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so at oscon they are having an oscamp -- basically an event within event.  the oscamp is an '' event -- where essentially it is an open forum...

OSCamp

a big wall and you basically put your name and topic on the wall.  so what better to do for a group of microsofties at an open source conference? 

we decided to put our name on the wall (this was about 4:30pm).  our goal (honest truth here) was to learn more about the open source community and how microsoft can do better, learn from oss, and be a better oss citizen.  can we (my team) immediately impact change?  maybe, maybe not -- but having the results of these types of conversation is essentially to determine if we can (and let the people who can influence change know as well).  so here goes...

we put our session on the board for thursday at 10:45am.  title? 'why we suck: come chat w/microsoft and tell us'

well before i could finish putting the tape up on the board, someone *immediately* saw it and started engaging us in a conversation.

his name was (sorry for any misspelling, i assumed short for jerry, gerald, or something -- he wasn't very forthcoming about his personal details, which was okay).  there was something telling about him -- he was wearing a robin hood hat -- for a purpose.  at any rate, Jair said there is no way he was going to let us get away with putting a title up like that (which by the way isn't really the attitude of open space events: see rule #1 about 'whoever comes is the right people') and wanted to talk with us immediately about our intentions.

the conversation was long (we left about 6:30pm).  i've mentioned this before, but one thing i love about the bigger geek community is the passion we display.  at times, our passion pours over into other aspects of our lives.  Jair is one of those people.  man, he was passionate...i loved it.  he has so much energy and it is clear he is passionate about his beliefs...mad props to Jair for that.  Jair went on a long conversation with us about his dislike for microsoft (although in reality it wasn't just microsoft, but kinda bigger and more philosophical).  i won't go into the details as it would take a while, but i listened.  i didn't always understand what he was saying, but listened.  i didn't agree with what he was saying on some levels, but i listened.  the net-net is that he defined me as an 'unwitting agent' and didn't appreciate that.  hmmm...am i an unwitting agent?  or am i just as passionite as him?

others gathered and /. heard that 'microsoft guys were here' and entered the room (didn't catch the guys name).  google was listening quietly as well (and taking pictures which i'm sure will end up on some blog with some not-so-kind-words).  a bigger group gathered and mainly listened to Jair as well...some piped in with some comments.

one comment that i liked from someone who shared some of Jair's views (paraphrasing of course): 'at least you came in here, put something on the board and are talking to us...i don't see mysql or google doing that.'  yeah, that's the point.  *we* (the team i represent) really do want to understand.  do we want to change perception?  of course.

well, we'll have to see what happens on thursday morning...stay tuned for the report from the unwitting agents ;-)

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we're still not at the official conference, but have done another build, so we've rev'd to 0.11.

today is tutorials again.  i signed up for an ajax on rails one and a marketing one (how to market to people who hate marketing).

much of the same -- not what i expected as far as classroom learning. :-(

the ajax on rails was basically a launch party for the relevance guys and streamlined.  i'd seen it before from one of our local guys pointing it out to me.  but they finally released the gem and i was able to install it and play around with it.  my immediate thought was about their distribution channel (a .gem file only on their site).  the rails/ruby world is all about rubygems.  why isn't the on ?  makes me think that the centralized deployment isn't so easy to get stuff out there (similar to xpi as well).  it was cool though, all nice and shiny and stuff ;-)

the marketing one was supposed to be a good one.  i couldn't get into it and left early.  the first part was a commercial about a book he wrote...i think there was supposed to be some tie-in to the rest of the topic, but i felt it was a reach.  i was hoping to get out of it an understanding of how to better talk to the crowds that aren't typically fond of commercial marketing...i wasn't getting that.

tonight is the kick-off of the conference according to some of their material (but the web site indicates tomorrow -- i'm confused).  wtf is up with evening keynotes lately?  teched has theirs as well.  not a great model -- i'm tired at the end of the day, i want to have dinner and rest -- not sit in uncomfortable chairs and listen to propellerheads!  looking at the schedule, there are a series of several 15-minute keynotes this evening...i've never heard of that and eager to see how that flows, but i'm optimistic...afterall, if dick can get through 500 slides in 15 minutes, i suppose it is possible!

sidenote to all conference agenda planners: stop calling everything a keynote...you are misusing the term.  there is only one keynote...all others are general sessions!  that's the definition of a keynote: the first note to start the rest of the tune off!

tomorrow starts the real show and we'll be posting our oscamp session and trying to get it filmed and post it somewhere (relevant).

nobody has asked my 'why are you here' just yet.  another interesting observation...with all the rails/ruby love, no DHH?

