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{December 11, 2008}   fosscamp day 2, and exams

this blog post is a bit delayed; I blame exams. sunday I had to head home, and my first exam was on tuesday; it went surprisingly well for one day of studying. now I’m studying for math; my next exam is saturday morning. with a snow warning. ugh. still, being at home studying beats being at school sitting in lectures. so long as I actually do accomplish the studying bit ;)

as for fosscamp… saturday I skipped coffee. maybe that was a bad idea, because my head felt muddled all day. there was talk about leadership in the morning, except I don’t think anything actually was produced from that other than a list of challenges leaders face. then there was a discussion on community… it sounds like canonical has some friction between its paid and unpaid developers. :) I’m glad we don’t have that in kde; I’m not even sure who gets paid around here. it just doesn’t really matter. what I got out of that discussion was that having a healthy culture is very important; people can be counterproductive in all kinds of dumb ways if they don’t feel like they’re on the same team.

the next talk I was at was a more technical one – it was about cool futuristic user interfaces, some of which already exist for the army or in other places, but haven’t really made it into the real world. we heard about some neat stuff that’s been done with fancy hardware, and we were just getting into a discussion about what useful stuff we might be able to do with generic hardware (ie your laptop’s mic and camera) when lunchtime came and we were herded outside. I wish we’d gotten to that stuff sooner. it’s kinda odd that while computers are getting more powerful so quickly, we’re still sitting in front of basically the same interface, still using pretty much the same desktop… well, at least the desktop part can change now :) but it’d be nice to see some research into new UI concepts that people would actually want to use. I’m not sure about voice control, but I wondder if a webcam could be used to fake focus-follows-mind… ;) although I imagine it’d take a fair bit of processing power to track even basic movements, so maybe that’d be a waste of resources. I dunno.

anyways, after lunch I was online for a while, then showed off shiny kde bling. I wish I’d prepared a bit more for that; I wanted to talk about the frameworks, but discovered they’re kinda hard to explain, and my laptop was broken in several ways so I borrowed someone else’s, which didn’t even have extragear installed… anyways, a few of us ended up chatting outside the doorway for a while after our time was up, and I got to show off a few more things on my own laptop.

when the conference was over, blauzahl somehow talked people into letting us go hunt down the android statue and take pictures there. I’m feeling too lazy to track down the photo of that – it’s on riddell’s blog. after dinner that night (we found a sushi place that rather obviously wasn’t used to vegetarians, but I sorted things out eventually) some people were playing cards back at the hotel :) great way to spend an evening. Cambridge rules for the chariman’s game are a fair bit different from the ones played at SFU, though.

no hot tub party that night, unfortuantely… I was completely exhausted, and had a plane to catch in the morning. it seems kinda weird how tired I get at conferences; I didn’t even have a time zone change this time! and blauzahl claims to have been awake half the night, but still managed to get up in the morning and accompany me to the airport. :)

so now I’m back in canada, back to studying (or attempting to). wish I could have stayed for all of UDS… although it is kinda disconcerting being at a conference where “the desktop” is assumed to mean “the gnome desktop”.

one disappointing thing: the food quality wasn’t what I had expected. yes, I’m picky. the hotel breakfast had a strong focus on eggs and bacon, and service from people who need tips to survive is just as annoying as (if not more so than) service where tips aren’t even understood. maybe I just don’t like service in general – I’ve always preferred ATMs to going inside banks. and lunch at google, while healthy and certainly adequate, wasn’t as cool as I was expecting – apparently at UDS they’re allowed into the actual cafeteria which is much nicer. I’m jealous ;P

I suppose I should go back to studying now… it’s really hard to *care* about exams when I’m so close to freedom…



et cetera
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