On the Tuesday evening before I left, we had some pure fun, attending the “Developer’s Lounge”, organized by Sun but attended by a menagerie of geeks, every flavor. Think of a short unconference with free food and beer.
The tone was, to use an old word, jolly. Which is a word I that often goes through my mind when thinking of Japanese culture. The difference is, younger geeks in general and the Ruby community in particular take it further, just a damn cheerful bunch of people, and a pleasure to be with. I think this picture captures some of it.
There wasn’t a single droning speaker. Mind you, there was nothing like a podium, just a projector balanced on a stool, you balanced your laptop on another to plug in, and then you had to compete with a bunch of well-oiled geeks who’d be just as happy to argue with each other about Web frameworks as listen to you.
I don’t know who this fellow is, but that’s what it was like.
My Talk · I gave 15 minutes on the Atom Publishing Protocol. I talk the APP up a lot these days, but it’s mostly sociological arm-waving about what it means. I was tired of that, and these guys were geeks, so I pointed the Ape at Joe Gregorio’s test server and walked them through the HTTP back-and-forth, blow by blow, explaining what was happening.
It was a blast. I’ll be honest; quite a few of the faces had expressions that I guess meant “WTF is this deranged gaijin doing showing screens-full of angle brackets and HTTP headers?!?” But then there were some other faces who obviously actually understood HTTP and you could see them getting it right there and then. I think I’ll have to do this talk format more often.
The Mastermind · The lounge is the creation of Akihito Fujii.
There’s a much more businesslike picture of Fujii-san speaking at a conference here (scroll down a bit). This event is a totally wonderful idea; we at Sun should do this in a lot more cities (or if we don’t, someone else should).
If you’re in Tokyo, I totally recommend the Lounge. It’s invitation-only, so you’ll have to send Fujii-san a note. Remember, firstname.lastname@example.org.