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i'm spending this week at , the open source conference sponsored by o'reilly.  it's one of *the* conferences for the open source community, bringing together developers and such from all over using various types of open source software and for others to learn from their good/bad experiences and get some general education as well.

for me, as an employee of the , you may wonder: wtf?  well, that's a good question.  in my team's role, one of our passions is to understand any opposition and help change perception.  difficult?  sometimes.  yes there are zealots (every side has them), but most are genuinely interested in having intelligent conversations...after all, we are all passionite about our respective technologies, desires, etc.  for me, i like those type of conversations -- i'm not saying i'm 'good' at always changing perception, but i know that every time i have a conversation with the 'anything but microsoft (abm)' crowd, i learn something new!

i'm here with others from microsoft as well: woodyp, jmauer, saraford, bill hilf, and the team from (who is a silver sponsor this year).  we're lurking, presenting, showing off, learning and chatting -- and all that is a good thing.

the title of this post is 0.1, giving some props to open source projects that never seem to make it to v1.  and of course, it's not 0.2, because i'm at a pre-conference, which means the real conference hasn't started, which means it's not a stable post. ;-) (note: for msft people that aren't familiar with open source, it's a general trend that unstable builds are odd numbered.)

i wouldn't be doing my conference citizen duty if i didn't spend some time complaining about some things...so let's get that over with first.  this is the first 'big' non-msft conference i'm participating in.  i've gone to php zend, etc. -- but they are < 500 people.  oscon touts 3500 registered.  first thing i notice?  how spoiled msft attendees are at conferences...big time.

first the swag: honestly, i have to say it (it's free and all, but c'mon it's a technical conference) -- the 'bag' is disappointing.  I opted to return mine because i honestly couldn't see myself using it.  inside the bad was hilarious though.  at first i was saying 'cool' to myself, because i didn't have a retractable, travel ethernet cable.  a closer inspection reveals that it is a telephone cable.  huh?!  oh well, i guess linux must have modem support now ;-)

logistics: portland is aweseome.  my comrad lives here and keeps saying that the tree huggers have done the city proud.  i really do like portland.  we got the chance to spend the evening in the hawthorne/23rd area which was very cool area -- lots of character -- great for singles (of which i'm not).  the conference is at the convention center which is also cool...good building.  unfortunately the signage sucks.  too small, not detailed enough.  i recall msft conferences in my head where i'm almost bumping in to signs wherever i walk.  food: hmmm...not really existing yet.  they did bring out some small snacks at one point with lemonade that looked like hollywood-grade plutonium...and by the look on one guys face, tasted like it as well!

wireless: what conference wouldn't be complete without network woes.  remember, i'm at a pre-conference, so not everyone is even here yet!  the first day i could not connect to the wireless even thoughthere were access points in sight all over.  they finally got it worked out at the end of the day for the most part, but i worry about the rest of the week.  not a lot of visible power plugs around the common areas though.  they did have some power issues this first day.  i was in a session where the projector kept shutting off.  now there are some that claim it was because of the 'heat wave' in portland (remember i'm from arizona), but being in the room that had the most problems, i know it was because one outlet was used to daisy-chain about 100 retail-grade power strips to power about 120 laptops pluss all the a/v equipment.  yeah, not gonna work.

anywhoo...on to the better stuff.

days 0.1 and 0.3 (remember, it's not stable yet) are all about 'tutorials' -- which i thought to meant, classroom-style learning, maybe some hands on.  i signed up for some ruby ones, a rails one, and some marketing one.  we were to get the 'materials' for the tutorials upon checkin.  the materials were the slide deck printouts. :-(  the tutorials to be honest have been disappointing.  they really should have named them 'really long sessions' (they are 4 hours each).  No hands-on, no constant interaction with attendees (and note to presenters: REPEAT THE QUESTIONS THAT ARE ASKED!).  the ruby ones i weant to were essentially outlines of the books the authors had written -- which i'd already read and has great content, i just was expecting deeper.

i am looking forward to the rest of the week.  they have an setup here, and i think i'm going to put a session on the board for 'talk crap about microsoft' and see who shows up :-)

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No to msft

a book for sale: "Just say NO to Microsoft: How to ditch Microsoft AND why it's not as hard as you think." -- nice.

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Windows live mail

nice cheesy 'mailbox' on microsoft campus promoting windows live mail...