Wednesday, April 20, 2005 Day 3

Today was the first day of the actual LCA conference. Thanks to my man on the inside, I knew it would be a very good idea to turn up to the opening talk at 9am (I would have gone anyway, I just wanted to slip in that I knew something most of the others didn’t). The organisers kept telling everyone to “defrag the theatre”, since they were convinced there would be people hanging from the rafters. So I ended up sitting next to a guy named Chad Tindel (who works for HP) from Colorado, and a guy from Brisbane whose name I’ve already forgotten. Both were pretty interesting people, and we had some good random conversations before Andrew rode in on his bike.

After talking for a while, Steven revealed that they would be giving away a shinny new IBM laptop at every keynote speech. Then he read out the name of the first winner - who turned out not to be there. Fortunately, Steven was prepared, and had a second name ready – who also turned out to not be there. Although he did have a friend in the audience who seemed very disappointed. An organiser rushed off to get some more names, and Steven only had to read out two more before he found someone who was actually there.

I’m guessing tomorrow there will be a lot fewer empty seats.

At Stilly’s suggestion I decided to sit in on Theodore Ts’o’s Recovering from Hard Drive Disasters session. Turns out Stilly was right – Ts’o is a very cool person. He presentation was a bit drier than I was expecting, and delved into the history and physical make up of a hard drive a bit more than I would have preferred. Having had to deal with critical hard drive failures a few times in the past, it was interesting to learn about different options next time something goes wrong.

Or I could just make regular backups…

Dan, my soon-to-be brother-in-law, was very impressed that morning and afternoon tea was provided. He’d been a bit disappointed the last couple of days at the lack of free food.

The afternoon session was done by Wayne Piekarski, and is probably my favourite talk so far. Piekarski has been studying various 3D user interfaces, and so talked about some of the cool stuff he’s been doing. Like augmented reality, the cool backpack interface he’s build that (among other things) will let you play Quake outside, and building some custom hardware. He basically outlined all of the tricks, pitfalls and cool things he’d discovered in the course of his research, with the hope that we could go off an build something just as cool. He has a much more detailed version of his tutorial posted on the web.

I’m looking forward to the Code Vs Culture and the Software Patents talks tomorrow. Oh, and I’m still hoping to win a new laptop…

Apparently my brain farted last night while I was typing this and decided that Steven was actually Andrew. Thanks for pointing that out Stilly...

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