Friday, March 30, 2007

ETech 2007 Last Day

We started off with a few interesting keynotes. One on Adobe's new Apollo platform - an alternative desktop runtime for web apps (HTML, CSS, JavaScript, Flash). It looks pretty neat, especially the features for running apps when you're offline (not connected to the internet). But is HTML/CSS/JavaScript the best way to write apps? I'm not sure.

Next, Google gave a presentation on their project to add 1.6 MW of solar power at their headquarters. They also talked about other environmentally friendly practices at Google. Again, it seems Google is trying hard to not be evil despite their huge size.

After the break I went to a session by Andy Kessler on how Moore's law will soon be "invading" medicine - leading to better and cheaper health care. He was an entertaining speaker.

James Duncan's session on JavaScript and Zimki was quite interesting. He talked about some features of JavaScript that I wasn't aware of. Zimki is a JavaScript server and web app framework with some novel features. Fotongo offers paid hosting for Zimki, but it will also be released open source in the next few months.

At lunch I discovered a new coffee shop near the hotel - Brickyard. Although Starbucks is a good default, I like to find local shops especially if they have better coffee! It didn't hurt that it was another beautiful day and I could sit outside in their courtyard and enjoy the sun.

The sessions were thinning out by the afternoon. I went to one on why you should try to design your web app so it could be run as a text adventure (sounds crazy but actually made some sense) I hadn't recognized the presenter's name but he turned out to be the guy who had presented a Rails game (Unroll) at OSCon. He's an interesting character so I was glad I'd gone to this session although it ended up being quite short.

My last session was by Forest Higgs on building your own 3D printer. Commercial 3D printers still cost tens of thousands of dollars to buy and require expensive consumables. You can now build your own for a few hundred dollars. Forest has his own design but he also talked about the Reprap project. The goal is not just to make an open source 3D printer design, but also one that can replicate (most of) itself. (They use microprocessors which obviously can't be manufactured by a home machine yet!) He also talked about the implications of widespread grass roots manufacturing capabilities. Thought provoking.

And that was it for ETech 2007. Although I heard a lot of grumbling that it wasn't as good as previous years, I still think it was worthwhile. Lots of new ideas that will help fuel my brain.

I rounded off the day with supper at The Fish Market. I couldn't be bothered to wait for a table in the restaurant (long lineup) so I grabbed a table in the bar with a great view of the water. There was a limited menu in the bar but the fish and chips was the best I'd had in a long time, the waitress was cute and cheerful, and the sunset was beautiful - what more could you ask for!

No comments: