First Paris Hackers Meetup
Yesterday night was the first Paris Hackers
meetup, just above the famous
Drouant restaurant, home to the Goncourt
Academy for those interested in
I went to Drouant once, last year, and didn't much like it; I found it
pretentious and flavorless. Is there a point in telling you this? Not
Fortunately, yesterday had nothing to do with contemporary French
literature: we were in for beer, pizza, and serious hacker talk!
For a first installment where almost nobody knew anybody, it all went
really well; our host, Sylvain, CTO of startup
Joshfire drafted an agenda with input
from the crowd, and we ended up following it. If all meetings went
like this I would go to more of them.
Here's a summary of what we talked about.
The first discussion was about upcoming conferences in Paris; here's a list:
- EuroSciPy, a European conference for
scientists using Python: Aug.
- PyCon.fr, a French
conference for all things python: Sept. 17-18 (the name "PyCon" is
probably a pun on a famous French alcoholic beverage, le
- OSDC, Open Source Developers'
Conference: Sept. 23-24
- Paris Web, a French conference in French
for people who "make the web" (or do they?): Oct. 13-15
- TWiST, This Week in Startups: next
conference in October I think
- Startup Weekend, a kind of
hackaton which focuses on building a web or mobile application which
could form the basis of a credible business over the course of a
weekend (their words, not mine); there's an event a week somewhere in
the world; next time in France is in Nantes, 30th of September
- JUG Summer Camp, a
Java conf in La Rochelle: Sept 16
- Chaos Computer Club Berlin (in
a hack fest that takes place in a former military base in Berlin: Aug.
- Paris.js, a community of all things
We discussed the top ten stories on HN at the time of the meeting.
This was surprisingly fun and enjoyable. Something that most of us do
in silence behind our desk was suddenly an interactive, "real"
I think most people come to HN (and stay there) for the quality of the
discussion: the thoughtfulness and knowledge of the commenters, the
general civility and literacy. (Just like, for example, the main
selling point of stackoverflow is that
it's a technical forum for literate people).
But, even if a little less thoughtful than the written version, live
conversation among like-minded people is great.
During the break, people wrote on the board buzzwords they wanted to
hear about; then these subjects were picked up by those who knew
something about it.
appears to be stabilizing
- Haskell: a functional language that cares about purity
- Clojure: a LISP dialect for the JVM; hence, a LISP with direct
access to the immense Java library
- funding vocabulary: why would anyone but "family, friends and
fools" (FFF) give a bunch of kids tons of money? Turns out to be a
really good idea
sometimes (other times, not so
- CouchDB: a non-relational database engine that stores serialized
JSON objects with a simple key-value approach, and that can be queried
- other fascinating subjects: heroku, lolcats (yes,
and Google+ ('nuf said)
- WebGL: a library based on OpenGL to generate interactive
graphics on modern browsers, with native-like performance; amazing
demo here by Nicolas (this
Nicolas, not this
- Patternify, a CSS pattern generator
which produces base64-encoded images that can be added as such in you
- Topixtream ("Topics Stream"), a new
service to share and discover news, currently in private beta
- glint (I think), a service by Stupeflix to
change one's Facebook wall into a video stream
that helps JS developers publish interactive apps easily on multiple
devices (browsers, mobile, TV, etc.)
- meet again! in September maybe?
- more demos, prepared in advance (short and punchy)
- go visit other HN groups: London, maybe SF?
- meet girls??!?
- have Paul Graham visit us in Paris! (would be really cool)