All Posts Tagged With: "speaking"

MIX 06

Today’s Day 2 at Microsoft’s MIX 06 conference. I’ve had a great time so far. Here’s my recap:

Yesterday, was the big Bill G keynote and 1-1 chat with Tim O’Reilly. During Bill’s opening remarks, he gave the eBay Web service a nice plug by saying “eBay is an extreme example where half the product listings are done in a programmable way.” Technically, it’s 47% of eBay.com listings, but what’s 3% among friends?

Later on, Dean Hachamovitch, king of IE 7, showed off eBay’s new support for viewing search results via RSS directly within the browser. Even better, we’ve integrated support for Microsoft’s Simple List Extensions to RSS, so you can sort and filter eBay items by category, format, price, etc. I think it’s a great way of using RSS outside of news syndication.

After lunch, I was on a panel titled “Web 2.0: Show Me The Money,” with Tim O’Reilly, Jeremy Zawodny, Michael Arrington, and Royal Farros. At first, I was worried we couldn’t fill up the entire hour and fifteen minutes, but we actually ran three minutes late and could have kept going. I don’t know if that was a good or bad thing, but a number of people have come up to me after the panel to say they enjoyed it, so I’m going to assume we were at least entertaining, if not actually informative.

Here’s the round-up from the blogsphere:

I hustled from my panel to Christin Boyd’s Office 2007 talk, where she demoed (in grand style) an eBay and Outlook integration, where you can pull in the items your watching and bidding on from eBay directly into Outlook. They appear directly inside a folder that you can sort, label, etc. Even better, they appear on your calendar, so you get a reminder 15 minutes before the auction closes. She even overwrote the “Reply” button on the ribbon turning it into a “Bid on eBay” button. Quite cool!

This morning, Joe Belfiore demoed this in front of the entire MIX 06 crowd during his morning keynote as an example of Office integration with third party sites using Web services.

Right now, I’m taking a short break before lunch, and then I’m off to hear Alan Lewis demo his eBay Live.Com Gadget. He’s learned all sorts of practical information about combining widgets and gadgets with Web services, and he’s going to share best practices with the attendees.

I got a chance to play around with the gadget over the past week, and it’s quite nice. Kudos to Alan, Rob, and Tim, for the design, programming, and UI. They really took this from idea to concept to actual code all by themselves. In particular, they added this nifty feature where the gadget will intelligently expand and truncate the search results depending on the width of your screen. Very impressive.

If you’ve made it this far, I’ll share my one Vegas celebrity almost sighting. Yes, a real “appears in the National Enquirer” celebrity, not a tech “has an a-list blog” celebrity. While we were at dinner last night, Britney Spears rolled into the restaurant. Unfortunately, no thanks can be shared with “It’s 30 seconds too late, but now’s when I’m going to mention this” Arturo, who didn’t alert the people at the table with our backs to the entrance. I admit to shamlessly trying to “go to the bathroom,” but she was hidden away in a private room, and the bathrooms are in the casino, so that line didn’t work so well.

ETech 2006 Review

I spent much of last week down in San Diego for ETech, O’Reilly’s Emerging Technology Conference. I’ve been to a number of O’Reilly shows, but this was my first time at ETech.

I really enjoyed the show. Lots of interesting people there. One nice thing about ETech is that there was a little more emphasis on the social instead of the technical. Technology is always fun, but you need to remember why you’re deploying it, and how its design affects the people and groups who interact with it, both positively and negatively.

To that end, I was a little disappointed in the lack of diversity. Delyn guestimated the crowd at only 10% female. Christine backs that up with a slightly more accurate 11.62%. This was even lower than OSBC! I would have thought that ETech would have had more women than the norm.

Besides, after last year’s conversation, I was hoping for more. I just did a rough count of the speaker ratio, and it actually grades out at an improved 15%. (I removed all the paid sponsor slots, since Rael has no control over that.)

As someone who works on my own conference, and has also picked papers for a track at another O’Reilly Convention, I know it’s tough. Frankly, you just don’t get enough submissions by women. And I know Rael’s working on it.

