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