Random Thoughts

Tech, words and musings from an Englishman in Seattle


I'll be in Portland attending O'Reilly's OSCON next week.

I've never been before, so I'm quite looking forward to it! In addition, I'm driving there, so it'll be the first real long drive I've done in the car. I can't believe I've had it for over 6 years and never traveled any real distance…

StackOverflow DevDays

Right now I'm at Benaroya Hall for StackOverflow's DevDays. So far it's pretty good. Joel started off the day with a great talk, followed by Scott Hanselman.

Scott (a great speaker btw), was demoing ASP.Net MVC - very impressive. He also noted that beta 2 of Visual Studio 10 just went live for download.

After Scott finished his talk it was announced that Microsoft would upgrade everyone's laptop memory to the maximum out in the lobby. They have boxes of RAM and a load of screwdrivers.

And not only for Windows laptops. They have memory for Macs too - a very nice gesture.

However, it did strike me as amusing that not minutes after announcing Visual Studio 10 beta 2, Microsoft was offering to upgrade the memory in everyones laptops…

Anyhow, up next is Rory Blyth on iPhone development…

On Camera at Google I/O Party

I was wandering around the birds of a feather tables last night at the Google I/O party when I bumped into Robert Scoble who was, as usual, filming people with his cellphone.

I just wanted to say hi, but ended up in the video doing my usual “Sorry Robert, can't tell you a thing about what I'm working on!” - I can't wait to finally let him know what I'm working on… soon.. soon…

Anyhow, it's not often that I appear in the same frames of video with luminaries such as Steve Gilmor and Mark Lucovsky.

You can see me at around the 4:40 mark:


In San Francisco

I'm downtown in San Francisco for the Google I/O conference, staying at the Marriot on 4th Street (the cool one with the 39th floor bar) and realizing that I haven't been here since the 2005 Game Developer Conference.

That's a long time.

Right next door is the Metreon, which is kinda cool and the hotel is handily very close to the conference center.

I recognize this is old hat for most folks, but it's actually kinda nice hanging out in a real city, with things like public transport that work. The BART (which whisked me from the airport to the hotel) is fast, clean and comfortable - if a bit loud. My noise cancelling headphones went into overdrive. I'd been watching Cloverfield (highly recommended btw) on the short flight down, but we landed with 15 minutes of the movie to go. I attempted to watch the rest on the train, but the noise cancelling gubbins was going wild with the ever-changing track/tunnel noise and driving me insane…

Oh, and yes. You need to watch Cloverfield. It's quite excellent :-)

Over For Another Year

Gnomedex is over.


I like this conference. It's open, honest and the attendees are involved. It's our conference.

Congratulation to Chris and Ponzi for keeping it small, focussed and real.

This was my third Gnomedex and it was the same size as the first. Any other organizer would have cashed in. Especially as the conference is in it's seventh successful year.

Nice work guys. I'll be back next year.

My favourite talks? JibJib, GeekBrief.tv, Ignite (man, you should just to two days of that!), Derek Miller, Guy Kawasaki, Ronni Bennet, Darren Barefoot.

My least favourite? Well, the key and caps could've been vetted a little better…

All good though.

Can we do it again next week?

Communication Overload And The Guys From GeekBrief.TV

I'm on Twitter. IRC and Skype for the conference back channels. I'm “blogging”: and taking pictures.

Oh, and I'm listening to the conference.

Up now, the guys from GeekBrief.TV. Heh - Cali Lewis isn't her real name…

Not-Cali and her husband are talking about the early days of the show and how they got into it. They had no experience in video before starting the show - they didn't even own a camera.


They obviously have a passion for what they're doing - their message? Don't worry about being crappy. Just do it. Don't quit.

Photos and Notes From Gnomedex

My photos from Gnomedex are slowly appearing on Flickr.

Darren Barefoot

There are many photographers here. Keep an eye on Kris Krug, Josh Bancroft and Scott Beale.

Of course, the blogging world seems to mostly be here - the Gnomedex Technorati tag is a good one to watch - Todd Bishop from the Seattle PI is also taking notes.