But the show would be far more interesting to me if it had a more diverse set of speakers and attendees. However, that does remind me to review the eBay Developers Conference speaker list before we go final with it.

How do Open Source Communities Best Flourish?

I was on an interesting panel at the OSBC West yesterday titled “The Open Source Community Imperative: Methodologies, Mechanics, and Metrics

Things began on a good note when, earlier in the day, I read that Oracle bought Sleepycat. Since Sleepycat CEO Mike Olson was scheduled to be on my panel, that was bound lead to some informative exchanges. Ultimately, I think Mike did a great job talking about the sale. I agree with him: at the end of the day, the best way to make sure Sleepycat continues to do the right thing for the community is to watch them closely and make sure they’re walking the walk. Then again, it’s not like he was facing a hostile crowd.

From the eBay perspective, I focused more on the platform we open up using Web services than the straight-up traditional open source software we distribute (or are working on distributing). I think open platforms and data will be as important in the next decade as open source software was in the past one.

Rather than hear what I thought about the talk, check out Ross Mayfield (of Socialtext) and Christine Herron (of the Omidyar Network) had to say.

OSCON + NYPHPCon Call For Papers

I just submitted by proposals for OSCON and NYPHPCon. I hope they get accepted, as I’m quite excited about both shows.

OSCON is my favorite conference of the year. There’s nothing else that provides such a wide range of interesting speakers and topics. I love learning about PHP, but I find it even more fascinating to see what the Perl and Python and Ruby guys are hacking on, or pick up JavaScript and AJAX tips, or heckle the Java programmers. :)

The past two years, I’ve been on the OSCON PHP track conference committee, so it was my job to write friendly reminders in my blog. I’m not doing that this year, so you can count on this as a unbiased plug for the show.

There are lots of topic areas beyond PHP, such as Web applications and Security, so you don’t need to be a PHP guru to submit. You just need to be doing something that other people will find interesting that you can share in an interesting way. The key is that when a conference attendee reads the description of your talk in the program that they say: “Cool! That sounds neat. I think I’ll go hear this talk.”

Last year, I wrote a short post about getting your conference proposal accepted. That’s just my personal philosophy, but I think it holds mostly true for all good conferences. There’s always the “I want the biggest names I can get” philosophy, but if that’s the case, then there’s nothing you can do about that anyway.

Proposals are due Monday, so hurry up and submit.

It’s the first year for NYPHPCon, but Hans and the whole NYPHP crew are great guys, so I know they’ll put on a teriffic show. When I still lived in NYC, I attended NYPHP user group meetings on a semi-regular basis, and they were even kind enough to let me present once or twice.

In fact, I gave my very first Web services presentation to NYPHP back in February of 2003. I don’t know if eBay would have hired me as a Web service evangelist if I hadn’t started down the path of learning about Web services for NYPHP. So, I owe them a big debt of thanks.

Besides, New York City is the best city in the world. Sorry Bay Area neighbors. Although, I certainly don’t miss the 22.8 26.9 inches, or .58 .68 meters for my non-US readers, of snow that got dumped on the city last night. Have I mentioned it’s 65 degrees (18 celcius) today in San Francisco?

Oh, I almost forgot to mention what talks I submitted. All of them will have an eBay theme, but none of them are 100% eBay advertisements:

  • Consuming Web Services Using PHP 5
  • Dirty secrets of PHP 5’s ext/soap extension
  • Abracadabra and hocus pocus: Magical methods and PHP 5

I really like my abstract for the that last talk:

PHP 5 provides a number of so-called “magical methods,” methods that are automagically invoked to secretly manipulate objects. These __methods() are cool, but when, if ever, are they actually useful? Using an eBay Web services SOAP client as my example, I’ll demonstrate how a little slight-of-hand and misdirection leads to shorter and more intuitive code.

Right now, my eBaySOAP code uses __construct(), __set()/__get(), __call(), __isset(), __toString(), and the IteratorAggregate and ArrayAccess interfaces. If I can get Dmitry to add the hook he promised to ext/soap, I’ll also add __wakeup(). I’m sure there are a few more things I can do, but the trick is to only implement useful and intuitive methods, so we’ll see.

