Google, connections and a real - virtual mix

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I've just come back from the US East Coast to catch up with open source related goings-on in Boston and New York. Boston (Wednesday) kicked off with a cup of tea with Kat McCabe from Optaros. I've worked with...

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It's been a busy couple of weeks. I've just come back from the US East Coast to catch up with open source related goings-on in Boston and New York.

Boston (Wednesday) kicked off with a cup of tea with Kat McCabe from Optaros. I've worked with Optaros in the past and it was good to catch up with her: she's an alumna of Black Duck, she also knew well two of the people - Andrew Sinclair (Canonical) and Karen Copenhaver (Choate Hall) I was due to meet later in the day.

Next meeting: Esteban Rockett from Motorola on a conference call to talk about the SPDX project. SPDX is a fascinating way of adding virtual bar codes to source code, in order to assist in provenance tracking and licence compliance.

Later that day: an-in person Project Harmony meeting, at which we got into some fairly esoteric legal arguments about the different jurisdictions' approach to copyright law, and whether it's possible for a present assignment of future copyright can only take place on creation of the work in question, or whether it can also take place on the carrying out of a subsequent act (such as making a submission to a project).

It was great finally to meet Mark Radcliffe from DLA Piper, who is currently lead draftsman on Harmony. Amanda Brock from Canonical arranged a meeting at the fittingly named Legal Seafoods.

On Thursday, after a meeting with a publisher to discuss an up-coming free and open source law book, I took the train from Boston to New York, through very pretty New England towns and villages.

Friday, I spent much of the day with Bill Patry, something of a hero of mine, of which more later. Bill is senior copyright counsel at Google, and a wonderful guy. Google has recently purchased the whole of the building in the Meatpacking District in which it used to occupy just a couple of floors. It is, apparently, the largest single investment in Google's history, and since it occupies the second-biggest single parcel of land in Manhattan, the scale of the place is breathtaking.

The stories are true: it has a barn-like playroom containing pool tables, table tennis tables, massage chairs and video games. It has a Lego room. People travel from one end of the building to the other by scooter, obtained from and parked at handy scooter-stations.

The cafeteria really does contain some of the finest food known to humanity. And the atmosphere is friendly, collegiate and pretty compelling.

It was a very worthwhile trip, whether to cement relationships originally developed by email, twitter, or conference call, or to make new connections.

Connections really require a mix of the real and the virtual.

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