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Opening Night at OSCON

by Daniel H. Steinberg
07/27/2006

OSCON, the O'Reilly Open Source Convention, began with the traditional night of fun - this year featuring Larry Wall's State of the Onion, Kathy Sierra on Creating Passionate Users, and Damian Conway's geek interpretation of the Da Vinci Code.

Each year Larry Wall, the creator of the Perl language, gives a talk about the state of the Perl world. Each year he has a theme and finds ways to tie observations about his chosen theme to what is going on with Perl. This year, with the birth of a grandchild, Wall talked about families and growing up. We're not so much waiting for the birth of Perl 6 as we are looking at the next stage in the life of a language now in its late teens.

Kathy Sierra is the co-creator of the Head First series and has done a lot of research into how best to engage people. Her "Creating Passionate Users" keynote pointed to many of the ways we fail to get our audience interested. We talk too much to the logical side and forget to reach out to the emotional side. One of our biggest flaws as technical people is that we concentrate more on the tool that we've built and not enough on the activity we're enabling.

The evening ended with Damian Conway's multimedia mystery called the Da Vinci Codebase. The presentation was very visual with slides providing the punchline to many of Conway's jokes. (4 minutes 33 seconds)

Download the MP3 Right-click or Control-click to download this MP3 file. You can also subscribe to the OSCON podcast or to the O'Reilly Conference podcast, which will include all of the podcasts for OSCON, as well as all of the other O'Reilly podcasts.

Daniel H. Steinberg is the editor for the new series of Mac Developer titles for the Pragmatic Programmers. He writes feature articles for Apple's ADC web site and is a regular contributor to Mac Devcenter. He has presented at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference, MacWorld, MacHack and other Mac developer conferences.