Wednesday was the first day of the main conference.
Note how slides and video recordings have already started appearing, and the conference isn’t even over yet! All conference organisers ever, this is how to it oughtta be done!
So I went to
- Bruce Shneier
- GIMP scripting (for it to really be useful I should have caught another talk by her about GIMP for beginners, as to be able to use scripting you need to be able to use GIMP manually first :)) The take home message is, use Python. If you can use GIMP, I imagine this would be extremely useful and relevant
- I meant to attend AbiCollab but missed it because I was lunching with Rachel and Jessica from CCau
- Jim Gettys’ OLPC... not a lot new there
- The consumer view of technology, about a NZ company that made “myPVR”, a TiVO-like device (Wikipedia it if you need to)…if you geek out on this kind of device, you should like this talk, but otherwise, take it or leave it
And then for the “penguin dinner” instead of something formal we all went to the Night Market at Queen Vic Markets and they gave us little vouchers for food. It was a pretty cool idea, well-executed and I can imagine most attendees felt more comfortable there than at a formal sit-down dinner.
And I found a third Wiki*edian, besides me and Nick. :) Isaac from a previous Melbourne meetup.
So, some things.
Lunch was great, as it happened we were all vegetarian. :D We had some good discussion about licenses, freedoms, wiki*edia, what CCau does and doesn’t do, their relationship with Creative Commons proper, the recent LoC/FLickr partnership. They were quite open to hearing criticism. I left further convinced of two things:
- Jessica and Rachel are lovely and interesting people that will be useful to know
- CC is useful for Wikimedia up to a certain point, and it is in both our interests to push up to that point.
On the way out after the OLPC talk I ran into one of my old lecturers who had snuck in to see it. :) We talked for a few minutes as the conference attendees streamed out to afternoon tea. He commented on his surprise at seeing so few suits-types — it’s basically all just people in t-shirts and shorts — and asked if I noticed how male-dominated it was. He guessed it was less than 10%, maybe 5% female. I’m not sure on the official stats.
At the first morning tea, I really noticed it (especially after leading the LinuxChix miniconf which was maybe 1/2 to 2/3 women). It was just really…whoa…. there are so many guys here. Way, way more compared to my maths classes, my compsci classes, my cycling events, and my (one) Wikimania conferences.
So I don’t really have a point to make about this, except for the first time I did feel really, REALLY outnumbered.
At the dinner I got talking a bit with a guy from WA about Wikipedia, and I told him he should go to the Perth meetups. He asked me if it “degenerated” into personal stuff or stayed on technical topics, and I said not typically, no, a bit puzzled. He said something like, “You know those t-shirts that say ‘fuck off, I have enough friends’? I need one of those”. To which I responded “So why are you here?”
Because let’s face it, you could learn much more from a man page than from a typical conference talk, so saying you’re just here for the “technical” is a bit of non-sequitor in my book.
Perhaps I was a bit more blunt than I intended, because he got up and left about ten seconds after that. But I am not sure I have much further conversation to have with someone so blatantly anti-social, so perhaps it was no bad thing.
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