2007: Monday 15th Jan

The best thing about so far was yesterday’s weather. It was mild with a slight breeze, and the venue has made the mode of it by using UNSW’s glass-walled Pavilion near the Clancy theatre for hack and chat space. (As with OSDC though, people can’t tell the difference between someone noodling on their laptop and someone doing work, and interrupt both sorts.)

Jeff gave the conference opening talk and forgot to introduce himself. It was a fun talk. About a week ago he called me to ask what he should say about the lca Woman Triumph. Over 10% of registrations were women, which doesn’t sound much until I remember that at 2004 there were eight women — not eight percent, eight. I actually advised him not to dwell on behaviour too much; lest the men be insulted and the women think that they’d accidently signed up for Barbarian Finishing School (how to talk to girls, level 1). He did stick a don’t be creepy on the end of that section, with the result being that a couple of guys came up to me and joked about how they could be creepy but weren’t allowed to.

Guys: creepy is creepy, but meta-creepy is both stupid and irritating. Don’t do either of them, and don’t start on the meta-meta, thank you.

The first two days of the programme, yesterday and today, are mini-conferences (think workshops), organised by communities like Debian or GNOME, or by interest groups, like people interested in education. I am running a LinuxChix one today. The conference has decided to embrace them this year: rather than describing them as a sort of a pre-conference bonus, the mini-conference schedules went into the main schedule, and Chris Blizzard’s keynote is scheduled this morning to lure people to the mini-conferences afterwards.

Yesterday this seemed to be a bit of a mixed blessing, because the mini-conference organisation and programmes largely aren’t up to the standard of the main conference, which has a programme I just can’t stop drooling over. Two things! In every session! That I want to attend!

Andrew said yesterday that he should have stretched a bit and gone to the embedded miniconf rather than GNOME, and I sort of agree for myself too. I tried Education in the morning, but Pia had had to move her talk at the last minute, and in fact backed out of her slot later in the day too, leaving their programme in disarray for the casual attendee, because every session they’d announce a random talk.

I went to the GNOME talk on Avahi, which just didn’t grab me somehow, and then Jeff’s talk, entitled Connecting the dots, in which he mostly demonstrated the capabilities of his Wii. Now, actually this was kind of interesting for me, because Andrew and I didn’t set up our Wii until last night, so we’d never seen it in action. And James, who is well out of console-land, was fascinated. But by the conference’s core criteria — talk about Free Software, or Free Culture — it was a complete disaster, since the Wii while cute, is extremely proprietry.

Since I had my own mini-conference today to prepare for, I didn’t attend any more sessions after session 3 yesterday. Instead I sat in the nice open air pavilions and worked on slides, and then Andrew and I took off for a yoga class in the evening and went out to dinner afterwards.