American politics

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When I was visiting my brother in DC I commented that on the walk home one night I had passed in front of the heavily guarded, but otherwise identical building to his in the office complex, as I did every morning and evening. As I passed by it became obvious why there were so many rent-a-cops hanging around all the time — they hadn’t turned the inside lights off, and it was dark inside. The bottom floor was littered with TVs showing news coverage, re-elect Bush posters, and a a few stressed looking staffers.

It’s nice to have one’s suspicions confirmed.

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OLS 2004

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So, OLS 2004 happened. It was good, and my tutorial went ok. It finished 15 minutes early, but it’s really hard to judge how many questions you’re going to get in a two hour talk. Now I should just write up the slides into some sort of tutorial document while I still remember what questions people asked…

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Damien Conway’s Perl 6 talk

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Martin is right — Damien Conway is a fantastic speaker. The new perl 6 actually cleans up a lot of the ugliness I see in perl 5, although I do have to agree that the obsession with making every operator a single character (and therefore using unicode) is evil.

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Bus tour of Ottawa (20 July 2004)

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Today I went on a bus tour of Ottawa. Some things to note — the downtown area near the Rideau center is no where near as neat and clean as it was in DC, which isn’t unexpected. There’s rust everywhere, probably because of the salt they use to melt the snow on roads in the winter. The architecture also strikes me as kinda French too.

A nice town though, worth a visit, although there isn’t masses to see — kinda like Canberra.

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Wandering on National Mall (15 July 2004)

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So, I caught the metro across to National Mall this morning and had a bit a look around. I must say that I am very impressed with the DC metro — it’s clean, fast, cheap, and I haven’t had to wait yet. Admittedly I haven’t caught a metro train in peak hour yet — that’s on the cards tommorrow when I have to go from the Courthouse station to Vienna on the orange line at about 8 am.

Anyways, I went to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum, which was fantastic. I also dropped in to the Capitol building, the Whitehouse, the George Washington monument, and the Smithsonian Natural History museum. I am definitely going to have to bring Catherine and the kids back to here. I think Andrew and Matthew would love it.

Americans seem to be very friendly, and a lot of the things I was expecting haven’t happened — I’ve only met two beggers, and I have felt physically safe the entire time. I have also only been asked once where my accent is from (a security guard at one of the Smithsonians). I do feel a little self conscious having such an obvious accent here, or at least I assume it is obvious.

The security is a little bit over top, but it does result in me feeling very safe.

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US BAP Conference (16 July 2004)

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Went out to the Business Alliance Partners Conference at Landsdown Resort. This is what the US office calls their Value Added Resellers (VARs).

It was a useful experience. It looks like Web Services are really big here, and I fielded quite a few questions about our offering in that area. That made me think about the open source Web Services offerings out there. I’m not really aware of anything which makes writing a Web Service on Linux trivial, but then again I haven’t looked. I should change that sometime soon.

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