Luke Melia


November 23, 2002

11/23/02, 3:47 pm – Boston Breakdown

The return train ride from Boston was so convenient that I went grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s in Boston before I came home. It seems crazy, but it was no more or less hassle than shopping at Whole Foods here in Chelsea. And with good balsamic vinegar for $1.69, how could I resist?

It was a good trip, overall. The conference had interesting parts. I mostly followed the .NET track and also went to a class about XML Schemas. The keynote by James Golsing (inventor of java) was pretty cool. Gosling is working with NASA on a Mars rover project. He lamented the “testing problem” they had on that project.

I found the conference to be bit souless. There are various reasons for it, I imagine: The attendance was down considerably from when I attended two years ago. The attendees are primarily corporate developers. And the target audience is broad: software development is no longer a niche but rather a category full of hundreds of niches. The spirit of the smaller and more focused Meet the Makers conference I went to was much more engaging.

Nevertheless, I learned some stuff, had a few days away from it all, got to see Emily, and also got to spend time with my Uncle Jamie.

My uncle manages a nice restaurant called “Stephanie’s on Newbury.” We had dinner there one night and in Chinatown another night. He aso gave me a nice driving tour of Boston, including the spectacular new bridge. My uncle is the self-described outsider of the family and also the most politically conservative in a pretty liberal clan. Our conversations were wide-ranging and interesting.

A lot of discussion focused around issues raised by “Bowling For Columbine,” which I saw in the movie theater near my hotel. My uncle is a member of the NRA. I’m pretty anti-gun, but pro civil liberties. The political influence that the NRA has over some politicians disgusts me. Still, I would agree that Americans should be allowed to have certain categories of weapons, until we make changes to the Second amendment. I don’t think such constitutional changes are likely, but if the American people ever did jointly decide to say no to guns, it would be a glorious day.

Anyway, the food and atmosphere at the restaurant was excellent. I’m working on a website for him, which will launch in the next few weeks.

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