LCA2010 – Day 1

First real day of is always full on anticipation. I woke up a little early and nibbled a small breakfast as I walked from ustay to the venue. After the crap weather on the weekend things were stating to look a bit better.

The signup are at the venue was fairly quite with people being processed quickly and many having been signed up for the weekend.

First up was the Welcome talk which had a few hitches. Due to illness it was being given by and understudy who was a little unpracticed with the delivery and had a problem when the overhead screen went blank for 5 minutes due to technical problems (not sure if it was the screen or the laptop’s fault). Highlights were a 42-below ad for Wellington and everyby singing Happy Birthday to Rusty.

I spent the first couple of sessions at the Haechsen/LinuxChix Miniconf since most of the topics were interesting and for various reasons (mumble mumble) talk times between miniconfs were not sync’d so it was hard to move between them.

It looks like this year the video situation is fairly good. All Miniconfs and main sessions are both being streamed live (although in wma format which caused some comment ) and being record for later download. Hopefully It’ll all work out.

Talks I attended:

  • Version control for mere mortals by Emma Jane Hogbin was a good intro to VCS and practices including a bit aimed at sysadmins and content maintainers rather than just coders. She obviously likes Bazaar a lot more than git. Goods intro and once again I feel guilty about not using it more.
  • Happy Hackers == Happy Code by Sara Falamaki was an overview of what makes programmers happy. Mostly concentrating on tools but with some other bits and pieces mentioned. Great, especially the bit where Sara started throwing (often wildly) lollies to members of the audience who made good suggestions.
  • Through the Looking Glass by Elizabeth Garbee gave here perspective on using open source software and the high-school level. Interesting stuff on tools, and how other teens viewed open source and programming and the scary story about how her school had a rule that any student how bought a computer to school running Linux/Unix would be expelled!
  • Creating Beautiful Documentation from Lana Brindley covered some high level bits of the process redhat uses to create documentation as well as a bit of an overview of what technical writers do and why their jobs rock 🙂
  • Getting you feet wet for Angela Byron gave ways and advice for getting involved with Open source projects ( including the old “woman’s work” (my, not her term)) of documentation etc. Pretty good.
  • Code of our own from Liz Henry was about the first feminist orientation talk of the day. Lots of stories and advice for women in open source as well as a few bits where she gave your low opinion of how well some ideas have worked in practice.

Overall fairly interesting sessions. I noticed that for most of the 2 session the majority of people in the room were male and quite a few of the audience questions/comments were from them. This didn’t really cause a problem for most talks which were on general topics but I noticed the “male perspective” was less useful/welcome for Liz Henry’s talk.

For Lunch I wandered around a little bit an eventually found a place called “The coffee club” where I had a soy milkshake and a pesto bruschetta. Very nice.

For the last session I went to “The business of Open Source” Miniconf and then “Libra Graphics”

  • The 100 mile Client Roster from Emma Jane Hogbin was an interesting overview of the way her business and business model has evolved and where she thinks the next step is. Good talk and delivery although it’s a bit outside my area for me to give a good review of the content.
  • Building a service business using open source software by Cameron Beattie didn’t really appear to me. The talk was a bit flat and delivery lacked much spark.
  • Cheap Gimmicks to Make your designs ‘New’ by Andy Fitzsimon from suffered a bit from technical problems with delivery but looked like there was a good talk in there somewhere that just required a bit more prep.
  • Dynamic PDF reports via XSL and Inkscape by Peter Lieverdink was cool but a little over my head.
  • Inkscape: My Cheerleading Adventures by Donna Benjamin was a little sparse even for a 5 minutes talk

After the end of the day I went along to a Wikipedia Meetup at the Southern Cross Hotel. The Meetup was fairly small ( just 3 other people) but interesting people and several hours of discussion. Some talk about a NZ Wikimedia Chapter and also helping with the Wikimedia stand at the LCA open day.

Last up I grabbed a coffee and cake at Midnight Espresso.

Overall not a bad day, tomorrow will by Sysadmin Miniconf all day wih the Speakers Dinner in the evening.