Is it already Feb­ru­ary? Jan­u­ary must have been the busiest month of all time for me. My birth­day was on the 6th, and I still haven’t been able to do any­thing about it. My fam­i­ly and friends have been bug­ging me about it since Decem­ber. If any of them are read­ing this, I’m sor­ry.

The chaos of Jan­u­ary has car­ried into Feb­ru­ary, I’m afraid. This write-up of my Jan­u­ary escapades would be best split into sev­er­al parts, so view this post as one of a few.

linux.conf.au (LCA) was extra­or­di­nar­i­ly enjoy­able. I had vol­un­teered to help with a few activ­i­ties, and most of my time was spent as part of the Audio/Visual Team. My job con­sist­ed of sit­ting in lec­ture the­atres and encod­ing video (passed to me in the form of DVDs) to Ogg The­o­ra on my lap­top. The exer­cise was a tremen­dous stress test of some of the hard­ware, and I’m glad that it passed with fly­ing colours. ffmpeg2theora does­n’t take advan­tage of SMP, so I engaged my Core 2 Duo CPU with two video streams in par­al­lel.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I was so focused on transcod­ing that I was not able to appre­ci­ate the pre­sen­ta­tions occur­ring direct­ly in front of me. I’ll have to go back and watch the videos of those talks, which were like­ly transcod­ed by myself. On a pos­i­tive note, our transcod­ing efforts meant that we were able to make video avail­able online even before the con­fer­ence was over. There was plen­ty more to transcode after the event, so my duties did­n’t sud­den­ly end on the 19th of Jan­u­ary. It’s amaz­ing to see that only two weeks after the clos­ing of LCA we are on the cusp of final­i­sa­tion. All that’s left are a few ‘prob­lem’ videos and some doc­u­men­ta­tion writ­ing.

Sil­via expert­ly man­aged our rag-tag team of vol­un­teers to deliv­er some first-class results. I hon­est­ly feel that we set a bench­mark for future free soft­ware events, not just in Aus­tralia but also around the world, and I am very proud to have been a part of it. Through Lin­ux Aus­tralia, we have pur­chased equip­ment and for­mu­lat­ed meth­ods that will be car­ried on into the future. We have proven that qual­i­ty video pro­duc­tions can be achieved on a mod­est bud­get, using entire­ly free soft­ware.

Aside from oth­er mis­cel­la­neous vol­un­teer duties at LCA, I took part in the Open Day, spend­ing most of my time at the Ubun­tu-Au stand. I also briefly cov­ered for Chris Smart at the Make the Move stand. Thanks to the hero­ic efforts of Pia and com­pa­ny, Open Day was a resound­ing suc­cess. I believe that it has firm­ly estab­lished itself as a per­ma­nent fix­ture at future LCAs. It was tru­ly encour­ag­ing to see lumi­nar­ies like Kei­th Packard and Jim Get­tys as exhibitors, inter­act­ing with the gen­er­al pop­u­lace.

Events like LCA are always spe­cial because of the peo­ple you meet. I had the priv­i­lege of inter­act­ing with many peo­ple for whom I hold a great deal of respect. Plac­ing faces to IRC nicks is always fun, as is catch­ing up with friends whom I don’t see often.

No write-up of LCA would be com­plete with­out an expres­sion of grat­i­tude and con­grat­u­la­tions to the Sev­en Team for a job well done. So thank you Jeff, Pia, Sara, Jamie, Ben, Lind­say and John!

My one regret is that I opt­ed to not reside on cam­pus for the dura­tion of the con­fer­ence. You can­not ful­ly enjoy your­self on a night out while wor­ry­ing about how you will get home. It meant that I had to wake up ear­li­er to catch the bus-train-bus com­bi­na­tion to get to UNSW, and even then I missed some of the morn­ing A/V Team meet­ings. The bus­es to Cen­tral from Anzac Parade end at around 22:45, and woe betide you if you miss them. On one night, it took me close to two hours to get home. Reliance upon pub­lic trans­port is a major hin­drance upon after-hours activ­i­ties, and cur­tails the time that would be bet­ter spent catch­ing up on some sore­ly-need­ed sleep.

 

LotD:  Get a First Life

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