Sunday, June 03, 2007

unreasonable acts and impossible things

Continued from unreasonable-acts-and-impossible-things part 1.

Part 2. Impossible.

The Google folks had very sensibly chosen to start their Developer Day 2007 at midday (registration from 11am), this meant I was able to buy a cheap(ish) rail ticket getting me into Paddington at 11:20am. I think it was about 11:55 when I walked through the door of the Brewery, and perhaps because it was so close to the kick-off I didn't have to queue for my pass and goody bag. I was a little disappointed that my pass just had my name on it, since when I registered I'd given myself the title Technical Wizard. Oh well, maybe next time.

I'll not attempt to summarise the talks, since others will surely do a better job, and many of them are available on youtube - see

Anyway, being one of the last to arrive I sat at the back of the hall only vaguely aware of computer graphics being shown on a screen at the front of the hall as loud music played. Soon the keynote began with Chris DiBona talking about Google's relationships with open source and Ed Parsons talking about mapping and the like - all good stuff. Then it was back downstairs for the free lunch.

The first session after lunch was more about open source. It's good to see Google regarding both the use and contribution to open source projects as strategic activities. The next session was Peter Birch's "Google Earth and the GeoWeb". Early in this presentation was a demonstration of a time line of buildings in London. It's well worth a look, see This answered one of the questions I had about support for time and animation. Another of the Wepoco team had suggested that I make the Google developers aware that in meteorology we use at least five different sorts of time. What he meant was that unlike events that have happened, events that are forecasts to happen have several time parameters associated with them, such as when the forecast is for, when it was produced, when it is valid, the cut off time for observations used for the forecasts, and others I forget right now. After the talk I walked up to the front to ask Peter about using time in different ways but as I passed the screen at the front I was stunned to see the graphics being shown between sessions included the Wepoco website - shouldn't that be impossible? How many websites are there in the world? How could any selection, random or otherwise include ? The site has almost no traffic and pretty much only provides information of use to people who don't yet have access to the Internet! But there it was - an impossible thing! It completely threw me, I had no idea what it meant. I'm not sure even now, three days later, I know what it means, but it didn't half make Alberto excited when I told him the next day - once he had decided I wasn't making it up. Helped greatly by Google's blog search which revealed -

It's probably good for Google that I went to the Developer Day alone, otherwise I suspect they might have had to deal with a bunch of drunk Wepocoists when the free beer arrived in the evening.

So now let's see if this bit of unplanned publicity can help Wepoco escape from the tar pit. I do hope so.

(19/06/2007) The Google Developer Day mashup video is now on youtube

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