Two men.

Man, last week was busy, but included the watching of a couple of good presentations, which I shall now describe to you in a wholly inadequate fashion.

On Thursday, the FogBugz World Tour rolled into KW, and Andrew and I, being the savvy, nerdtastic types that we are, played some hooky and headed down to deepest, darkest downtown Kitchener.

I admit I was a bit surprised when I saw Waterloo on the preliminary list of stops. I mean, we do have a pretty thriving tech industry, and quite good entrepreneurial husbandry, but the other stops on the tour are places like New York, San Francisco, and the jewels of The Continent.

I was even more surprised when the list came out and the venue was the Walper Terrace. I mean, KW sucks for hotel and conference space, but fortunately, we know it, or are finally realizing it (especially since they realized we’ve been losing out on events and things because of it). With any luck, once the Barrel Yards development at Erb and Father David Bauer Drive happens, it should help. Still, we can do better even now than the Walper. Though I have to give props to a hotel that actually does high tea.

Anyway, I don’t know how many folks actually showed, but I believe 75 were expected. Being a big nerd sausage party, I was one of four total women there. Woohoo! We drank less than stellar coffee, and looked around at other geeks who were looking around, too (a networking event populated pretty much entirely by geeks is fairly amusing). Did chat a bit with an apologetic Sales dude who’s into Linux.

Didn’t get a chance to talk to Mr. Spolsky, since he was pretty much monopolized the whole time, and given that we didn’t have any urgent business or pressing questions, I didn’t really see a lot of point in being a pushy dame. (Shut up.)

The presentation was a run-through of FogBugz 6.0, which is definitely a slick bit of software, and the way they think certainly makes a lot of real world sense. Of course, while I’m in QA, I’m not exactly in a position to mandate adoption of the product. For now… 🙂 Mr. Spolsky presents well; one imagines the extreme familiarity with the product and the presentation helps. And there were nerd jokes, which is good times. One so rarely hears someone make cracks about lolruses at seminars.

Lots of questions afterwards, most of which were about the product, but a handful of which were related to management issues. (The people there were definitely fans and well-versed in Mr. Spolsky’s writings.) I find it’s usually a sign of a good presentation when there’re lots of questions that aren’t of the “Huh?” variety.

Anyway, we headed out after the Q&A and hunted down good coffee (down the street at A Matter of Taste), then headed back to the salt mines. I also went to a diabetes screening at work and learned that I might be hypoglycemic. Educational day.


In other news, during the Film Fest Andrew got to attend Everything to Gain: A Conversation with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter. For those of us less lucky, it played on TVO on Friday night. Apparently Andrew can be seen in the crowd at the beginning, but I didn’t see it.

Jimmy Carter seems like such a reasonable and decent and smart and nice human being it seems a bit of a head-scratcher in this day and age that he was once the President of the United States. I am not all that well-versed in his presidency, but really, I don’t care. Far as I’m concerned the measure of the man can be taken in his work since then, which has been doing good.

Hell, I liked him at first sight simply based on how he looked at his wife. 61 years into their marriage, and that’s some serious smitten-hood. Aww. Mrs. Carter is no less lovely or sharp than her husband, either, and the perfect example of a real southern lady — impeccable manners and diplomacy, but I suspect you really wouldn’t want to mess with her. 🙂

The brilliance of the interview was in how President Carter illustrated that the exact opposite of everything that’s been going on in the middle east is not only the right course of action, but the most reasonable one. Seems almost strange these days that the pursuit of peace was once the top order of business.

And hell, for someone with my memory and organizational (yes, anal) tendencies, a man who remembers the names of all eight of the Egyptian President’s grandchildren is a man after my own heart. (Especially given that that gesture sounds like it might well have saved the peace accord.)

His description of fundamentalism was brilliant in its clarity and simplicity, and his philosophy seemed to centre around “work with what you’ve got”, and “don’t assume the worst”. He is also a man, like Johnny Cash, whose religious convictions don’t bother me in the least. It is possible to be a person of deep faith, and to be guided by that faith, but to do so in such a way that doesn’t insist that everyone else is wrong, or that you consider yourself better than anyone else.

Anyway, I’m not describing the excellence of the experience very well, but highly recommended if you get a chance to see it. (Andrew’s seen the accompanying documentary Man from Plains as well, which is about the promotional tour for Carter’s most recent book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, but I haven’t yet.)

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