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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