Archive for February, 2009

InfoQ interview up

There’s an interview with me at InfoQ. It covers micro-scale retro-futurist anarcho-syndicalism and my hypothesis that we could chisel value away from automating business-facing examples and add it to cheaper activities.

Onward! Call for Essays

A message from Richard P. Gabriel:


Writing papers is fun, but we don’t get to stretch our wings too often. Here is an opportunity to write something in a totally different style:

Submit an essay to Onward! Essays
Deadline: 20 April 2009

An Onward! essay is a thoughtful reflection upon software-related technology. Its goal is to help the reader to share a new insight, engage with an argument, or wrestle with a dilemma.

A successful essay is a clear and compelling piece of writing that explores a topic important to the software community. The subject area should be interpreted broadly, including the relationship of software to human endeavors, or its philosophical, sociological, psychological, historical, or anthropological underpinnings. An essay can be an exploration of its topic, its impact, or the circumstances of its creation; it can present a personal view of what is, explore a terrain, or lead the reader in an act of discovery; it can be a philosophical digression or a deep analysis. It can describe a personal journey, perhaps that by which the author reached an understanding of such a topic.

I’m the assistant program chair (Simon Peyton-Jones is the chair), and I’d love to get submissions from the agile community. Reflections on
how to create software, what the creative process is like for software, what extremes of process could work in the future, where else could agile work, has it worked,… you name it. Anything to do with software.

NB: Onward! is co-located with OOPSLA, but they are otherwise unrelated. OO is fine, but not required. Not even encouraged.

Don’t forget: 20th April.

PS: To get your imagination going, here are a couple of (strongly contrasting) past essays:

* Dan Grossman “The transactional memory / garbage collection analogy

* Dick Gabriel “Designed as designer

* Friedrich Steimann “The paradoxical success of aspect-oriented programming

or pick up your favorite essayist - be it Samuel Johnson (it’s his 300th birthday!), John McPhee, David Foster Wallace (my favorite), William T. Vollman, Edsger Dijkstra (ugh), or, what the hell, Richard P. Gabriel - and get inspired.

Getting invited to speak (part 2)

You’re more likely to be invited to speak if you’re a good speaker. For the most part, I have the same advice you’ll find at places like Presentation Zen: avoid bullet points, etc. I have some idiosyncratic habits, though. They’re after the jump.

As with the previous entry, a disclaimer: the way I present is driven by my personality and background. I don’t claim any universal goodness for it.

Getting invited to speak (part 1)

Someone asked me for advice on how to get invited to speak at conferences. Key advice:

  • become a valuable participant in a niche field,
  • grow along with the niche,
  • become a good speaker.

I’ll cover the first two in this note. The details are somewhat particular to my personality and the lucky breaks that came my way. But some of them would work for other people.