July 20–24, 2015
Portland, OR

The Mün and back - a Kerbal tale

Alasdair Allan (Babilim Light Industries), Paul Fenwick (Perl Training Australia), Jon Manning (Secret Lab), Paris Buttfield-Addison (Secret Lab), Tim Nugent (Lonely Coffee)
11:10am–11:50am Friday, 07/24/2015
Solve E146
Average rating: *****
(5.00, 12 ratings)
Slides:   external link

Prerequisite Knowledge

Attendees should know what space is!


“When I realised what the engineers had done, my head LITERALLY exploded…,” said Jon to the other Kerbonauts, waiting for their turn on the Kerbtrifuge, an odd part of training that persisted even though it was universally agreed that G forces had no effect on Kerbal physiology.

Paris would normally have a great rejoinder to his, but he had just entered the training capsule. The rest of the crew were eager not to think about that, and were swapping horror stories to keep their mind off things.

“That’s nothing,” said Tim. “There was one time when they confused apogee and perigee, and rather than a nice circular orbit I found myself heading out past the orbit of Jool. It took me SIX YEARS to get back home.”

Tim had been with the programme for less than a year, but that didn’t stop him embellishing stories like the rest of the crew.

“Al, how about you?” asked Paul, who was next in line for “endurance training,” and was clearly fidgeting with nervousness, “what’s your scariest moment?”

Al looked up from the console which he was soldering. “Mine? It was when they decided that even though more boosters had been added, it still wasn’t enough. I was in a ship made of nothing but boosters.”

From the room next door, the sound of the Kerbtrifuge spinning up could be heard. Everyone held their breath, Paris’s cry could be heard through the thin metal walls…

Join the authors of The Kerbal Book on a panel where they regale you with tales of their adventures in the Kerbal Space Program, the increasingly popular and disturbingly realistic space programme simulator game enjoyed by geeks around the world. Learn how and why you should go to space, and what you can learn from it! Science will be involved.

Photo of Alasdair Allan

Alasdair Allan

Babilim Light Industries

Alasdair Allan is a scientist, author, hacker, tinkerer, and journalist who has been thinking about the Internet of Things, which he thinks is broken. He is the author of a number of books, and from time to time he also stands in front of cameras. You can often find him at conferences talking about interesting things, or deploying sensors to measure them. He recently rolled out a mesh network of five hundred sensors motes covering the entire of Moscone West during Google I/O. He’s still recovering.

A few years before that Alasdair caused a privacy scandal by uncovering that your iPhone was recording your location all the time. This caused several class action lawsuits and a U.S. Senate hearing. Several years on, he still isn’t sure what to think about that.

He sporadically writes blog posts about things that interest him, or more frequently provides commentary in 140 characters or less. He is a contributing editor for MAKE magazine, and a contributor to the O’Reilly Radar.

Alasdair is a former academic. As part of his work he built a distributed peer-to-peer network of telescopes which, acting autonomously, reactively scheduled observations of time-critical events. Notable successes included contributing to the detection of what was—at the time—the most distant object yet discovered, a gamma-ray burster at a redshift of 8.2.

Photo of Paul Fenwick

Paul Fenwick

Perl Training Australia

Paul Fenwick is the managing director of Perl Training Australia, and has been teaching computer science for over a decade. He is an internationally acclaimed presenter at conferences and user groups worldwide, where he is well-known for his humour and off-beat topics. In his spare time, Paul’s interests include security, mycology, cycling, coffee, scuba diving, and lexically-scoped user pragmata.

*Photograph by Joshua Button.

Photo of Jon Manning

Jon Manning

Secret Lab

Jon Manning is the co-founder of Secret Lab, an independent game development studio based in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia. He’s worked on apps of all sorts, ranging from iPad games for children to instant messaging clients. He’s a mobile development guru, and frequently finds himself gesticulating wildly in front of classes full of eager-to-learn developers. He’s written lots of books for O’Reilly Media (and previously Wiley), and recently released Swift Development with Cocoa. He’s currently working on books on Android design, game development with Unity, the Kerbal Space Program game, and the Apple Watch.

Photo of Paris Buttfield-Addison

Paris Buttfield-Addison

Secret Lab

Paris Buttfield-Addison is co-founder of Secret Lab Pty. Ltd., leading production and design efforts in the mobile game and app development space. A frequent speaker at conferences, workshops and training sessions, Paris enjoys discussing engineering, product development, design and other facets of the mobile and game development worlds. Recent conferences include Apple Australia’s /dev/world/2012 in Melbourne (and 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011), a keynote at CreateWorld Brisbane 2010 (and a speaker in 2009 and 2011), IxDA’s Interaction 11 in Boulder (March 2011), XMediaLab Location-Based Services in Malmo, Sweden (January 2011), a tutorial and a session at OSCON 2011 and OSCON 2012, linux.conf.au, and many others.

Paris is the co-author of the books iPhone and iPad Game Development For Dummies and Unity Mobile Game Development For Dummies. The books cover game development on mobile platforms such as the iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad, and Android devices in languages/frameworks such as Objective-C, CocoaTouch, Open GL ES, Unity, C#, and JavaScript. They also cover game design techniques, principles, and patterns. Recently, Paris released Learning Cocoa with Objective-C Third Edition for O’Reilly, covering iPhone and Mac development.

Paris is a highly experienced software developer, product, and project manager. Key experiences include Objective-C/Cocoa on the Macintosh and iPhone/iPod Touch and iPad platforms, Java on Blackberry, and Google Android and C# on Windows Mobile. Open GL ES and Unity are also favourites.

Paris recently spent two years leading Meebo Inc.’s mobile strategy; Meebo was one of the world’s fastest-growing consumer internet companies, and was acquired by Google in 2012. Paris is currently working on his next book, also with O’Reilly, whilst working towards the completion of his PhD in human-computer interaction, focusing on the iPad.

Photo of Tim Nugent

Tim Nugent

Lonely Coffee

Tim Nugent pretends to be a mobile app developer, game designer, PhD student, and now he even pretends to be an author (he co-wrote the latest update to Learning Cocoa with Objective-C, Swift Development with Cocoa, and the upcoming The Kerbal Book for O’Reilly). When he isn’t busy avoiding being found out as a fraud, he spends most of his time designing and creating little apps and games he won’t let anyone see. Tim spent a disproportionately long time writing this tiny little bio, most of which was trying to stick a witty sci-fi reference in, before he simply gave up. Tim can be found as @The_McJones on Twitter. He is an avid board game player.