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Gearing up for FSOSS

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This morning I received my speakers packet for the Free Software and Open Source Symposium taking place at Seneca College in Toronto in a couple of weeks. 

For those of you feeling the vacuum that the Ontario GNU/Linux Fest left, this might be a good alternative for you. 

Just be aware that early-bird registration ends October 8 and it’s a significant discount.  Especially for Students!  

As far as the feel of the two conferences…. I won’t pretend that OGLF and FSOSS occupied the same niche, because they always catered to a slightly diffrent audiences.  OGLF was more of a user conference and FSOSS is geared at academic use and leading edge development. 

That’s not to say that all the topics covered at Seneca are advanced, or that topics at OGLF didn’t meet the needs of hard-core hackers.  It’s just that the topics are focused on a slightly different area of the spectrum that is Open Source. 

In any case, if you’re looking for a nice little conference in a great city, I’d highly recommend registering for FSOSS. 

Written by Karlie

October 7th, 2010 at 7:48 am

Week 1, Pontiac MI

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One harsh reality of On-Disk.com is that while ISOs are fresh, business is booming. But, 3 months after a release, those who wanted the latest and greatest the Linux world has to offer probably have it. Then after about 4 months, those who haven’t gotten it will most likely wait a couple of months and get the next release.

This August, however, I will be giving a talk at LinuxCon. Yes, it’s going to be a fun time in a great city, but by then it’s past the 4 month mark and we won’t have lots of extra money to spend on the trip.

A solution to our slow summer months presented itself this year with some casual employment as a corporate trainer with Eagle Productivity Solutions.

While I knew I’d be jetting off to some US City to deliver the training, I didn’t expect;

  • for my first week on the road that I’d be in Pontiac MI.
  • that a very recent Twitter follower would be on the Michigan!/usr/groupboard.
  • the MUG meeting would fall on my off night between my two training sessions.
  • to talk a few minutes about my role as a community hacker.

I didn’t have anything prepared, in fact, I can confidently say I was the only person in the room who opted to pack a lipstick rather than a laptop.

The talk was very casual. A bit about how I got into FOSS, and how someone who avoids the terminal window at all cost could be qualified to give a talk to hard core Unix and Linux users.

But I think I got my point across. That point of course being that the community is key. Using is one thing, but involvement is a whole other ball of wax.

I suppose the most important thing that came out of the talk was a question from a member asking “how do you/I/we get involved?”

My answer was to take these notions that someone should do something – about anything really – and take 10 seconds to seriously consider being that someone. No one would hold their feet to the fire if they opted out of helping, but if they could get into the habit of weighing the pros and cons of involvement, they might find something to become passionate about.

There are a lot of needs and a lot of really good projects out there that do so much more than pump out fresh ISOs. The best part is that at this point it’s not just grand ideas. There are functioning groups out there so I did talk a little about TeachingOpenSource.org and the Math4 project class that has spawned FOSS@RIT and the chain of events that those projects lead to.

Most importantly, I tried to show how little ideas and passionate people help bring FOSS out to those who can benefit from open code.

Written by Karlie

June 21st, 2010 at 7:46 am

FUDCon Toronto Follow-up. Day 2

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My Sunday started off without too much in the way of expectations. I had hoped my family would be able to join me in Toronto, so I only booked my hotel for 2 nights. Even though the guys weren’t with me, there’s not a whole lot for me to do in hack sessions so I wasn’t planning on staying long.

The first and most important thing I had to do Sunday was find out how Remy was getting back to Rochester. We drove up together and he wanted to stay for the hack sessions.

I was also invited to attend a meeting about the Fedora Campus Ambassador program.

The bummer was waiting around for Remy and the meeting to kick off. Remy had a late night in the hotel hack suite so he didn’t arrive until late morning and the meeting I was invited to didn’t get rolling until early afternoon.

Now don’t get me wrong, I did have some good conversations with the guys, but for the most part, I spent the time clearing my email and doing show and tell with my XO running Xtra Ordinary. I will admit that it’s pretty impressive that an XO-1 machine can power an OpenOffice.org Impress presentation – even if it is on that tiny little screen.

With Remy squared away the only thing left was the Campus Ambassador meeting.

What we figured out is that there aren’t any stated goals, and as a result there isn’t any significant activity in the program.

