Wednesday, December 9, 2009

FUDCon Toronto 2009

I have not posted anything here in a while, so here are some comments about FUDCon Toronto.

Given that I live in Hawaii, getting to FUDCon can be a challenge. I have been able to make it to a fair number since I moved to Hawaii, mostly due to aligning personal trips to back up to work trips so that the cost of my travel is significantly lower than travelling from Hawaii. To date, the longest I've gone to make it to a FUDCon was travelling from Honolulu to Brno for FUDCon Brno in 2008. That was 28 hours of flying travel, an overnight in Vienna, then a train to Brno.

FUDCon Toronto was great. The facility was nice and there were a good number of talks across the board. I was able to go to a lot of sessions and number I wanted to go to but couldn't because of schedule conflicts was higher than it had been for me at previous FUDCons. I feel that FUDCon is starting to mature in terms of how things run and the information presented. Early on they were pretty disorganized, but things seem to work well this time.

The hackfest days were also productive for me, which is usually not the case for me at FUDCon. I think what worked well this time was that we all didn't try to do too much during the hackfests. Keep the scope down and just really work on the one or two things at the hackfest and it can be really productive. For me, I liked hashing out the plan for testing anaconda in the project. I'm looking forward to working on that.

With all FUDCons, there are areas for improvement. Both as a conference as well as what I can do to better prepare. Namely:
  • It should have been called FUDCon Vaughn. While I liked the facility for FUDCon, the location of the hotel left few options for people wanting to socialize after a day of work.
  • Better coordination from the airport to the hotel. A $45 cab ride is sort of a waste for one person. I could have done better trying to find people to share a cab with.
  • POWER STRIPS AND EXTENSION CORDS! This plagues every gathering of hackers with laptops, no one ever brings enough methods to distribute power. I will start bringing an extension cord and at least one power strip, thus doing my part to help the situation.
  • Hotel wifi was weak. Everyone at the hotel would jam up the connection and no one was able to use it. Worked fine if no one else was at the hotel. The wifi at the university was good over the weekend, but it was really hard to use on Monday.
In short, it was a great FUDCon and I was glad that I was able to make it. I am on my way home now. To make this trip cheaper for me, I backed up FUDCon to my Thanksgiving trip. My flight back home is scheduled for tomorrow from ATL. In the past 21 days I will have flown over 11000 miles (17,703 km) and passed through 6 different airports (HNL, LAX, ATL, RIC, JFK, YYZ) and 2 countries.

I'm ready to get back home. Anyone else up for FUDCon Honolulu next year?

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