So, I feel really out of touch. Seems like the majority of the authors on my news aggregator scan were all blogging from the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference this week. For some reason, I hadn't even heard of it until last week. This mystifies me. I can't believe I hadn't checked this conference out long ago and found a way, by hook or by crook, to get my butt over there. Seems like they covered an alarming number of the topics about which I'm fascinated. But, beyond the content of the conference itself, I would have loved to witness firsthand the phenomena of an audience full of bloggers tick-tacking away in realtime. And I so would have been running EtherPEG on my iBook like Rob Flickenger was.

It's been forever since I managed to get out to a technical conference. Not that I managed to globe-trot with any great frequency before the Internet bubble burst, when money was flush and expense reports were easy, but I was starting to feel like I was making inroads into a community. Now I feel cloistered in over here at my company and I don't know if my employer necessarily sees a value in me attending things like this. Marketing and sales make heroic efforts to streak around from coast to coast-- man, I don't envy them-- but I always stay here. Sometimes I wonder if it's because they're afraid I might let some of the mojo slip. But that's being pretty presumptious of the quality of the mojo I make here. :) (For what it's worth, there are nervous chuckles when I talk about Open Sourcing bits of my work.)

This is starting to sound like spoiled geek whining. It isn't that I want the company sugar-daddy to fly me to Milan every month-- I just start feeling a bit isolated and claustrophobic working with the same few dozen people, only a tiny handful of whom are actually technically-minded, week in and week out. So it's nice to feel a part of a wider community of like- or at least relatedly-minded people who are passionate about this stuff.

I'm an obsessive nerd. This is what I tell people who ask me, "Don't you get tired doing this all the time," or, "Why do you have more than one computer?" When talking to myself (as I often do) or to other geeks, I call it passion. I appreciate passion for its own sake, and I love talking to other impassioned people.

I always try to be tenative about my pretensions, but here goes another one: All the way back to when people were dingy, loin-cloth-clothed stereotypical and mythical cavemen sitting around comfy fires, there was always some oddball or scrawny thing who insisted on playing around at the edge of the firelight and further. Or banging around with an odd pair of rocks, making sharp things.

I want to hang out more with my fellow rock bangers.