Seven Days Later

Well, where did that week go?

When we last talked I was about to get on a plane in Copenhagen and fly, via Frankfurt and Montreal, back home to Charlottetown. And I did. The flying was uneventful, and even featured a bit of Air Canada friendliness: I was able to get moved, thanks to a helpful gate agent in Frankfurt, from a middle seat to a lovely exit-row seat with endless leg room, making the trip across the Atlantic much, much more pleasant.

Tuesday morning I hit the ground running getting the wireless Internet set up for the Access 2009 conference, conveniently being hosted next door to our house in Murphy’s Community Centre. What was supposed to be an easy morning of Cisco setup turned into a two-day battle that ended up with the donated Cisco gear back in its packing boxes and my home Meraki gear set up to serve the conference – a big jump from serving the CBC Kids needs of Oliver to serving the network needs of 100+ systems librarians. In the end it all worked out – more on this later – and by Thursday I was ready to start assembling my own Access 2009 talk, scheduled to be delivered first thing Friday morning.

As is my habit, this was a “just in time” assemblage after several months of rumination, and what I ended up with was something I called Applications vs. Capabilities (you can find the slides here; the video should be along soon). The general idea was that you can design a system by creating applications, or you can design a system by building capabilities: I argued that we used to do the later, but since industrialism we’re doing more of the former, especially in libraries.

Friday morning arrived and I managed to get the talk out without collapsing from jet lag or lapsing into confused babble. The response fell into two distinct camps: “I’ve felt the same thing for a long time” and “you have no idea about what libraries are about.” It’s always fun to talk to the library audience, as they’re all smart people doing interesting things, and if I managed to influence a few of them in the capabilities direction, I’m happy.

With the presentation out the door, I returned to my role as father, and Oliver and I spent the rest of Friday rambling about, finishing up with a great Toy Story / Toy Story 2 double bill in 3D at Empire Theatres with my mother (we used the new-style online ticketing system, prompted by Billy’s blog post and it worked well).

Saturday morning I took in Mark Leggott’s parade of acronyms at Access (buried beneath the acronyms is some exciting work) and the joined the regular Saturday morning market routine with Oliver and my mother, which culminated in an impulse purchase of a Nintendo Wii, something that’s been entertaining us ever since (and has turned Oliver into a bowling fiend).

Finally today I’m back in the office banging out code after two weeks away.

Regular programming will resume Monday.


Billy's picture
Billy on October 5, 2009 - 02:51

Welcome back to the island Peter. Thanks for the link. I love the new online ticketing service. There are a lot of good movies out right now I want to go see.

Anyway, welcome back home.

Martin Cathrae's picture
Martin Cathrae on October 6, 2009 - 14:45

Hi Peter, we haven’t met before (besides commenting on flickr) and I didn’t have a chance during Access to introduce myself. But I enjoyed your talk, and it mostly made sense to me. I guess I have a bit of a grey area where I’m not sure of the dividing line between capability and application. Perhaps it is just a bit of a grey area, like your example where google’s search is your search capability, while the libraries search is an application.

Anonymus's picture
Anonymus on October 9, 2009 - 23:13

When we last talked…”

You knew I read the blog aloud? Got to stop leaving the Webcam on!

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