Friday, March 09, 2007

BarCamp Austin, Friday night

Tonight I went to BarCamp Austin. The schedule said there was supposed to be a BarCamp party at 8 pm. So I got off from work, picked up Erika from day care, had a bite to eat, and headed there, to the Bourbon Rocks bar downtown. I got there at around 8 pm, and discovered I was too late. A handful of people who were left at the bar told me the main event was already over. There was something going on earlier today, some kind of presentation. Those who hadn't left yet milled around a little, and then a bunch of them headed out for dinner. They said they were going to come back later and then there was supposed to be some drinking and geeking out. A few stragglers left at the bar were staring at a laptop screen where some guy explained to them finer points of Drupal caching.

So far, the only thing I've learned at this so-called "unconference": Drupal does not rhyme with PayPal. It's pronounced more like DROO-ple! :-)

Even though most BarCampers had left, I still got to talk with some people who were hanging around. In particular there was one guy who showed me (like everybody there, he had a laptop with him) a mind-mapping system he has created for himself. Of course, it does not map his entire mind, only the part that's involved with various IT projects. :-) I didn't get the details of it (it was very loud; the bar was filling up with non-BarCamp people, and a live band started to play) that it had something to do with mapping plain English words to emacs macros; it enabled him to conjure code snippets for various common programming tasks, therefore freeing him from keeping those code snippets in his memory; that and a lot more -- though I'm not sure what else. I have this problem too -- of remembering the detailed "how-to's" of various programming tasks, and it was a relief to know that other people have the same problem as me, and interesting to see how different are each person's ways of coping with it. I do suspect, however, that each person's solution is very idiosyncratic and suitable for that person's mind, but less so for anybody else's.

This guy called his system an "emacs wiki"; he said that it was wiki-like in nature even though he created it before he even heard of wiki.

It was also unexpected to discover at the end of our conversation, that this guy was somebody I knew from a certain mailing list. "Knew" in the sense of having read his posts, but never met him in person.

I uploaded a few pictures I took to Flickr:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/elzes/sets/72157594579965288/

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