May 12, 2009 oslo

Olso”: Hot or Not?

A coupla weeks ago, I did two days with of meeting, greeting, talking and interviewing at a Dutch company in The Netherlands named Sioux. They do a conference with the politically incorrect name of Hot or Not, which includes an even more politically incorrect picture of two women as part of their advertising, one lovely and one… less so. They have done this conference 12 times before (I was lucky number 13, just like Bilbo) and the goal is to have someone known for a particular technology come and give a talk, e.g. Alan Cox on Linux, and then rate the technology as Hot” or Not.” Since they couldn’t get someone good for Oslo, they had to settle for me.

I spent day one having lunch with the Sioux engineers who were very insightful in their questions about how models fit into their process (all kinds of ways), how it works for embedded systems (XML generation), how it works across platforms (MSC and OSP, baby!), etc. After lunch, I had time to work on my demos and slides (whew) and play with a desktop electron microscope. We must’ve spent an hour looking through fly parts at 26,000 times magnification. They build seriously cool software at Sioux!

My Oslo” talk was 2.5 hours long with a 30 minute cocktail break. I thought the Dutch were loud before the alcohol was served, but that was nothing… : )  There were 120 attendees in the room they’d set aside for me, and they’d turned away another 60 more that had wanted to come. I did Don Box and Doug Purdy’s Lap Around Oslo” talk with a German twist (“this picture of the Fairytale Castle is a model, not the castle itself”), David Langworthy’s M talk (“let’s parse a simple sentence”) and showed off Spork, WIX, MUrl and MService. The audience’s questions were even more insightful, e.g. what about schema versioning? Why a new language? How do you debug a declarative language? Can I embed languages in each other? What if I want to use an M language without a database at all?

At the end, I was awarded a book on Dutch culture (very useful! Now I know why the bicycles throw themselves in front of my car and why it wasn’t such a big deal as I thought for me to have to drive up on the sidewalk a little…). And then, without so much as a courtesy screen, the vote was called right in front of me – thumbs up, Oslo hot” or not?” I was to learn later that this is a serious thing – they’ve rated at least one technology as only 30% hot.

Luckily for my pride and my continued employment, Oslo was rated 98% hot. That made the magazine interviewing the next day much less embarrassing I’ll tell you!