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Monday 13 August 2012

Q&A with Dawid Weiss

Hey folks! During the holiday season the updates have been overly scarce. You might have noticed that a few more videos have appeared on our vimeo channel - after the holidays we will continue to upload them more regularly

In the meantime, we'd like to treat you to a Q&A with Dawid Weiss. The answers have been waiting to be published for quite a while, but we didn't manage to squeeze them in during the pre-conference month. Enjoy!

Dawid Weiss

What was your first computer? How old were you? What did you do with it?

My first computer?... Hard to tell. Those were the days where not many people "had" a computer... and if somebody did it was closer to collective ownership because you'd have half the neighborhood at your house trying to play river raid or something (the other half was female). The first computer I programmed was Unipolbrit 2086 that a friend had... then there was Atari 800XL that my friend had... and then I actually owned an Atari 800 XE which was my introduction to assembly (and BASIC). A couple years later I switched to an Amiga 1200 -- it was an awesome piece of hardware. I even bought a hard drive at some point.

I primarily used my computers for writing assembly (demos, intros, other stuff that made little sense). Had a few favorite games, but didn't play that much... was too busy with writing my own game called "Wacus the Detective" which was later sold to LK Avalon. I was extremely proud of that (and I still am).

What will the next revolution be about?

I've no idea, really. There seems to be a big paradigm shift to dynamic languages with cool features that mix functional languages, imperative languages, dynamic typing... Hard to tell where all this is heading. I am definitely amazed by progress done in hardware -- I mean, take a look at memory capacity on a typical sd card... Say, a 32 GB card -- if we paid 1 penny for one byte then that single card would be worth 34359 million dollars. That's pretty much an annual Google revenue. And this is only a freaking pendrive, now think of petabyte databases -- a petabyte is 6 times to the sun and back if we count a millimeter per byte. These are cosmic numbers. Software is not that impressive ;)

Are there enough women in IT? Why do you think so?

I don't have any opinion on this, really. If there aren't enough women in IT there are probably reasons for this disproportion that go beyond trivial matters. Would a woman spend long hours bent over a keyboard or would she rather manage a team of men that does it (and hence be a manager)? I was working as a special aid for some time in my life and there was a vast majority of women in that profession... I guess overall it's all kind of equal.

"Wacus the detective" title screen
Dawid's game title screeen ;) Copyright 1997 L.K. Avalon

Why are you coming to speak at GeeCON?

It's in Poznan so I don't need to spend anything on travel and accommodation. Kidding, kidding. I really like the profile GeeCON has -- a mix of different things, great speakers and vibrant atmosphere. It's a privilege to speak at such a conference.

What is the most important part of a programmers conference?

I don't attend that many to know for sure, but any event with public presentations should spread knowledge that goes beyond trivial matters I think. And do it effectively, possibly with a touch of humor to make 8 hour sessions bearable.

What do you want to teach the youngest and bravest developers? What message do you want to send?

Oh man... I don't know. "Listen and you'll be heard" or something? I was an academic for over 10 years and my impression is that people take what they want from tutorials and lectures -- you can try to make bullet summaries but their minds will be selective about what they do want to remember and what they opt to forget no matter how hard you try. I hope my talk will leave a trace of something to remember.