ApacheCon Review and Slides

I got back from jApacheCon last night. I like the show, but the ASF has certainly shifted over the years from programs written in C (httpd, mod_perl, PHP) to programs written in Java (Ant, Axis, Beehive, Cocoon, Geronimo, Jakarta, Struts, etc.).

This has caused the show to have an increasingly large amount of Java content — Day 1 and Day 2 were almost 100% pure Java. Since I can’t even figure out what an application server does (serve up applications?), most of the sessions are wasted on me.

The nice Java programmers try to explain how their sites take advantage of all these nifty Java projects, and I’m always forced to apologize that I really have no idea what they’re talking about. Seriously, what are Tomcat and Jackrabbit? I don’t know.

This has caused the PHP crowd to dub ApacheCon with new names. Chris prefers JApacheCon; Andrei likes JAvacheCon; I want either ApacheCon4J or jApacheCon.

However, Day 3 was a nice mix of PHP, Ruby, and Michael’s httpd talks. Fun stuff.

I think my talk on “Consuming Web Services Using pHP 5” went over well. I was a little rushed at the end because there was a 5 minute delay getting started due to technical difficulties reassembling the sliding wall panels used to split up the ballroom into the separate session halls. It was also the first time I gave the talk, so I didn’t quite have the timing and pacing down pat. (I was also way hopped up on the six glasses of iced tea I drank during lunch.)

I usually find that I need one slide for every two minutes of session time. However, I had 43 slides for a 60 minute talk, which was about 5 too many today. Fortunately, I intentionally put some slides I could skip quickly by at the end of the deck, so there was a few minutes for Q&A. Still, I wish I had left more time for audience participation.

For those of you who are interested, here is a PDF of my slides.

There’s a short over view of REST and SOAP; three increasingly complex REST demos: reading a del.icio.us RSS feed, searching flickr and creating an image gallery, and adding tags to a flicker photo; and an eBay SOAP example leading up to my eBay Motors Google Maps mashup. The final few slides are my overall takeaways from playing around with Web services for the past 18 months.

Afterward, I answered questions for a bit and then managed to stand by for an earlier flight — getting me back to San Jose at 6:30 instead of 8:30 — and letting me drop in on our holiday party at Zibibbo.

ApacheCon Slides Are Finished

ApacheCon has begun and I am happy to say I have finished my ApacheCon slides. My talk on Consuming Web Services Using PHP 5 isn’t until Wednesday afternoon. Therefore, I technically have a few days left before I need to get up on stage and present, so I’m counting this as a victory for getting my act together in a timely manner.

For this talk, I decided to demonstrate Web services using a number of real Web services, so you can get a flavor for how people are actually implementing Web 2.0. Specifically:

  • del.icio.us (bought by Yahoo! earlier this week)
  • flickr (bought by Yahoo! earlier this year)
  • eBay (almost bought by Yahoo!, almost bought Yahoo!)

And, of course, there’s the obligatory Google Maps reference because, well, it’s a rule or something. I think. I can’t remember.

This was my first presentation done in Keynote. It’s certainly easier to make non-ugly slides in Keynote than in PowerPoint, which almost seems to lead you down the path of ugly slides. You think Microsoft could invest in a few good new templates instead of still using the ones their intern programmers designed in 1992.

If you’re going to be at ApacheCon, let me know. I am arriving Monday afternon and leaving Wednesday night, and staying at the conference hotel. I will have a rental car, so if you know a good place to eat or drink or visit that’s off the beaten path, we can help each other.

ZendCon Days 3 and 4

Yesterday was a good day at ZendCon. I arrived in the morning and sat through Michael’s excellent talk on Yahoo! and PHP. If you’re into PHP or large-scale web site architecture, it’s worth your time to read the slides.

