by Dave McAllister


July 30, 2013

“The future us already here. It’s just unevenly distributed.” –William Gibson

Well, it’s the week after the OSCON 2013 conference held in sunny and warm Portland. And as usual, there was more activity at the show that is possible for one person to encompass.

First, some general observations about the show. This may have been the strongest program across all categories in the last seven OSCON events I have attended. With very few exceptions, the speakers were knowledgeable and informative, able to present meaningful information in a concise, retainable manner.

Naturally, Adobe had sessions on  PhoneGap and on Brackets. The introduction to  PhoneGap by Renaun Erickson, @renaun was surprisingly detailed. I say surprisingly, because PhoneGap is quite complex and yet this 40 minute presentation managed to cover both the highlights as well as dive into specific examples. PhoneGap, is an open source project better known as Cordova, found at the Apache foundation. Renaun’s slides can be found at Intro to PhoneGap.

Adam Lehman, @adrocknaphobia also did an introductory session on Brackets. He managed to cover the highlights and the directions for Brackets, as well as provide insight into future directions. Adams slides can be found online as well.

However, the Wednesday keynote certainly stole the show. With Jeff Hawkins of @Numenta leading off in a discussion around open intelligence, machine intelligence, and neuroscience, the stage was set for an incredible journey into every aspect of open source, be it development or social. And to never forget that OSCON is a social experience. The hallway conference is equally important to the sessions you attend.

The other highlight in the keynotes was stolen by Carin Meier of Neo, who communicated The Joy of Flying Robots with Clojure. Everyone wants a robot friend,  and Carin introduced us to her robot friends. Not only did we see robots dance, fly, flip, we also saw robots working together, all tied together with quick scripting.

OSCON is one of those conferences that you must attend to realize the depth and breadth of the open source industry. Be it in learning to improve team dynamics with improv, diving into the legal side of  Personal Open Source Software and its potential risk, or learning how to automate testing for accessibility OSCON is full of new discoveries, new friends, and new opportunities.