Tuesday 13 January 2004

See also other l.c.a. blogs.

linux.conf.au Miniconfs Day 1 continued

I didn’t go to any further talks in the afternoon of Day 1. spiv and I had lunch with horms, Silvia and ozone. Once the wired networking came up in the afternoon we headed down to check half a day’s worth of accumulated mail, and then I caught up with some work via a convienient copy of StarOffice.

The Audio miniconf was meant to conclude with a jam session at a pub on the other side of Adelaide’s CBD. Adelaide’s CBD is nicely laid out in a grid, but it just isn’t that simple: the east-west streets change names halfway along.

The jam was missing some cabling for a long time, and while we waited the kitchen stopped serving food because they’d had too many orders. jdub found that ordering every variety of Kettle Chips in the store wasn’t a good substitute for the excellent porterhouse steak spiv had had, so spiv, jdub, James, mikal, gman, thom and at least one other person and I headed off for Chinese, taking in a nice tour of the resturants in the south of Adelaide’s CBD on the way.

linux.conf.au Miniconfs Day 2

spiv only did the programme for his miniconf the other day, but nevertheless I was convinced it started at 10, he was convinced it started at 9:30 and it was actually scheduled to start at 9. We arrived late to find that malcolm had stepped in to give his talk an hour earlier than scheduled.

spiv’s own talk began with us spending a solid fifteen minutes trying to get my Libretto laptop to talk to the projector. This was the beginning of lots of projector hassles — every subsequent speaker, including Malcolm the second time around, had trouble with the projector. spiv ended up giving his Twisted talk on Erik‘s iMac, using MagicPoint tunneled over SSH from the Libretto.

Chris Foote gave a CherryPy talk, and we had a two hour lunch in the hope of intersecting with a Python/GNOME talk by jamesh over at the GNOME miniconf, but that didn’t happen.

Numbers were lower after lunch (possibly because that was about the third change to the program) which was a shame because Malcolm gave a talk on the ancient art of Python judo — that is, inspiring the audience to a bunch of guesses about which of a bunch of algorithmically equivalent methods of doing a particular list/dictionary constructions were fastest. It turns out, for example, that in Python 2.2,

 d = {} for i in xrange(len(X)): d[X[i]] = Y[i] 

is a faster way than:

 d = dict(zip(X, Y)) 

to turn two lists into a dictionary hashing the values of one list, X, to the values of the other, Y.

spiv had a faster solution than any of the given ones:

 d = {} map(d.__setitem__, X, Y) 

The miniconf concluded with lathiat‘s IPv6 talk, which was essentially an overview of the socket API with some discussion of the (small) changes needed to ensure basic IPv6 functionality.

In the evening, a bunch of people mysteriously vanished to the super secret speaker’s dinner, so spiv, James, Erik, robertc. thom, jaq, myself and several others congregated in the beer garden of the pub spiv and I are staying in. This was fantastic, as when I got tired at 11, I just walked up a flight of stairs and went to bed.

linux.conf.au Tutorial Day

spiv and I made it to the welcome in plenty of time to find out about all sorts of things. Matt won the national Regional Delegate Prize, which turned out to be the TShirt Sun had bid a lot for at last year’s conference dinner, with lots of kernel hacker signatures on it. The dunking of the speakers and assorted celebrities was heavily advertised — the right to dunk Linus is going to auction.

I went to the first half of Keith Packard‘s cairo tutorial this morning. It was excellent — Keith turned out to be an excellent speaker. I didn’t resolve the resemblence to Paul Livingstone’s “Flacco” character until morning tea — I’m still not sure whether it goes deeper than a physical resemblence. spiv said not, but I thought there were some vocal mannerisms in common. That aside, the cairo introduction is the type of thing I came to l.c.a. to see: exciting introductions to stuff I know almost nothing about.

I didn’t go to the second half of the tutorial, although the algorithmic pieces might have been interesting, electing to write this before the backlog of “things to write about” grew too long. Firebird nicely crashed halfway through, so I’m only going to continue this when I can save it to a text file and upload it at the end of the entry.