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[Comments] (2) I Got Hit By A Junk Car: I got email from a guy who wanted to know if he could subscribe to only my technical entries and skip the stuff about awesome dinosaurs and my boring life. Well, you can subscribe to a specific category, and although I don't use categories as much as I used to, I have been filing REST entires under "rest", which is probably what you want to subscribe to. (Here's the RSS feed.) And in fact you might want to do that now because I'm going to talk about the sensory overload experience that is Foo Camp.

The bizarre thing about Foo Camp is that you are constantly meeting interesting people. It never stops. Five minutes before Fitz and I left, we met Molly Wheeler, who works at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale. I thought this was awesome because I love old books and manuscripts. Fitz thought it was awesome because he is a couple steps removed from a bunch of ancient manuscripts that are, for reasons too complicated to go into here, rotting in boxes.

I was afraid I would spend all my time with the few people I already knew, but that didn't happen, possibly due to huge overcompensation on my part. After a few minutes of conversation I felt my conversant was getting disturbingly close to being someone I knew, and I started feeling uncomfortable talking to them. As Robert said on the way back to San Francisco, "I think I'm going to need two or three days of not talking to anybody, just to process everything."

I had excellent conversations with people I'd really wanted to meet, like Bryan O'Sullivan, Scott Berkun, Carl Malamud (note to self: write separate entry), Teresa Nielsen Hayden (who encouraged me to make a submission to Viable Paradise, which I will do when I get home), Matt Webb (previously mentioned as holder of world's most awesome job), and Brewster Kahle.

New paragraph. I was boring Brewster about how the Internet Archive is great as a huge storage unit for individual files, and okay as a way to find individual files, but very bad when it comes to automatically processing or transforming large amounts of raw data. You have to find and download all that data, process it locally, and only then can you upload your derivative works back to the Archive. I'll have more to say about this later, but at this point in the conversation we were mercifully distracted by a junk pickup with a junk gasifier in the bed.

Someone (probably owner John Rinaldi, though he's not on the Foo Camp guest list) showed us how it worked, filled it up with walnut shells, and started burning off the hydrogen and carbon monoxide to heat up the system. After a brief run-in with security (there was no nearby fire extinguisher), probably-John-Rinaldi fired up the engine and started directing the hydrogen and carbon monoxide into it. Then he started driving around. Brewster and I and several other people crowded in and it was a lot like taking a ride in a junky 1975 GMC pickup, except with a slight odor of walnut. The driver claimed a ratio of 20 pounds of walnut shells to 1 gallon of fuel, and a price of $20/ton for walnut shells, and all those 2*10xes give a fuel price of $0.20 a gallon. You do have to keep shovelling them in, though.

More later.


Posted by Susie at Tue Jun 26 2007 10:41

Sometimes I wish I could just read the entries about your boring life, but then I end up missing stuff.


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