More as it happens…

Gnomedex Kicks Off In Seattle

Gnomedex kicked off last night at the Bell Harbor Convention Center here in Seattle with the usual, and highly fun, reception.

I chatted with some friends that I hadn't seen in person for quite a while - probably since last year's Gnomedex.

Anyhow, the day started early today with the highly energetic and interesting Robert Steele. Man is he imparting information at high bandwidth.

You can follow all the action, live, at the Gnomedex website.

More later…

Google Scalability Conference in Seattle

Google is hosting a conference on large scalable systems on June 23rd in our Seattle office. The call is out for participants.

We care a lot about scalability at Google. An algorithm that works only on a small scale doesn't cut it when we are talking global access, millions of people, millions of search queries. We think big and love to talk about big ideas, so we're planning our first ever conference on scalable systems. It will take place on June 23 at our Seattle office. Our goal: to create a collegial atmosphere for participants to brainstorm different ways to build the robust systems that can handle, literally, a world of information.

This looks like a lot of fun and I'll be going along.

We'll be providing the food :-)

Man, I Suck

I can't think of anything interesting to say. Call it writer's block, call it brain stuck in writing C++ instead of english.

Well actually, I wish I'd been at GDC, it looks like Kim had fun.

So, in payment for my awful writing habits recently (and just for Karen), here's a picture of my daughter taken during my Mum's recent visit…


A Word Of Advice To Conference Organisers

So far, Casuality is providing some great nuggets of content that I'll be writing about in due time, but I had to get this one off of my chest. Sorry for the rant…

What's wrong with this picture?

That's right. The last bullet point.

This was the first slide that conference attendees at Casuality saw this morning and it effectively says:

  • “There's a cool party going on this evening.”
  • “You're not invited.”
  • “No one attending the party paid to attend the conference.”
  • “You're paying for the party.”

Of course, every conference has these parties/receptions and they're obviously a required “thank you” to the presenters, but why rub the paying attendees' noses in it?

In addition the schedule in the printed programme is chock full of sessions that are marked as invite only. Why put them in the program and again annoy the attendees with the information that they're not part of the “in crowd”?

Presumably the people invited to these events actually have an invitation and don't need the handy reminder in the printed schedule.

And why was there no lunch provided? With only a one hour break for lunch, there's not a lot of opportunity to leave the venue and find something, plus the incurred cost of the reduction in schmooze time…

Gnomedex, with a similar size and similar price point seems to find a way to provide way more out-of-session value. Not to mention the incredible food…

Casuality: The Casual Game Developers' Conference - Day One Prequel

Today is the first day of Casuality, the Casual Game Developers' Conference being held today through Thursday in Seattle at the Benaroya Hall - home of the Seattle Symphony.

Benaroya Hall

Seattle is a hotbed of casual game development, with publishers and developers such as Microsoft, Real Networks, PopCap, etc… calling the area home.

With revenues from casual games in the millions and development costs an order of magnitude smaller than “traditional” computer games, it's no wonder that interest in the genre is hotting up.

Anyhow, why am I here?

Well, I'm a game developer (even though I'm working on something in a different space right now) and the conference is local. It was about time I learnt a bit more about the casual games space.

So today started just like normal when I'm attending an event in Seattle. I left way too early - 7am - as I never trust the traffic on the way into town, and arrived very shortly thereafter at 7.30am - a full two hours before the start of the conference.


I bet if I'd left at a sensibly late time I would've been stuck in traffic for hours…

So to kill some time I thought I'd find somewhere for breakfast - something I rarely do.


Just down the street I found a place Harried and Hungry, a bit hipper than my normal haunts, but cheap and they served up a great egg and sausage bagel. Shame about the side of avocado - it went untouched, poor thing. That was the “hip” bit. Recommended.

Back to the venue and it is now 8.30am - I register (first in line); pick up the requisite freebie bag and associated crap and boot up the laptop.

Only another hour to kill…

© 2001 to present, Steve Lacey.