Category Archives: conference

Scenes from the science fiction convention


In painstakingly constructed armor made of styrofoam and satin
airbrushed into forbidding darkness, Sauron (Lord of the Ring and
full-time evil overlord of the Land of Mordor) obligingly posed for
pictures at the science fiction convention. Sauron towered over the
crowd, stark comparison with Frodo (part-time savior of the world,
complete with elven cloak and grubby feet). The speakers blared,
“Kids! Come have your pictures taken with Sauron, the Dark Lord!” A
constant stream of convention-goers talked to him briefly and then had
their pictures taken with him. Occasionally, Nazguls joined the scene.

To one side, a girl stood by, ready to adjust Sauron’s outfit for best
effect. She wore no costume, but had with her a small bag with tape
and pins. From time to time Sauron would bend down and exchange a few
words with her. I wondered if Tolkien’s Sauron ever had such an aide –
rushing forward to polish his mace or mend his cloak, asking him
periodically if he found his armor too hot or he’d like a glass of
water. I can’t imagine an orc being so attentive. It sucks to be a
real overlord, I suppose – an enormous army, sure, but no pampering.

The day was hot. Fortunately Sauron had the foresight to make his
costume jointed enough to sit in comfortably, and I saw him now remove
his helmet and enjoy the breeze. A shock of blond hair and pale skin
formed an incongruously friendly face that seemed to float above the
forbidding armor. His smile was not menacing or grim, but light and
almost goofy. He tucked his spiked helmet under his arm and leaned
back, stretching armored legs tired from a day of posing.

The conference was so much fun!

My laptop wouldn’t talk to the projector, so I did my Knoppix talk
without slides. I forgot to give people my e-mail address. Whoops.
Still, I have a few contacts, and I guess that’s a good start. Most
people had already tried Linux, so I went for the
evangelization-of-others angle instead, although I threw in a few
benefits for newbies.

I misplaced Vahid’s index card, but I know he’s a Ma. IT student at
USC. I should write to him about repartitioning.

Chatted with Lawrence and Justin over dinner. Turns out they’re both
into Stephenson and other SF stuff. (Thanks to Baryon for introducing
me to those books!) I think I convinced Justin to try out Emacs.

It was tons of fun geeking out and swapping stories. Lawrence is a
treasure-trove of business experience and geek stories. =)

Tired from a long but absolutely fun day. Good night!

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Had tons of fun!

I learned so much from the conference—proof that the best way to
receive knowledge is to give it away! I met a lot of people that I
should definitely keep in touch with because they’re doing really cool
things, like Dr. Maja, Justin, Pauline, Lawrence…

Here are some more conference notes:

Justin was a great speaker. He structured his talk to have some
interactivity, breaking the students up into groups so that they could
try out project planning. Slightly marred by students’ inertia, but a
good idea anyway. He then put forward a humorous scenario that neatly
highlighted the challenges of project management and explained the
basics of PM through jokes and stories. Excellent speaker, probably
the best presenter in the conference.

They asked me to repeat my Knoppix talk for the benefit of the
students, so I did my whizbang look-how-much-you-can-get-on-one-CD
presentation. That was fun, too.

Met Dominique’s landlady. She was really nice.

Had to buy a swimsuit. I came to Cebu without packing a swimsuit—what
was I thinking? Grabbed a pair of slippers, too.

Had dinner with the camera club. Dominique came as well. That was fun.

He’s teaching me Bisaya. If I can learn enough Japanese to make myself
understood, I should be able to learn enough Bisaya to charm people.
Here’s what I took up today:

Maayong hapon. Good afternoon
Lingaw ka-ayo. It’s lots of fun.
Nindot ka-ayo. It’s very nice.
Maski studyante, kaya ka-ayo. Even a student can do it.
Daghan ko natun-an gikan sa … I learned so much from … (hmm, I think I got the Bisaya part wrong. Maayon?)
Daghang salamat. Thank you.

(Thanks to James Lloyd Atwil for the corrections!)

I didn’t get to use the phrases during my talk, though. Got nervous. =)

More thoughts on software patents. In short, I think they really suck,
and that our government should focus on fixing copyright.

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Open-Sourcing Conferences

Interesting idea: put the focus on the attendees…

それらの単語は彼のコンピュータ・スクリーンに現れたのだった。 The words would appear on his computer screen.

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