2011 Monday wrap-up

This year was a lot of fun. My talk was on the Thursday, which meant that there was most of the week spent going “eep” and making sure I was ready for it.

Total hats off to the organisers – you may have heard about a small area of Queensland (about the area of France and Germany combined – or ~ twice that of Texas) was declared a disaster area a couple of weeks before the conference. Honestly, if you didn’t hear about it, you wouldn’t have noticed.

Sunday night we had a gathering of Ghosts of Conferences Past. We refer to those previously involved in running an LCA “Ghosts” – a wealth of knowledge for future teams. One of the most amusing tales was John Ferlito asking people what would they have done if just less than two weeks out they had to change venues. The consensus: curl up in a corner and cry hoping it would all just go away.

The lca2011 organisers didn’t.

So on the Monday I managed to catch a few good talks. In the morning I seemed to stalk Pia in her two talks: “Applying martial arts to the workplace: your guide to kicking arse” and “Cloud computing: finding the silver lining for government” in the Haeksen and Freedom In The Cloud miniconfs respectively.

If you didn’t manage to catch the martial arts talk, check out Pia’s blog post on it. I also strongly recommend a good martial arts school (contact me if you want).

The big take away for me from the Cloud in Government talk was that I really should go and read the AGIMO Cloud Strategy document. The other take away for me was that while government is looking at using new technology it is not currently thinking at all about individuals rights (such as privacy), security and safety in the cloud.

I have been known to rock up to talks with no real idea of the content but on the hope that it could end up being cool. This was the next one I went to. The title: “Open Source: Saving the World” sounded like a lovely idea and the speaker, Noirin is pretty cool. It turns out there’s some really awesome open source software out there for dealing with natural disasters, incidents of violence and education. Go check out the Lanka software foundation, the SAHANA Disaster Management System, Ushahidi (coming out of Kenya to track incidents of violence) and the Talking Book (a little yellow box that records and plays back audio).

I checked out Aeriana’s talk on overcomplicating home networks… and a bit too much of it was familiar :) I also have ideas.

Daniel Stone’s talk on input in X and everything related was interesting – there is a lot of historical things around and some truly bizarre things. Think: grabs are what grabs all input and makes you sad and OMG Multi-Pointer-X exists and it’s all backwards compatible OMG. I haven’t even mentioned the bits that allow your keyboard to have a key that makes demons fly from the screen and a harpsichord to play tunes while they do.

I managed to catch Matthew Garrett’s talk “License compliance in Open Source business” talk. The fact that the very first store he walked into after arriving in Australia was selling a device that violates his copyright is, well, not a good sign.

At the end of the Monday I managed to catch about the last half of “Training Allies” that was the last session in the Haecksen miniconf. This was a pretty good session with a rather packed room (standing room only). This is rather promising I think.

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