‘Tis true, ’tis pity…

And pity ’tis, ’tis true…

…that the most interesting periods of my life are the ones when I have the least time to post blog entries. So here’s a quick summary of the recent past.

Less than a week ago, I jumped on a plane to San Francisco and then drove to the O’Reilly campus in Sebastopol, CA for Tim O’Reilly’s FOO Camp.


Of that, much has been written elsewhere, but suffice it to say that I had many interesting conversations with, and listened to fascinating talks by, a remarkable group of people. I also rode several varieties of Segway and other scooter-like devices, perhaps the most impressive being one of Trevor Blackwell’s home-made ones.

On Monday, I headed for the Apple HQ in Cupertino, to visit my old University friend Stuart Cheshire, the chief motive force behind the technology formerly known as Rendezvous, now ‘Bonjour‘. I hadn’t seen him for nearly twenty years, and I remembered him as a Mac enthusiast from college. He was driven to create Bonjour, he said, partly through frustration that TCP/IP was so much harder to use than Appletalk had been, and partly because people seemed to invent a new transport protocol whenever a new connection type came along. Why wasn’t IP used for Bluetooth? And USB? And DECT? And… well, you get the idea. It wasn’t suitable mostly because it needed too much other infrastructure and configuration. And so his Zero Configuration Networking initiative was born. Most networked printers support it now, as do some Linux distributions. And, yes, Windows users can download it too.

On Tuesday, Hap & CD & I went cycling in the wine country around Healdsburg. The weather, the wine, the company and the views were all wonderful, and I have a new-found respect for Zinfandel.

Yesterday morning I was in San Francisco, where I visited Brewster Kahle at the Internet Archive, which lives in a wonderful little building in the Presidio.


The archive is a most inspiring project, aiming, in a nutshell, to make all of human knowledge accessible to everybody. The first conversation I’ve had which used the word ‘petabyte’ while talking in the present tense. A quick trip over the Oakland hills to another winery for a picnic lunch, before heading for the airport.


And now I’m on a train heading out from London to Cambridge. The sky has small patches of blue between big grey rainclouds. But it’s good to be back.

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© Copyright Quentin Stafford-Fraser