August 01, 2004

Pies away anyway

Well, as you've probably already heard, I did get pied after all at OSCON. Since the stories have been a bit muddled, I figured I'd stir the waters a bit myself.

Originally the plan was for Guido to toss a pie at me (from 10 paces, at which range pies are... inaccurate) since I didn't meet the terms of the bet. I'd baked a pair of Key Lime pies for the event--I realize they're nowhere near traditional, but I figure if I'm going to be pasted with one, it's darned well going to be tasty. The room I was in at the time had an oven (long story, don't ask) and there's an upscale Safeway (regional supermarket chain) about 10 blocks from the con hotel (at the corner of 10th and Jefferson), so it wasn't a big deal. Key Lime pies are dead easy to make if you cheat and use a predone crust, and pretty simple even if you don't (this time I did).

So, I stood up in front of the Python Lightning talk audience and conceded. Guido, quite graciously, declined to toss the pie, and instead the two pies I made got taken down to the Apple reception and served out. That did disappoint the audience some, though almost everyone out for blood was from the perl side of things. They can cope.

Afterwards Fotango took some of us out for dinner, which was cool. (As was the discussion. I'm now pondering 3D Postscript) And that's where things got interesting.

Also happening that evening was the Perl Foundation auction. This is an annual event (though part of the tradition is to leave off planning for it until the last minute, so almost nobody knows about it in time--maybe someone should put in for a BOF slot for 2005 now), going on at about the same time as dinner. Turns out my boss was at the auction. I found this out when I got a phone call that went something like "They want to auction off hitting you with a pie. You game?" It's for a good cause (TPF's helped out Parrot with both equipment and people grants) so I volunteered, with a caveat--$500 minimum bid. Now, this wasn't a toss from a distance--this was a full on, right in front pie splot. No chance of missing with it.

Yeah, I did figure it was unlikely that this'd happen, since I knew the auction was slow. (If this'd been YAPC::EU I'd have said 1000 euro minimum and figure on a 80%+ chance it'd happen) I was the last thing on the list, and the auction lasted long enough that I was actually there when the auctioning happened.

And, of course, they managed it. Granted, it took a bunch of folks throwing cash in, but with a grand total of $520 (give or take a few bucks, I don't remember the exact amount) the pie was won. Schwern, as the largest contributor, got the honor of pie delivery. That's how one of the pies got delivered.

Since I was getting pied by the perl community, there was no way we could legitimately not give Guido his own shot. He'd passed so as not to pie me, but since I was getting pied anyway, well, he deserved his shot.

From there we had some scrambling for the second pie. (It probably would've helped if I realized we needed it before Friday morning, and moreso if I'd actually told people why I wanted someone to get a second pie) And more scrambling for time for the pie-ing. We'd figured it'd happen after the second morning keynote Friday, but instead it happened before Milton's closing keynote. For the best, really, as a lot of folks bailed on the second keynote, and I'm pretty sure that the reason that at least some folks stayed for it was for the pie-ing. (Not the fault of the speaker. The first keynote was about a phenomenally cool map collection and the software that was written to manipulate and serve it up to the world. The second keynote was some guy from Novell. Even if he didn't seem dull he was doomed)

Then there was the pie-ing itself. Here we should make an important safety tip: Always check with the con staff for impromptu things, not the hotel staff! That would've saved quite a lot of plastic sheeting, as the hotel folks got a bit enthusiastic and covered the entire stage and everything on it with plastic, half of which got taken down again, since undoing it after the event would've taken far too long. (Amazingly, the phrase "stage condom" wasn't actually uttered in public, at least not into a microphone)

The pie-ing itself was as you'd expect. Guido got the first splatting, and Nick Clark got the second. (Schwern passed the privilege on) Nick said something with the pie, but I didn't catch it, having Baker's Ear at the time. (Yes, I had an earful of cream pie. An eyeful too--I ended up tossing a pair of contacts a day early because they had a film of pie on 'em. Which is something worth keeping in mind if you're getting pied) There are, I'm sure, dozens, if not hundreds, of pictures of me getting splatted, and I fully expect 'em to all end up on the web. There may well be video too. The ballroom was wired for video and one of the last things Nat said before all the fun was "Look into the camera", so I bet there'll be mpegs of it too.

Posted by Dan at August 1, 2004 06:42 AM | TrackBack (1)

So a business plan for TPF:

1: Ship Dan to Belfast for less than €1000
2: Pie!
3: Profit.

Posted by: Nicholas Clark at August 1, 2004 05:56 PM

Though I didn't witness the pie delivery, it's good to know you were a good sport about it. :-)

Posted by: Jeremy Zawodny at August 1, 2004 07:10 PM -- pictures!

