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John Fitzpatrick

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E-Tech day one [Mar. 9th, 2009|10:07 pm]
John Fitzpatrick
[Current Location |Santa Clara, CA]
[mood |impressedimpressed]

I'm attending the O'Reilly "Emerging Technologies" conference. The is a good con, at least for me and the several hundred others here.

Today I sat in on several sessions. First was a session on the human mind, and how the brain processes information. The speaker was Andy Hunt, one of the authors of "The Pragmatic Programmer", a well-respected text.

The next session was on small wireless units for small computers. (By 'small', I mean "stick of gum" size.) Not quite as fun as the first session.

At lunch I went over to the SD conference, which is also running this week. I saw Robert Martin speak on Extreme Programming. (I paid to attend e-tech and got the free expo pass for the SDEXPO show. The lunchtime session was open to all expo attendees.)

After lunch I headed back to e-tech and heard a presentation on maps and open source data and tools for maps. The data and tools have gotten rather good, and you can do a lot with combining data and presenting overlaid ideas.

In the evening Tim O'Reilly spoke about working on something that matters.By "something" did not mean non-profit work; he simply meant something that matters to you. One idea:

What fights us is large
What we choose to fight is small
Our victories against small things makes us small

This was similar to a notion from a book that a fellow passenger was reading:

Failing to achieve a goal is not a failure
Failing to make the attempt is the failure

I've relied on memory for those notions, and while I have mangled the quotes, I think the essence is correct.

E-tech ended its first day with an 'ignite' session, in which the speakers have 15 slides and 5 minutes to present. The coolest of the ideas was a personal satellite. They cost 30K now, but computers were expensive once. Now the small hand-held N800 unit I am using for this entry costs $200, yet it has more poweer than big mainframes of the 1960s. What would you do with a personal satellite?

And that was just the first day.