently on the OSGeo email
list) it is becoming more and more apparent that Korea is where the
action is for open source Geospatial cell phone and sensor fun. Now it
could be they have less geography then say Canada (allows production of
new cell phone network generations rather quickly), but I also suspect
that the outlooks mentioned above will assist those cooperating on
messy network based collaborative efforts.

So will your next language be English based? I find UML diagram in
Kanji hard, but darn if Ruby is not a good time.

Explore The Next Big Thing

Well the Ultra Large Systems do qualify as the next BIG thing (because
SCALE changes everything). But so far this seems to be a mess of
questions with little answers.

So what is the next big thing? Patterns (by definition you have seen
this already), Agile (now proved and boring), Aspects (reduced to the
pragmatic by Spring).

Good thing I have a couple more days to keep my ears open.

Design Patterns Reception and Panel

In the words of John (who will be missed) the challenge of
software development is all about  "People, People, People".
As a great instigator John is missed by the community.

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