Posted by: theorbtwo (James Mastros) at August 2, 2004 06:13 AM

And one more thing... even though most of the development was done at the last minute, the implementation wasn't all THAT bad. If the lack of a pie motivator means that things get dropped here, well, that's too bad. But now that Iron Python is starting to get a rep as "faster than CPython", wouldn't it be nice if by NEXT year the Parrot version blew them *both* out of the water.

Posted by: Michael Chermside at August 2, 2004 03:42 PM

IronPython was slower than CPython, though only by a bit (4%), when using Microsoft's VM. It was significantly slower with the Mono VM, but it also tripped what looked like a degenerate case or bug in the GC, so there aren't any real numbers there. (Certainly not fair to quote the bad ones)

Still, it's close enough to be viable, which is interesting in and of itself. I admit that given the ActiveState experience and some of .NET's architectural designs I'd expected it to be worse than it was. Guess we'll just have to do better to show what happens when your VM design matches the language design. :)

FWIW, we are going to finish the python translator. I'm shooting for an end of August for a reasonably final release.

Posted by: Dan at August 2, 2004 04:06 PM

Javascript missuse alert, this links to static html.

Python, PHP and a smalltalk type language all partially working, wow. Dan, Can we get a quick overview or roadmap type thing of where Parrot development is headed for the remainder of the year?

Posted by: SimpleSimon at August 2, 2004 04:26 PM

"Nick said something with the pie, but I didn't catch it"

It was "Look, Perl 6!" intended to get you to turn your head so he could pie you in the ear.

Posted by: MichaelSchwern at August 4, 2004 08:19 AM

"Nick said something with the pie, but I didn't catch it"

It was "Look, Perl 6!" intended to get you to turn your head so he could pie you in the ear.

Posted by: MichaelSchwern at August 4, 2004 08:19 AM

Sad... sad about all this story, after all, you could have handed it well and put the python folks back in their seats... but you did not. Perhaps you were scared to be right. You made some damn (To condemn; to declare guilty; to doom; to adjudge to punishment; to sentence) progress with Parrot. Not showing them out is a shame. Be proud of your work. Perhaps not in a so short time, but it's Your fault if You did not start earlier. The funny pie affair ended up quite nicely, you will finish up all the benchmark tests and show to everybody the work you made with Leo. No joke, no "my laptop is dead", Numbers! The pie would have been in some G named guy... and who really cares about the pie?

One would be rather disapointed if the perl 6 VM was running on half a circle and half a square wheel... You didn't made that, isn't it? No, not with Mr Toetsch, you made parrot to be a good and speedy virtual machine. Just show that. Peoples like results.

This is a reproach. (Give not thine heritage to reproach. - Joel 2_17. A cause of blame; shame; disgrace)

You have my best Wishes for your Project.

PS: Sorry for my poor english, it's not my mother tongue.
Words definitions are from

Posted by: `P6Lurker at August 4, 2004 07:03 PM

3d postscript? Clipping with surfaces and volumes?

Sounds kinda cool, really.

More info?

Posted by: johan at August 6, 2004 11:43 AM

Yep, clipping with surfaces and volumes, though doing it does make things interesting. (Do you have a 2D stroke line you move across the surfaces to make the volumes? A 3D "pen"? Is there an orientation to the surface for the pen? Stuff like that)

No, I don't have more info. It was just something we were tossing around because of some of the other stuff that'd come up. (Which, no, I don't think I should talk about, unfortunately. Though they were really cool...)

Posted by: Dan at August 6, 2004 11:51 AM

More info on pies:

Posted by: D at August 6, 2004 05:39 PM

Wow, last time I was at the Safeway at 10th and Jefferson, people were shooting up outside. We call it the Unsafeway.

Upscale? Whaaa?

Posted by: dave at August 12, 2004 12:30 AM

I dunno -- I walked there from the Mariott on the waterfront. The neighborhood was nice, the safeway itself was darned spiffy (I kinda liked the brickwork exterior and expanse of glass in the entryway) and the folks inside were pretty well-off looking. Lots of business attire and trendy people.

Granted I was there at 9PM on a wednesday. It might've been "Cool Hour" or something. :)

Posted by: Dan at August 12, 2004 08:29 AM

I think Python + Parrot will be great for Parrot and for Python.

Hopefully it'll make fun things like microthreads, continuations,
Python Lisp implementations, etc possible in Python. And these will
likely be more maintainable than C hacks on the Python codebase
(eg Stackless). Also, it will be great to see all the open
(powerful) languages interoperate on a common bytecode machine.

I hope you get the benchmarks working!

Posted by: Connelly Barnes at September 1, 2004 08:03 PM