LCA 2007 redux

I arrived back in Barcelona from Australia with thomasvs on Monday morning. We were there for the LCA conference, and the associated FOMS conference. I had a great time, getting back to the old stomping ground and geeking it up. Here’s a rundown:

We arrived in the evening on Wed 10th and were met by Shane & Kate at the airport. Had a little bit of confusion as to whether Thomas had also arranged for Lindsay to pick us up, but it turned out not. Went to Shane & Kate’s house, played with their Wii a bit and hit the hay.

Thursday and Friday, we spent at FOMS, which provided a nice chance to meet a bunch of FOSS Multimedia hackers I didn’t yet know, and catch up with others that I did, including fellow Fluendian Mike Smith. The conference was very well structured and run, and I think we covered a lot of ground and built some interesting bridges.
Shane & Kate hosted a bbq at their place on Thursday night, which was a lot of fun even though I flaked out on the floor of their study by about 10:30pm, knocked out by a flu I picked up on the plane on the way over. My friend Miki also came along to the bbq after she finished work.

Friday night was supposed to be the Annodex Foundation AGM at the James Squire brewery, in at King’s Wharf, but it turned out to just be a FOMS attendees get-together at the brewery after they discovered the Internet access at the pub was being too flaky. A fun night, either way.Thomas blogged a little about his impressions of FOMS too. I’d like to say thanks to all the people that put FOMS together, especially Silvia & Shane, and to the other attendees.

On Saturday, I caught a lift with my little brother up to our parents house on the Central Coast, and spent the night up there while Thomas & Mike went to a concert in Sydney. I had a nice afternoon and evening with a big part of my family unit, even though I couldn’t go visit my grandparents (because of the flu).

On Sunday my father had offered to take us all on a Hunter Valley wine+cheese tour, so we picked up Thomas, Mike and Miki at Tuggerah train station and headed up to the Hunter Valley for the day. We had a beautiful sunny day, toured the vineyards, tried some good wines, jams, olive oils, chocolate and cheeses. I bought 5 bottles of wine, some chocolates and some lilly pilly jam. Thomas bought some wine, and some particularly strong scented cheese, which would prove useful later in the trip. Sunday night we caught the train back to Sydney, and Thomas & I picked up the keys to our dorm accomodations for the rest of the trip.

Monday morning was a the first mini-conf day of LCA. This year, LCA was held at the University of NSW, which I used to spend a fair bit of time around. It’s been a while since though, so the campus was simultaneously familiar and strange. We picked up our sweet LCA bags and swag at the registration desk, and headed into the conference open. As usual, Jdub was entertaining. Talks I went to on Monday, in between hacking in the pavilions and re-discovering my way around UNSW:

  • Show and Tell: The Pedagogical Arguments for FOSS by Donna Benjamin
  • Using Avahi the “Right Way” by Trent Lloyd & Lennart Poeterring
  • Adventures in Linux on Programmable Logic Devices by Dr John Williams
  • GNOME Love Session

Monday night was the Speakers Dinner, and we were treated to a nice harbour cruise plus meal, with Sasha’s girlfriend Penelope as my date so that she could get a ticket, since several of the other LCA rego desk volunteers were already coming and she wasn’t. Anthony Baxter gave an entertaining talk titled ‘Style over substance’, which I completely ignored later in the week when giving my tutorial, causing several people in the audience to fall asleep.

Tuesday, I enjoyed Chris Blizzard’s keynote followed by:

  • Jokosher: The GNOME approach to audio production by Jono Bacon
  • De-mystifying PCI by Kristen Carlson Accardi
  • Wesnoth for Kernel Hackers (and everyone else) by Rusty Russell
  • Suspend & Resume to RAM repair workshop by Matthew Garrett

Rusty’s talk was interesting and well presented, as usual. Also because totem wouldn’t play on the big-screen because the Xv overlay just displayed as an empty square on the projector. I jumped up and used gstreamer-properties to change it to XShm output, which fixed the problem, but now his sound wouldn’t play, so Rusty stopped Wesnoth (to free the sound device), which for some reason meant that sound would play, but the video overlay went back to being broken. At that point, he switched to mplayer for his presentation, but after the talk I took another look and discovered that he was using totem-xine, and then I couldn’t figure out why my change had fixed the Xv Overlay in the first place 🙂
Went to the Google Conference party at the Roundhouse for a while in the evening, and chowed down on a couple of sausage sandwiches, but left early so I could get some washing done.

Wednesday morning, Thomas and I were up bright and early for our turn at the Speaker’s Adventure. All the speakers had to nominate one of the mornings to go on the adventure, but we weren’t told in advance what it was. Since the conference is over now, I can reveal that it was a trip up Centrepoint Tower to do the Sky Walk (although the secret was already leaked much earlier than this). The Sky Walk is a fun little jaunt where you dress up in fancy jumpsuits, remove any objects that you could possibly drop off the edge, and take a trip around the outside of Centerpoint, tethered securely to a little railway line that ensures you can’t do anything foolish. All in all, pretty fun, although I’m not sure I’d be prepared to pay the RRP for it.

Thanks to Pia and others, who (among other conference duties) got up bright and early to deliver speakers to the tower and get us back in time for the conference open. Wednesday morning’s keynote was from Andy Tanenbaum, giving a presentation about some of the recent work they’ve been doing in Minix, which was very interesting. *insert standard observations about micro vs monolithic kernels*

Wednesday’s talks:

  • The PulseAudio Sound Server by Lennart Poettering
  • Linux on the Cell Broadband Architecture by Arnd Bergmann
  • Desktops on a diet – old pants back on! by Carsten Haitzler
  • nouveau – reverse engineered nvidia drivers by Dave Airlie
  • Linux Clusters by Sulamita Garcia
  • X Monitor Hotplugging Sweetness by Keith Packard

To be continued….

Back to AU

For the 5th time in as many months, I’m flying halfway around the world on Tuesday to hit Sydney for FOMS and Huzzah!

This time though, I’m not flying alone – I’m bringing one of my Belgian workmates – seen here looking worshipful at a Pearl Jam concert.

I’ll be giving a tutorial @ LCA on Thursday 18th, about GStreamer – an introduction to pipeline building and writing a simple element.

If you’re going to be in Sydney and want to make sure we meet up, drop me an email