A few notes from Bart Barnard (no pictures, his phonebattery was out):
Building blocks for true internet applications (Jess Barr - Amazon.com)
Most programmers or students use lack of hardware-resources as one of the reasons their project did not meet the expectations the teachers (or themselves) initially had of it. If we had more computing power, they say, we could have made this or that feature working, we could have some more work done in the little time that was available for the project, or the query would not have taken as long as it does now.
Jeff Barr from Amazon.com has put the lie to these kinds of arguments. Being, in his own words, a real web-service evangelist, he introduced the gathering to the other Amazon.com, the one that at the moment has three data-centers (two in the US, one in Ireland) that enable everybody to get as much computing-power as they need on the fly, for a very little amount of money. Amazon has created web-services that take care of all the muck (as the other guy from Amazon, Jeff Bezos, used to call it) of programming, such as load-balancing, initializing servers and services and that kind of more mundane work. Once registered, users can fire up servers using a FireFox-extension and ssh to them immediately. If needs be, another server can be fired up using the exact configuration of the first one.
This kind of 'working in the cloud' appears to become the new way of programming and managing data. There is no longer any need to have all the hardware or the resources available locally; you put data 'in the cloud' (the Amazon data-center) and access it when and where you need it..
A word about catering
Though it is obvious that we are here to learn be get inspired, when one pays twothousand euros to attend a conges in London, I think it is not too much to ask to have a nice, enjoyable lunch in the afternoon-break. Perhaps I am not the most low-maintainance-person when it comes to food, but I think that professional caterars should be able to come up with something more creative than rice and beans when you ask for a non-meat luncheon. As a desert, I decided to have some kind of apple-cake, which was so juicy that I was unable to cut it with the side of my fork (as Wilhelm II used to do, but the side of his fork was sharpened especially for that purpose). But the knives where no longer provided at that time. I did not mind much, as the part of the cake I did manage to eat was not particullarly tasteful.
Also, I understand the need for networking during the lunch-break; one of the goals of this kind of conferences is networking, is it not (no, I am not talking about TCP/IP or IPv6, but of people exchanging business-cards). So during lunch we do not supply chairs and tables, so that the attendees are forced to walk about and talk to each other. The result? People sitting on benches near windows (as I am doing now) or even on the ground, not realy interacting with newly-met, but checking their mail, chatting via their mobile, or entering text for the blog of the conference. I think the network-need is better served with the drinks and tapas this evening, so please let me have my lunch in a decent manner.