Archive for March, 2006

Crazy Cyclists

Friday, March 31st, 2006

For some strange reason cyclists in Japan are allowed to cycle on the footpath. At first I thought they did this in the same direction as the flow of traffic but it seems that they are free to cycle where they please. It’s fun watching them cycle towards each other – that is until you get caught between rows of them and can’t quite work out where exactly you are supposed to walk.

YAPC::Asia – Marty’s Talks

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

I went to see Marty give his two talks today at YAPC::Asia. Normally I don’t go to hear him but I was curious to see what sort of reaction he would get from the Japanese. Would they laugh at his jokes, would they understand his accent, would they think he was mad?

The first talk was about using Template::Toolkit for non-web applications. This talk seemed to be liked well enough and he did get some interaction from the audience – although this mainly came from Ingy. The surprising thing was that he was finished early. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Marty finish a talk within his allocated time slot. It confused him. He thought that he had forgotten some examples or was missing some of the slides.

The second talk was the one he was worried about. The talk is called Kongougo and describes the features of Perl 6 that Marty believes Larry got from Ruby and the Japanese language. This is mostly a humorous talk and he was really worried that none of the audience would understand the joke. But he did re-write a lot of slides in Japanese and the audience really seemed to like it. The audience didn’t laugh as much as the European audience who had seen it but they clapped more. The Japanese will clap during a talk if you say something they really like. But, just like the first talk, this was also too short. And again Marty was really surprised.

My theory for this was that Marty wasn’t able to digress as much as he usually does as he was concerned that the audience wouldn’t be able to understand him. Miyagawa believed it was because the Japanese audience is more polite than a European one and that Marty builds lots of time into his talks to cope with the interruptions and heckling he usually gets from the audience.

Whatever the reason for this strange phenomenon Marty wasn’t the only one affected. Damian also finished his talks within his time slots and that is nothing short of a miracle.

Slender Japanese

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

So far, on this trip, the majority of Japanese people I have seen would be described as being slender. I’ve seen very few you would describe as overweight.  I had always assumed that this was due to their diet.  But watching them running around train stations I’m starting to think it’s because they are always in a hurry.  I really don’t understand what the rush could be.  This morning there must have been a train going to Tokyo station every three minutes yet people were still running to catch them.

Travelling in Japan, chikan!

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

This morning we had to travel across Tokyo during rush hour. I had forgotten just how horrible it is to spend time on a train so packed with people that you can’t even turn round to find out whose hands are on your backside. I also found it unbearably hot as the Japanese still consider it to be cold. Thankfully the trains are fast and clean.

All the train stations have happy tinkly theme tunes. Marty tells me these are so you know which train is about to go next. I assumed they were a type of brain washing to make sure that the Japanese don’t all kill each other during rush hour. Play happy music and everything will be fine.

YAPC::Europe – Dates Announced

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

YAPC::Europe will be taking place in Birmingham from Wednesday 30th August to Friday 1st September 2006.

YAPC::Asia – Morning of Day 1

Wednesday, March 29th, 2006

YAPC::Asia has begun. Although I don’t actually know what day it is as the 8 hour time difference has me totally confused.

The conference was opened by Miyagawa – I didn’t catch much of what he was saying as the opening was in Japanese (although at least half of the talks at this conference will be in English). After Miyagawa Audrey Tang gave a talk on PUGS. This was followed by Ingy talking about Module::Compile. At the minute Leon is talking about MighTyV – the web-site that he and Leo put together for a BBC backstage competition.

What is Web 2.0?

Tuesday, March 14th, 2006

At FOSDEM, during one of the Web 2.0 talks, Dean and I started to try to guess which Web 2.0 buzzword the speaker would use next. Although we found this amusing nothing we heard gave us any real indication as to the meaning of Web 2.0. I really lliked Tim Bray’s description of Web 2.0 that I came across on Robert Kaye’s blog article – What is Web 2.0.

Web 2.0 is the writable web and the Web 1.0 was the read-only web.

Skating Mania

Friday, March 10th, 2006

Because of the Winter Olympics and the recent ITV Dancing on Ice show it’s getting harder to find a time to practice on the ice without having to maneuver through a crowd.  But today I managed to pass the ice skating exam I had to miss through illness.  I wasn’t sure that I was going to manage all the elements as I thought that my mohawks were a bit ropey but once my coach told me to stop thinking about it and just do it I had no more problems.

FOSS Conference Press Release

Friday, March 10th, 2006

I was pleased to see that the Belfast Telegraph has picked up the story about the FOSS Means Business event. I wouldn’t have said that Google is behind the event or that Open Source is a new approach to software development but if it gets more people to attend the event I know it will make the organisers happy.

JavaScript – an emerging technology?

Friday, March 10th, 2006

After reading about JavaScript last night I was amused that it was the first thing I came across this morning. There seems to be some buzz around Simon Willison’s E-tech tutorial on JavaScript. By now everyone knows that JavaScript is cool again but it’s going to take me a while to get used to seeing it being listed as a hot topic everywhere. I haven’t read through Simon’s slides yet but I did quickly read through his notes which are well worth a look.