report from girl geeks dinners

, posted: 23-Nov-2007 18:15

I flew to Auckland, to check out the very first NZ Girl Geek dinner. There was a great group of women. Karen from Linuxchix turned up, suitably identified by a Tux pin. There were about 25 women all up, but about 8 were recruiters. That's okay, recruiters can be geeks on the weekend. It is extremely unusual to go to a "geek" event, and then be served raw vegetables. There were discussions in our corner of starting a riot but there were only sofas and no chairs to throw. I wonder what would happen if we replaced "Thursday Night Curry" with "Thursday Night Raw Vegetables". :-) Also, there was no dessert! maybe i asked too many questions like: "what do you mean it needs to be licensed?". Nas Khan, a usuability ninja, talked about why you'd want to use silverlight. She spoke about forming an emotional connection with a website. The metaphor of "which do you want, a lada or a beamer" was lost on us Wellington people who can't afford to park either. Nigel Parker, who is employed by microsoft, showed a few examples of things you can do with silverlight. To be honest, i didn't see anything we can't already do with ajax, flash, and a few animated pngs. I agree that action scripting isn't fun, and clientside javascript is slower than compiled payloads -- but i don't think jumping on board with lawyer protected intellectual property, owned by microsoft and licensed for a fee, is the solution. I interupted proceedings a few times with questions such as: "which bits are patented?". Nigel didn't give a full list, he was put on the spot, but indicated it was mostly the codecs used: wma, and the microsoft video formats.. to which i asked "can't we just use ogg instead and move on".. That didn't help, because Nigel had never heard of Ogg Vorbis. He replied that no, you can't use other codecs within silverlight. This was the show stopper for me. I think the "can't" has more to do with "won't work in Internet Explorer" than a real technological or even legal reason, but i'm only guessing. either way, my verdict -- silverlight is just another another macromedia. Until it's genuinely open, and not pushing Microsoft only formats, i'm keeping away. (P.S. why is usuability so hard to type/spell?)

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Wally (Brenda) 
Te Whanganui O Tara
New Zealand