Later, I introduced the “Empowering eBay Research with PHP & Web Services” session. Andrew Sukow gave a nice overview of all the data mining and analysis tools he’s writing to help eBay sellers and other people learn what’s going on in our marketplace. Lots of data makes for lots of fun. He got a huge Postgresql database. I think he says we send him 6 GB every day, and he’s got 3-4 months worth of back data.

After the show ended, I went to dinner with a number of PHP developers and Microsoft. At my table I had Joyce Park, Cal Henderson, Chris Shiflett, Christian Wenz, a bunch of Microsoft employees, and a few other people who I’m sure I forgot. (Sorry!) It was fun trying to explain to Microsoft that PHP doesn’t have any of those fancy ASP.NET 2.0 features, but actually that’s on purpose. The infamous Sterling “super-pimp” Hughes made a cameo appearance, but I didn’t get a chance to talk to him about street light censors, alas.

This morning, I heard Joyce’s talk, and then sat through Adam Bosworth’s keynote. I was happy he made a bunch of nice eBay mentions. Always good to have someone from outside your company speaking nice about you. After opening up with a more technical first half, Adam moved into “Health.” His claim is that if only we could do some form of healthcare social network or community sharing of data then we might actually be able to save lives. I guess it was more textured then that, but that’s the one sentence gist.

Overall, I think the Zend guys were very happy with their first conference. The attendance was quite strong, and while I didn’t get a chance to go to too many talks, the ones I went to were interesting. I know how tricky it is to arrange all the moving parts of a big show such as this, so I give them hugh credit for pulling it off at this scale.

ZendCon Day 2

I had to head into the office in the morning, so I arrived at ZendCon right after lunch and in time for Marc Andreessen’s keynote talk. The first half was a review of 50 years of computing in 30 minutes.

For me, the key takeaway is that computers are much faster than before. Seems obvious, but I think lots of programmers still have that mainframe mindset where you need to squeeze out every inch of performance, and they don’t consider that sometimes the correct solution is throwing hardware at the problem instead of developer resources.

The idea that sometimes performance is vital, but not as often as you think is something I’ve been trying to sell for a long time.

The second half of the talk was open session for Q&A and the questions were all over the map. People asked about the early days of Netscape all the way to “what’s the next big thing?”. I think the highlight for me was, during a question about the benefit of standards and the Netscape/Microsoft HTML wars, when Marc said (after a reasonable preable about innovation vs compatibility): “when I added the image tag to HTML, the HTML purists got all mad at me, too.”

When we first started Student.Net in the summer of 1995, I do remember a 30 minute conversation about whether it was acceptible to use HTML tables as part of our design. Not because we were CSS presentation zealots, but because we weren’t sure we could count on all browsers supporting tables! Finally, we decided the layout would degrade (somewhat) gracefully, so it was okay.

After that, I skipped out on the Oracle keynote to grab a bite to eat and catch up with Chris and Marcus and the NYPHP gang. I also saw George and Wez.

I only made it to one afternoon session — the one on PHP and Windows. The speaker from Microsoft was actually quite good and interested in using PHP on Windows. It was a good fit, as unlike lots of other conferences with a PHP track (such as OSCON), the audience was actually using PHP on Windows servers. I remember the debate when we chose this talk. We were afraid it would be a lot of .NET/C# spin, but it was totally the opposite, so chalk one up for Microsoft.

I snuck out early from the talk to set up the eBay / PayPal joint Developers Program booth. Dave, Alan, and myself were staffing the booth, with extra-special guest PB.

We had a good turn out. Lots of people interested in eBay and PayPal. Given the business focus of the conference, I wasn’t too surprised, but I was still happy to see it. In particular, I think PayPal’s recent purchase of Verisign’s Payment Gateway Business will be a boon for their Developer Program.

After the Expo Hall closed for the night, Zend threw a (slightly belated) PHP 10th birthday party. PayPal provided the DJs, who were actual PayPal Developers Program employees.

Today looks to be a fun day. I’m going to congratulate Michael on the birth of his son. Another project successfully launched. And later today is my talk. I’m doing the intro and then Andrew from Terapeak/DataUnison is doing the rest.