It's been a really hectic first day at GOTO here in Aarhus. Seeing as it's my first time here, I couldn't help observing how well everything seems to be organized.
Firstly though, I noticed a lack of some sort of breakfast. One of the things I remember from Øredev is that they have an absolutely immaculate breakfast for attendees every morning. This was lacking. However, I survived (only because we bloggers had access to a VIP room which had breakfast available.
The first keynote of today was by Rickard Falkvinge, the founder of the Swedish Pirate Party. He held a really interesting talk about the foundations of where the Pirate Party comes from and what their political motivations are. One of the key points was about the whole point of privacy in the postal service. When our parents sent letters, they could choose to be anonymous or to let the receiver know upfront who was the sender - by writing their name on the outside of the envelope. They could also choose to only write their names on the actual letter. The final choice they had was to not identify themselves in any way. The important note here is that in the current day and age, this isn't a possibility. The copyright holders have lobbied enough that we can't move around on the Internet without our every move being logged in some form. The point of the Pirate Party is to work against this threat of anit-privacy.
Another interesting talk I saw today was a talk by Jesper Boeg which was about the steps many of us have been through in trying to implement the perfect agile process. Right from our first Ceritfied Scrum Master training course, to the point where we realise that the team we are working with actually functions better with a more KANBAN-y approach. What tends to happen is that the teams adapt the process models into something that actually works. But only for them. What is imporatnt to note is that the agile processes that we all want to implement are extremely dependent on the teams that will implement them. So basically, lessons learned on one team in one organisation will hardly ever translate into something useful for another team.
I participated in a single hardware-based talk today which was about some work being done by Nat Pryce & Steve Freeman on the Raspberry Pi board. This was a really good hands-on look at the problems and challenges about designing user-mode hardware targeted at this platform. As it turns out, a lot of the people buying the Pi these days are actually some of the people who were around when the ZX-81 and C-64 were around. These were the days when hardware was an important piece of knowledge when it came to computers. Since then, hardware has become more of a commodity that we just accept for what it is. This is where the Raspberry Pi comes in. These two guys have developed an interface system to the Pi, which allows pretty much anyone to start experimenting with hardware-based development.
A final talk I want to bring up was the closing keynote of today.
This was probably one of the most high-paced high-energy, high-intellect talks I have ever seen. The way the presentation was put together meant that most people wouldn't have trouble following it (you would simply end up laughing yourself to sleep). The talk was about some of the crazy stuff that Damian Conway has done in the upcoming version of Perl (version 6). This topic touched (and delved quite deeply) into subjects like parallel computing, quantum mechanics, quantum physics and how these topics could relate to one another. The point where my brain melted down completely was when he showed off his "pipe-based" programming language. This is a language entirely made up of the basic boolean constructs like AND, OR, NOT, NAND, but only written using the characters -,_,|,^,v,[ and ] . Ever seen the language "Brainfuck"? This took things to the next level.
So now, after the conference party/dinner, I'll nod off to sleep and look forward to experiencing tomorrow's schedule.