2008 day 2 (Tuesday)

I was locked up most of the day with this, which went well. Check out the slides and videos as they go up. Specifically, everyone was well-prepared, timely (although I was doing the timing so that’s something of a matter of course) and interesting.

One thing I learned from each talk:

  • that I’m a visionary (Pia);
  • to reset passwords that John the Ripper can crack inside 10 seconds (Joh);
  • that I can’t analyse the speed of Perl functions while fiddling around with my camera (Jacinta);
  • what Memcached is (and in fact I really might use it soon) (Brenda);
  • what Wikipedia means by bureaucrats and wheel wars; (Brianna)
  • the concept of polychronic cultures. (Adaora);
  • that husbands and children throw women off the computer… until she has to do her computer class homework (Robyn and Kylie); and
  • that some community managers get their jobs by convincing the company to create the position (Stormy).

The gender balance of attendees was very different from last year. My guesstimate is about 60%-40% female-male, but last year was more 80%-20%. This has good and bad points I guess: a higher proportion of men (who make up the vast bulk of attendees overall) means exposing our speakers (yeah, haha, go away) to a wider audience, which is good; but it means less of the community feel of last year.

I was going to go to the speakers’ dinner last night. In fact, I did make it to the cocktails. But this week I’m stressed, tired and my appetite is suppressed. (This section comes with a ‘I do not require advice about my health’ warning, by the way. If you want to use it as a jumping off point about your own experiences, that’s another thing but my health is well under control.) I’d just spent a day doing timing and cat herding for an event. At the best of times I find environments where there’s a lot of conversations, dense crowds of people and a lot of standing up tiring. Last night I was really starting to get on edge and fled when it was announced that we’re only letting you in because of the rain, no food for another hour! I left at eight and I believe they were indeed finally served about nine.

This is something of an lca problem for me. Surprise! is a big part of the conference social philosophy. I’m able-bodied and largely healthy, and even I really find this stressful because I remain healthy (and in a good mood) largely by being reasonably vigilant about how the timing of my eating and sleeping affects me and planning in advance. Since I’m not entirely well this week, I find it especially hard that the evenings are all arranged on the principle of turn up, and half the fun is going to be finding out if we’ll give you food!

I anticipate tonight (Wednesday, conference dinner) with curiosity.