I promise there will be a gratuitously cute post about fair-haired toddlers, full of lots of pictures, sometime soon. For those of you who only come here for such things, please click the “Recent Photos” link on the sidebar for more pictures from Abi’s 2nd birthday.
However, I have something else to blog about today: keynote speakers. One of the huge privledges of my new job is the speakers I get to listen to at conferences. I mentioned before that I got to hear Butler Lampson speak. At Mix in Vegas I attended a session given by Douglas Crockford and another by Bill Buxton. And at TechReady I was in a Q&A with SteveB. One can only hope that whether by osmosis, or actual learning, some of that combined brain power might start to rub off.
But by far the coolest speaker I’ve seen, in person, at one of these events is a man named Dr. Bill Stone, of Stone Aerospace. He’s an extreme caver, having been deeper under the earth than anyone else (who wasn’t in a submarine), a leading robotocist, and a part of the new entreprenuereal space race. His Wikipedia entry is deceptively humble, this lanky, geeky-looking middle-aged guy has a combination of more guts than any extreme athlete you’ve ever seen on TV, and more brains than your average Phd… along with a business sense that’s, at the very least, been good enough to get funding for pretty much the coolest projects ever.
His talk for our audience was an hour long, and everyone in the room was on the edge of their seats for most of it. You can watch a 20 minute version here on YouTube — but be forewarned that whatever you’re doing today that makes you feel productive, will look awful small and ineffectual compared to what this guy is up to…
I’m giving a little talk on Thursday myself — on computer history. Maybe someday I’ll be given the opportunity and passion to speak on something of more lasting value.