I am currently uploading a set of 450 Smalltalks 2009 photos to Picasa. It's going to take a while to perform the upload, they should all be there in a few hours (it's 1pm PST right now).
Update: ~3 hours later, all photos are there. Enjoy!
Friday, November 27, 2009
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Saturday, November 21, 2009
Smalltalks 2009 ended earlier today. We started Saturday with Andrés Fortier's talk on his OpenGL work, which besides having a concise summary of key OpenGL concepts (the fact that it's a state machine, error handling, and the abstractions provided by the library) also had interesting notes about performance optimizations both from the image and OpenGL's points of view. Then it was Travis Griggs' turn to speak about the Cairo and Pango libraries, and the steps he's been taking towards offering richer graphics for Cincom Smalltalk.
After the break, we saw Juan Vuletich's work on Cuis (he showed applications designed to run on 100mhz set top boxes) and Morphic 3 (resolution independent graphics, proper subpixel rendering and antialiasing). Then, Dan Ingalls shared some of his interests and offered a Q&A session. It's noteworthy to see that Smalltalk was so influenced by Dan's insistence on responsiveness (or, as he puts it, it being "lively") and on having fun. I think it's really valuable to hear that from the original sources, and I am happy Dan shared that with the Argentine Smalltalk community at Smalltalks 2009. Finally, Hernán Wilkinson did the closing ceremony, with an invitation to Smalltalks 2010. I did the now traditional honors of producing yet another program for the prize drawings*. Congratulations to all of you that won (including, by chance, Dan Ingalls)!
It's been a wonderful conference this year, and I really like that our FAST foundation goals are becoming a reality. In particular, it is clear that the integration of the Argentine and international Smalltalk communities is well under way. More of the same in 2010, please!
* Perhaps the operation of the drawing program wasn't clear at the time. It's not always easy to convey what we mean when we do it impromptu, sleep deprived and thinking of lunch. I thought I'd explain how it worked here, in a more relaxed environment. When the lottery program came up, it read the list of registered people from disk and shuffled it. So, by the time the names showed up on the screen, they had already been randomized and thus it was just a matter of seeing who was in the room. If you didn't see your name, it's not that you were not in the list --- you were just unlucky to have come at the end of the randomized registrant sequence. But rest assured, I did make sure the drawings were fair and accurate. First, I used a 7.6 VisualWorks image with the lagged Fibonacci random number generator I implemented. This type of generator is described by Knuth as basically the best source of random number sequences known. Moreover, the particular implementation in VisualWorks passes Knuth's own chi square tests. I know because I wrote the tests myself. Finally, just in case, I ran several thousand test drawings earlier this week to make sure the winners had equal chances of winning. Unsurprisingly, the winners were well distributed.
Posted by Andrés at 16:08
Friday, November 20, 2009
Soooo... I just got back from the social event. At 3am :). I'll try a quick summary. First, I should point out that I have been taking pictures, but I have not had a chance to put them online yet. Those should be done no later than early next week. Let's see...
On Thursday there was a cool quote I didn't write about. It was by Alex Warth, and he said that anything called a "design pattern" wasn't very good to begin with on the grounds that "pattern" implies that not a lot of thought is spent before choosing a solution. This resonates well with Tim Mackinnon's (and others) comments about how some people claim to have implemented every pattern in the Design Patterns book --- the problem being that those are not necessarily checkboxes that can grade the quality of your application.
Today I saw cool presentations by Stéphane Ducasse (Traits), and by Simon Denier (Glamour). Then, there was Dan Ingalls' keynote. Well, what to say about it, really. His talk was entitled "40 years of fun with computers". He commented on things he had a lot of fun with and, thus, were dear to him. And really, what it underscores is that what we tend to value the most is our fun. I think it's fitting that, the second he walked on the stage, he was greeted by an ovation. His final remark was (IIRC) "this [referring to having fun, including the conference being fun] is what we made Smalltalk for". Wonderful, really wonderful.
