October 23rd, 2005


Crater Lake, Mt. Shasta, Yosemite

I returned from vacation a few weeks ago. I traveled by car from Seattle to Eugene. On the next day I drove to Crater Lake (the lake itself, yes). I’d hoped to make it to Wizard Island, but went too late.

The next day was Mt. Shasta where I hiked up the Eastern flanks of the mountain. It towered above me and was quite impressive, especially since there wasn’t anybody within miles of me. I ate at the burger barn and it was mighty tasty.

The next night I met up with a friend in San Jose. We listened to some jazz on the lawn at Santana Row, played chess (I won) and had a yummy dinner at a Tapas-style Mexican food place. We then did a tour of downtown San Jose and visited the new City Hall and library. Afterwards we went bowling (I lost).

I traveled to Oakhurst and then to the Mariposa Grove in Yosemite. It was there that I decided that the National Park Service should issue a tazer along with every admission to the park so that you can taze people who try to steal the forest or jump fences.

Yosemite Valley was next. The most notable places I visited were Bridesveil Falls and Columbia Rock. BTW, the maps of Yosemite Valley are useless for hiking. On the way out of Yosemite the California Highway Patrol was fishing a car off the edge of a cliff. I have no idea how far down it was, but there were no ambulances around.

Since Devil’s Postpile was so close, I tried to go there, but they wouldn’t let cars in and instead you had to ride a bus. I didn’t really want to wait around for that so instead I settled for the Inyo Earthquake Fault, which was an impressive substitute. I stopped at the Mono Lake visitor’s center and watched a video about the lake. Turns out that water-hungry Los Angeles stole enough water from the lake to drop it by fifty feet since 1942. They’re working to bring its level back up now.

I ate dinner that night at the Burger Queen in Lakeview and stayed at the Hunter’s Hot Springs Resort which is just outside of town. There were a bunch of guys already in the pool who were doing some kind of road trip and they’d had all the lights turned off. I just sat back in the pool and watched the stars, it was the most relaxing thing I did all week.

The following day I drove to Eugene then the next day to Seattle, ending my vacation.



After RubyConf Ryan and I went to OOPSLA 2005 and had a blast. I hung out with some Smalltalkers who showed me what makes Smalltalk so different and so great. We had a Ruby BoF which was a bust, mostly Rails interest. I saw a demo on IO Language with a fairly impressive GarageBand-like application and a demo on SelfSync that allowed for transparent and dynamic updates between an EER and its model representation. I was more impressed with the SelfSync demo because of how easy it was to affect your code or EER, but that was partially the power of Self.

We also looked at a couple of posters. Koichi’s poster on YARV was a stop, of course, but we also saw some other interesting posters including the poster of SelfSync, a poster by one of her colleauges on abstracting layout from code, and a third poster about reductions in defect rates and increases in productivity for test-driven versus traditional software development.

The talk about the TeaTime architecture was utterly fascinating because it had a very different view of what an Object is compared to the development world. Objects are behavior and don’t have state. There’s also some bits about temporal stuff and how messages are sent and received and how the system is kept in sync. Messages are tightly synchronized in lockstep, but clocks are allowed a small amount of slop. TeaTime will also adjust when messages occur by measuring network latency and adjust its clock to match.

The first Film Festival had one great movie as well, and the Sussman talk was wonderful. I also watched Guy Steele’s talk about building languages from simple things from a past OOPSLA. (Incidentally, after that, I muted all the audio inputs on the mixer board and turned off the staticy TV. Then the odd artist dude was trying to figure out how to turn the audio back on and was un- and re- plugging everything trying to make it work. I eventually got up and told him that his channels were all muted, which was a mistake because he was showing video of a guy using his trackpad from very up-close with an annoyingly strange audio mix.)

We had one night at the San Diego Zoo, which included an animal show. We were an incredibly unenthusiastic audience, and when the trainer called us a bunch of “smart engineers”, everybody confusedly looked at each other. I’m not sure if it was the smart part or the engineer part that confused us.

Ryan, John Lam and I talked with a recruiter from Foundation Systems at the reptile house (and previously, Ryan and I talked with her partner after he shaded her from the sun) for some time about various things. It was quite devious, because they were two technically-minded and highly attractive females at a largely-male conference, a truly deadly combination.

After the zoo we chatted with two people from the San Diego Patterns group. They meet weekly and have homework, which is really cool. I think they said they got about 10 people to each meeting, and meet in a restaurant.

On the flight home we were lucky enough to get on an earlier flight. There were more than a few OOPSLA attendees. I was at the back of the plane in the aisle row, so I got up and stood by the bathrooms so I could stay out of the way.

Before boarding, while waiting to get called for standby I was listening to one of the flight attendant’s stories about various celebrities. While I was waiting I talked with her about various things. It turns out that she used to be a nightclub manager on Sunset in Los Angeles and decided to give it up and become a flight attendant. Now instead of dealing with overindulged celebrities she deals with medical emergencies and deaths. She said she’s been working three months and has seen(?) 2 deaths (I suppose on flights she’s been on, she didn’t say).

I also owe Ryan $137.07.


RubyConf 2005

Most importantly, my talk went very well. If Matz says writing Ruby in Ruby is a good idea, then it must be a good idea.

I got some good hacking time in with Nathaniel Talbott working on Enumerable and worked on getting RubyInline to work with the Windows one-click-installer with Daniel Berger, which hopefully he’ll have finished soon. Most of the hacking time was spent up in Evan Webb’s penthouse suite.

We hung out with some of the New York Ruby group who are working on expanding their group and gave them some hopefully useful tips. Both my presentation and Ryan’s were well done, and Ryan’s was incredibly well received with multiple occurances of spontaneous applause.

We ate twice at a lovely little Ethiopian place just a block up the street. On the way back once we were accosted (the behavior was rather confrontational ) by some Mormon missionaries.