Talks for 2008

I’ve given a few talks so far this year, which I’ve been kinda slack about and haven’t put up any slides for yet. So, if you’re one of the zero people who’ve been eagerly awaiting my incredibly astute and sexy opinions, I guess today’s your lucky day, punk!

Earlier this year, on January 2, 2008, Earth Time, I gave a talk at Kiwi Foo Camp in New Zealand, also known as Baa Camp. (Harhar, foo, baa, get it?) The talk was titled “Towards the Massive Media Matrix”, with the MMM in the title being a pun on the whole WWW three-letter acronym thing. (Credit for the MMM acronym should go to Silvia Pfeiffer and Conrad Parker, who phrased the term about eight years ago :). The talk was about the importance of free and open standards on the Web, what’s wrong with the current status quo about Web video basically being Flash video, and the complications involved in trying to find a solution that satisfies everyone. I’m happy to announce that the slides for the talk are now available for download; you can also grab the details off my talks page.

A bit later this year in March, Manuel Chakravarty and I were invited to the fp-syd functional programming user group in Sydney, to give a talk about… monads! As in, that scary Haskell thing. We understand that writing a monad tutorial seems to be a rite of passage for all Haskell programmers and was thus stereotypical of the “Haskell guys” in the group to give a talk about, but the talk seemed to be well-received.

Manuel gave a general introduction to monads: what they are, how to use them, and why they’re actually a good thing rather than simply another hoop you have to jump through if you just want to do some simple I/O in Haskell. I focused on a practical use case of monads that didn’t involve I/O (OMG!), giving a walkthrough on how to use Haskell’s excellent Parsec library to perform parsing tasks, and why you’d want to use it instead of writing a recursive descent parser yourself, or resort to the insanity of using lex and yacc. I was flattered to find out that after my talk, Ben Leppmeier rewrote the parser for DDC (the Disciplined Disciple Compiler) to use Parsec, rather than his old system of Alex and Happy (Haskell’s equivalents of lex and yacc). So, I guess I managed to make a good impression with at least one of our audience members, which gave me a nice warm fuzzy feeling.

You can find both Manuel’s and my slides online at the Google Groups files page for fp-syd, or you can download the slides directly from my own site. Enjoy.

Finally, during my three-week journey to the USA last month in June, I somehow got roped into giving a talk at Galois Inc. in Portland, about pretty much whatever I wanted. Since the audience was, once again, a Haskell and functional programming crowd, I of course chose to give a talk about an object-oriented language instead: Objective-C, the lingua franca of Mac OS X development.

If you’re a programming language geek and don’t know much about Objective-C, the talk should hopefully interest you. Objective-C is a very practical programming language that has a number of interesting features from a language point of view, such as opt-in garbage collection, and a hybrid of a dynamically typed runtime system with static type checking. If you’re a Mac OS X developer, there’s some stuff there about the internals of the Objective-C object and runtime system, and a few slides about higher-order messaging, which brings much of the expressive power of higher-order functions in other programming languages to Objective-C. Of course, if you’re a Mac OS X developer and a programming language geek, well, this should be right up your alley :). Once again, you can download the slides directly, or off my talks page.

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