In the afternoon I saw a presentation about an application that automatized roulettes at casinos, all written in Smalltalk (including the simulated roulette machines/games), by Andrés Otaduy and another guy whose name I don't quite remember (I'm sorry!). I also saw Gonzalo Zabala and two others (again, I am so sorry I am forgetting names right now!) demonstrate physical etoys, where you can e.g.: control a bluetooth toy car with a wii's remote, all controlled from Squeak.
After the break, I saw Carlos Ferro's presentation about the Smalltalks 2009 Coding Contest. It was quite interesting as I am quite familiar with the process. In fact, I was credited twice in the presentation (once for writing the Smalltalks 2008 Coding Contest, providing the source code for it and helping out a bit when necessary, and again for SUnit Based Validation). I was also reminded of how much work running a coding contest really is. I got the itch to organize next year's, but... maybe reason will prevail :). Also, I should point out that Valeria Murgia won the contest this year, followed by Félix Madrid in second place and Diego Geffner in third. Congratulations!
After Carlos' presentation came Félix Madrid's presentation on Expecco, which is a graphical tool that allows people other than developers to write tests in terms meaningful to them. In fact, he used Expecco to work on the coding contest. His tests interacted with the web server, and since the interactions were recorded graphically, he could dig through a whole game and see how each command had resulted in different actions over several turns of the game. Then, I saw Adrián Somá's talk on graphical environments for programming. That was really impressive. Essentially, he took some ideas of Morphic Wrappers (like writing on the air), coupled them with a Morphic-like environment, and even reimplemented some of the programming tools to match this environment. Suffice to say that windows are gone. In fact, you have retargetable tools. You can point to the object you want to inspect and have the inspector start inspecting the object you selected (which is great because you no longer have the problem of telling whether two inspectors are open on the same identical object). Expression arguments and receivers are also retargetable by pointing at objects. So is the class browser. Really, really neat.
After the last break, I saw Maximiliano Tabacman's talk on genetic algorithms. He used them for the application he works with, XTrade (yes, genetic algorithms used in a financial application). Finally, I saw Leandro Caniglia's presentation on homological algebra, where Smalltalk was used to deal with incredibly complex mathematical objects derived from tensor products. To give you an idea, the typical sets are tensor products of >5 sets, and several of these are added together in expressions of >5 terms as well, and then you have to see if some operations (which produce even more tensor products) commute or not. In a nutshell, you have to use a computer because, if not, the resulting amount of paperwork is so insane you can make no progress in your original research.
Then, we went to the social dinner which consisted of... asado! :) It was a very nice place, and the photos I took show people had a lot of fun.
Now, I better go to sleep because the conference will continue tomorrow. But first, here are some Thursday photos taken by Alejandro Weil. Enjoy!
Posted by Andrés at 21:55
Thursday, November 19, 2009
I got back from Smalltalks 2009 a while ago. What a conference... is it possible to summarize Stéphane Ducasse's keynote? I found it inspiring, and as others have said before, pointing to the fact that we should be tackling hard challenges as opposed to easy problems. I liked James Foster's introduction to GemStone, particularly because Jose Britti and Esteban Lorenzano showed iBizLog, a GLASS application in which you can make your own web site to sell your products in about 5 minutes --- live demo and everything, quite nice.
In the afternoon, Esteban Lorenzano also showed his iPhone work, and Maximiliano Tabacman talked about XTrade's financial risk management capabilities. Ahhh, those wonderful terms that I got acquainted with some years ago... things like the non-existent greek letter vega are like old friends to me. Tim Mackinnon described several successful methodologies to apply agile planning. I gave a talk on how the fact that there's a VM hides C's complexity from the average Smalltalker, with potentially detrimental effects on efforts to connect to DLLs and OS APIs. Then, Gerardo Richarte showcased several ways to reverse engineer VM JITs, both from a security point of view, as well as to illustrate how to store JITted methods in a DLL for later. This, he did including a precursor of PICs implemented in his own Smalltalk based JIT, in a Smalltalk that didn't have PICs. Finally, Alex Warth gave the second keynote of the day. He spoke about how the fact that there's no seriously powerful undo capabilities in today's applications can prevent users from exploring the system because the consequences of their actions are unknown and potentially dangerous. This is an impediment because, technically, we should have a complete computing system in no more than ~20k lines of code (as opposed to millions of lines of code) so that we can understand it completely.
