Bram Pitoyo, Portland Creative/Tech Event Review

DorkBot PDX 0x01: An Event Review

DorkBot PDX 0x01

When: Sunday, March 30, 2008, 6:00 – 8:00 PM, and, like most geek events around Portland, tends to have the addition of spontaneous speakers, finish about an hour later as a result, and use way too many commas in a paragraph.

Where: PNCA Graduate Studios, one of PNCA campuses that’s located beside REI, wherein my journey to get to the said place can be described as thus: 1) Left a friend’s apartment nearby, 2) Approached main campus, 3) Attention diverted by two guys talking in front of the PNCA entrance across the street, thought that the event might be held there, proven wrong, 4) Walked across the street to the main campus, asked receptionist, directed to “the building across REI,” 5) Went to the instructed building, which was in the same block as the one where I asked the two guys, 6) Instructed that I approached the wrong building again, and that the phrase “across REI” really meant “across from REI’s side entrance,” 7) Realized mistake/silliness/bad sense of direction, 8.) Proceeded to the correct building, wherein a ‘DorkBot PDX’ sign was conspicuously posted on the inside window, set in all caps (typeface: probably Helvetica), each letter printed on a sheet of paper. Entered with glee.

What It’s About:

  • Lego robots built by highschool girls to make art, thereby ensuring that “web developer” and “computer engineer” were firmly planted as their future career choices. The most concrete and decidedly un-geeky out of all three presentations.
  • Biologically inspired robots that also make art, but were composed of $1 processors, conceived and explained by the founder of Wiki himself, Ward Cunningham. In Mr. Cunningham’s own word: “I make stuff that’s simple enough, the whole thing can be illustrated in ASCII art.” Bonus: robot that waves flag around (that I truly regret for not having any evidence thereof.)
  • Constructing your own programming language from FORTH. Based on a premise that if “all human languages are convivial, why aren’t all computer languages?” Bonus: ASCII-style presentation in a text editor (!) on Linux.

Technicality: ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝ ☝
Translation: if the premise of an all-out vi–Emacs war doesn’t give you an instant hard-on, you’d be better off staying home.

Interestingness: ☝ ☝ ☝
Translation: I loved the concept, but wasn’t geeky enough to get it.

What I Learned From The Event In Six Words:
Intelligence +2, Wisdom +2, Charisma -2

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Things I Twittered Today From Breakfast To Bed—

  • 11:51 @turoczy, I’m starting up a series of review on local creative/tech event—including Startupalooza (tinyurl.com/2s3xq4) #
  • 11:53 Thanks to Rael, am integrating Sandy more closely into daily schedule. Perfect for someone with an equally bad short and long term memory. #
  • 12:05 Heading out to Christine Vo’s, stopping by Wild Alchemy’s office after syncing up my macs. Oy vey. #
  • 18:11 Am running to dorkbot!! #
  • 19:07 Ward Cunningham talks about "What If Bacteria Designed Computers." Interesting… #
  • 19:23 "I make stuff that’s simple enough,the whole thing can be illustrated in ASCII art." -Ward Cunningham #
  • 19:26 "This is not the way engineers design circuits,but it’s pretty cool." -Ward Cunningham,on designing computers that imitate organic,livin … #
  • 19:27 The term is "biologically inspired." #
  • 20:28 "Convivial tools are not always easy to use,but it allow users to invent their own processes." -David Frech #
  • 20:29 "All human languages are convivial,why aren’t all computer languages?" -David Frech,on the perils of industrialization #
  • 22:00 Am getting some Twitter follows from people I met at Startupalooza + etc. Always excited to meet new people. #
  • 22:15 “The web is turning writing into a conversation.” –Paul Graham, How To Disagree (twurl.cc/ii) #
  • 22:16 @truemors Hannah Montana LOST? Ha! #pulseofpdx #
  • 22:17 The Paul Graham essay, by the way, I found via Daring Fireball. (tinyurl.com/3da9xk) #
  • 22:33 Catching the bus home by biking from Flanders to Pine.Whew! #
  • 23:22 @gracerodriguez: there are tons of project mgmt tools. Depends on the size of your org and complexity of your projects #
  • 23:59 @gracerodriguez
    Personal favorite, works like Basecamp: projectpier.org/
    Also: redmine.org and openproj.org/ #
  • 00:01 @gracerodriguez – Google “open source project management” for additional sites. There are so much more stuff out there that I don’t know 🙂 #
  • 00:09 @verso – with a name like crowdfavorite + high five favicon, you can’t go wrong 🙂 Thanks! Am going to recommend it to @gracerodriguez #
  • 00:11 @gracerodriguez a good one we are using in my office is TasksPro frm crowdfavorite.com but it’s $30 for one user and $125 for 5 but it ROCKS #
  • 00:12 @gracerodriguez: the tweet I just sent you, I got via @verso #
  • 00:13 @verso – just realized that twitter should have a forwarding service! Copying, pasting, copyfitting & forwarding your msg took too a while #
  • 00:16 @verso – No learning curve, you say? #
  • 00:20 @siliconflorist – Am wondering if the SocialMap technology comes from the same folks who made Unthirsty and KnitMap? #
  • 00:23 @verso – thanks for the tip. I’m now convinced that TasksPro is ‘wrapped in bacon’ good 🙂 #
  • 00:26 @gracerodriguez – “retweets”? My fear of adopting tools like Twhirl is that, much like with IM clients, I probably will get distracted 🙂 #
  • 00:28 @ gracerodriguez much thanks for the tip, though. In my profile page is a short conversation with @verso about how easy TasksPro was for her #
  • 00:38 @gracerodriguez Ha! You’re right. It was no different from constantly Alt-Tabbing to go to Safari 🙂 Will try out the app later. Thanks. #
  • 01:28 @alderina: hey, your ‘Y!’ is gone, wha happened? #

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