Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Wanderers 2013.2.27

I showed up late, driving from Apachecon, where I much enjoyed the reception.

The Technology Association of Oregon delivered a message of welcome to open source people in general.  The Apache community is somewhat esoteric within the movement, and has built itself around http, httpd, https and related services.

You could link Apache through CERN in that way, to the W3.  Citrix (of Cloudstack) was a big sponsor.  Some readers may remember HP's high profile around OpenStack from OSCON.  The cloud is a place to be these days, whereas in older cartoons it was a sometimes satirical view of Heaven (Harps Inc.).

Doug McCarty had the rare privilege of serving as astronomer in residence at a very remote lodge in Namibia, where the darkness factor is 10+ (there's actually a scale known to astronomers).  Astrophysical phenomena are astoundingly clear, if your vision is 20-20 or better (as corrected).  They have a great eyepiece waiting.

The feel of the place is also amazing.

Whereas this particular lodge has a high luxury quotient, more like a cruise ship in adventure travel circuits, you may pay a lot less renting a camper-on-wheels (motorized) and buzzing about a bit.  However in a certified dark patch, such as near this lodge, you'd not be welcome with high beam headlights, or any lights.

People living there use red or focus them tightly.

Doug had a nice slice of nickel-iron meteor from the region, one of the bigger impact zones.  The Negev desert makes meteors easier to see.

Ecotourism was again the theme, reminding me of Lynne's talk.  She was there with two dogs.

Dick Pugh gets a lot of credit for promoting Namibia as a STEM stop, a place to earn credit towards your career in the field, as a mineralogist or perhaps craftsman like Glenn, a Wanderers co-host.

Our venue was packed, people sitting on up the stairs.  Great to have a large cast now and then.  I started proposing anti-talks when we wanted to thin it out.  "My weekend exploring I-205" maybe?

I've got a full work week going.  For me, Apachecon means listening head down with my face immersed in light from a laptop computer, the Mac Air.  At geek conferences, that's completely OK i.e. it's not considered rude to stare at your screen while a technical talk gets delivered.  We multi-task.  We're geeks.

So what I'm really doing is teaching Python.

But then I also transport items around (such as the director himself and his accoutrements), given Open Bastion is based at the Hilton.

Good seeing Patrick there, and Nancy, a conference producer with her crew, used to working with Holden Web.