Sleep well tonight, my friend... the conference continues tomorrow!
Posted by Andrés at 17:58
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
I just got back from Stephane's talk tonight. It was a lot of fun, talking about composition, inheritance, metaclasses, and how to bootstrap an image for the first time. I also took some photos, I will be posting them in a bit. We got to use the large room we had in 2007, in a preview of what will happen tomorrow. 498 registrations... and just a few hours away. Unbelievable.
But let's say you are in Buenos Aires and have not yet decided whether you will go. It's very simple. No te lo podes perder de ninguna manera, no faltes!!!
Posted by Andrés at 17:28
Ok, Smalltalks 2009 is just a few hours away. We're up to 495 registrations right now. Finally, we seem to have leveled off. I am sure that, as in other years, we will get a few registrations at the registration desk. So, basically, I am confident we will reach 500. And even if we don't, well.. 495 is close enough to 500 anyway :).
See you tomorrow!
Posted by Andrés at 12:33
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
Stef gave a lecture at UBA today, and spoke about various topics such as the true meaning of super (can you give a definition?), design patterns, and much more. Here are some photos, courtesy of Alejandro Weil. The pictures are being uploaded as I write this note. Enjoy!
Posted by Andrés at 20:21
Today, the number stands at 477. Just a bit more and we will reach 500 :).
Did you take a look at the schedule yet (pdf)? The conference has keynotes by Dan Ingalls, Stéphane Ducasse and Alex Warth, and presentations about basically any conceivable topic: GemStone (both a presentation and a tutorial), financial risk management, agile methodologies, iPhone applications, VM development and security, Glamour, traits, an application to manage roulettes, physical etoys, how to teach Smalltalk, web frameworks, testing frameworks and methodologies, a talk on Smalltalks 2009's coding contest, better and enhanced IDE tools, genetic algorithms, homological algebra, graphics (OpenGL, Cairo, Morphic 3), Cuis, and a Pharo Sprint. As you can see, there's something for everyone.
Smalltalks 2009: opens on Thursday at a University near you!
Posted by Andrés at 08:41
Saturday, November 14, 2009
Hi there! We're just a few days away from the conference. The registration stands at 459 right now. We published the conference's schedule at FAST's website. Check it out, I can't wait for the conference to start!
Also, I wanted to mention a problem we have noticed. Some of the attendees registered using an MSN live email account. MSN live can reject emails we send them because MSN live thinks our emails are spam. Apparently, there's little to nothing we can do, and the recipients are not even notified about the problem. Thus, please be aware that we are organizing a social dinner event for Friday, November 20th. The cost will be between $60 and $80 pesos per person, roughly speaking. The menu will consist of red meats, with some alternate dishes for those that prefer to eat something else. If you want to attend and have a reserved spot, send us an email at info (@) fast (.) org (.) ar, with a subject line of "[Smalltalks 2009] Social Event / Evento Social".
Posted by Andrés at 11:53
Friday, November 13, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
Friday, November 06, 2009
We're about to finish the conference schedule. In the mean time, however, you can see the list of accepted proposals in the Talks section of FAST's website. Also, the web site says we are just a bit shy of 300 registrations. I can't wait :).
Update: as of right now, Smalltalks 2009 has received 305 registrations.
Posted by Andrés at 16:58
Thursday, November 05, 2009
The Smalltalks 2009 conference is just 14 days away. Right now, the site reports there are 285 registrations, with a good mix of industry and academia. We're almost there with the conference schedule. I can tell you though... this event is something you do not want to miss.
Posted by Andrés at 15:11