GHOP Grand Prize Winners @google
Visiting the Googleplex was very interesting as an example of a modern working environment, free of most or all corporate annoyances that used to be present in too many companies.
The legends about the great free food are not exaggerated, Cafe MOMA and Charlie's Cafe lived more than lived up to my expectations. To me the Googleplex looks like a environment that would appeal very much to young engineers, as you can more or less live on site, with food, laundry, massage, swimming pool, Friday afternoon music, TGIF and other perks. If you have a family, on the other hand, you might need some discipline to escape the campus at the appropriate time...
In the afternoon of the awards ceremony day, we were treated to great jetlag-proof presentations on AppEngine (by Guido Van Rossum, Mr.Python himself), Android by Romain Guy (nice to see a young French guy make his way there), GFS/BigTable by Jeff Dean (employee #20) and testing by Bharat Mediratta and Mike Bland (readers know how passionate I am about testing, and these guys seem to have a similar vision than mine, so /me happy).
Great stuff, and all this for ten students, their parents and mentors! Big thanks to Leslie Hawthorn, Chris DiBona and team for setting this up so nicely.
Here's the (shortish) interview with the ASF's Grand Prize winner, Spencer Davis. For me, meeting these bright young folks has been the highlight of all this, and the motivation to continue contributing to these student programs. Seems like there is hope for humanity after all ;-)
Sandy Armstrong, mentor for GNOME, and Peter Cawley, winner for Drupal, have more details on the awards ceremony day. The "exotic" ASF presentation that I mentioned happened in Kathmandu, Nepal, as mentioned in a previous post.