So what do we want to do about it? Good question.

First off, I think we still need to state some goals and for that we’ll need input from Fedora and Red Hat as to what outcomes they’re hoping for. Is it market penetration by way of installs? Is it measured in presentations per month? Or can it be anything we want it to be as long as it involves engaging with university students and faculty?

Knowing that I had to leave as soon as the 3:30 pizza delivery arrived, we didn’t get very far.

The key points I had in my moleskin were…
1, If we can get people started, do we have mentors?
2, Can we come up with suggested activities, presentations and SWAG offerings to get these new folks rolling?

Key points to question 1 are; Do students find us, or do we find the students? Both? Does the campus ambassador need to be a student? Is it possible to ask current ambassadors to hit campuses near them to get things started or should we try other ways to spur interest?

For question 2, I think we all felt a little more confident that we could update the wiki and provide collateral materials.

Suggestions included;

  • Sponsoring meetings. As in we pay for Pizza to encourage attendance at existing campus meetings.
  • Presentation templates. Stock presentations covering basics like what is Linux and Open Source, the Fedora Project through possibly more advanced topics. (As I write this I’m suggesting we have a way for community members to request help with presentations to pool resources from the Fedora Project when the topic doesn’t exist. )
  • Activity suggestions – Some could simply be for fun, while others could be outlines to follow for pre-planning specific events. Launch Parties, Install Fests, Software Freedom Day, or others.
  • SWAG so that there’s a little something extra for participants of the above.

So my goal right now is to begin thinking about what suggestions I can add to the wiki. I’m sure we’ll have another meeting sometime soon and I’ll update you as to what we come up with.

Till then,
~Karlie

Written by Karlie

December 8th, 2009 at 9:32 am

FUDCon Toronto Follow-up. Day 1

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Like a lot of this year’s FUDCon participants, I haven’t been writing much. Heck, I didn’t get more than a couple of dents and tweets out, but that’s ok because we were face to face for a change.

We got started Saturday morning at Seneca@York with an unconfrence/barcamp style pitches.

Right after lunch, Remy DeCausemaker and I did a joint presentation covering the class we’re involved with at RIT.

I kicked things off with the presentation (download) I did for the Ontario GNU Linux Fest a few weeks ago. I didn’t quite fill the 50 minutes at OGLF, and I managed to whip through all of them in about 20 minutes on Saturday.

Then Remy brought us up to speed on how he got involved with the class and how his new position as a fellow at RIT fits with his ongoing work with organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation.

We then tag-teamed questions from the group. Everything from gaining a foothold in universities, to the kids getting excused from class on Tuesday if they attend Remy’s upcoming Hack-a-thon.

The rest of the day was full of Fedora goodness and most of the presentations, Including Paul Frields‘ keynote should find their way to the Fedora wiki.

After the keynote, we all made our way to Dave and Buster’s. I had never heard of the place, but I liked it. If you haven’t been, it reminded me of a grown-ups Chuck E Cheese.

On my way back to my hotel, I was passed by a police car… Then an emergency truck, then a fire truck… “Must be an accident somewhere” I mused to myself.

However, all 3 turn on Wilson Ave… in the direction of my hotel.

Why yes, there was a fire truck parked in the driveway when I arrived moments later.

It was only a dryer fire and I was able to get into my room about 30 minutes later.

I’ll cover Sunday’s hack fests in my next post so look for day 2 soon.

~Karlie

Written by Karlie

December 7th, 2009 at 8:29 am

Are We There Yet? FUDCON 2009

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For some reason I thought I had lots of time this week to get ready for FUDCon. And perhaps I did. But now, it’s Wednesday evening and all I can say about this week is that I’ve been running late since Monday morning.

The good news is that the majority of the SWAG I’m bringing is already packed since I never took it out of the car after NYSCATE. Call that a win for procrastination.

There are a few goodies I don’t want to forget. First are these cute little pouches I picked up at the TJ Connor Elementary Book Fair a few weeks ago.

They looked so lonely marked down to 25¢ each. Well I hope they’ll find loving homes this weekend.

With that said, I should probably get off my computer and see if I can get some laundry done before I’m further behind.

~Karlie

Written by Karlie

December 2nd, 2009 at 3:52 pm