Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'travel'


barcelona, 2014


This year was my first time attending MWC and it was quite the experience. I’ve been to some conferences before, but the sheer scale of this one was amazing.

And although it was my first time attending in person, it certainly wasn’t the first time I helped the team prep for the show on the technical side. A hectic several weeks of landing fixes and features, to an installation party on Sunday night, and rushing to the booth early Monday morning to do a final pass of updates before doors opened at 9am, the team on the ground with super support from the team on the homefront worked until the literal last minute to produce the best software build we could for a week of intensive demos. It wasn’t perfect, but no demos ever are, and I was extremely proud of the end result.

My job was to be a booth babe and give demos of Ubuntu phones and tablets to interested passers-by, but I lost my voice on Monday (possibly laryngitis) and was thus relegated to back room tech support for the rest of the week.

typical euro lovers' room
note how close the bathroom on the right is to the beds

There was also an unfortunate incident with mussels and food poisoning that I’ll not expand on here, but if you want full details, talk to my hotel roomie Cimi who got the Full 3D/HD experience at 4am. Sorry Cimi!

After the crazy week, Cimi and I spent the weekend decompressing by taking in the sights, before starting our second week in Barça, where the plan was to work remotely whilst eating as much jamón ibérico as humanly possible.

parc guell

The last time I was in town, I saw quite a lot of the major tourist attractions (thanks to turbo-mom who just pushed our family to maximize every moment), but two things we missed were the Miró museum and Montserrat. So that was Saturday and Sunday, respectively, and I’m pleased to report both were worth the wait.

In fact, I hadn’t realized what a fan of Miró I was, and speed-bingeing on the Wikipedia article on the Spanish civil war made the experience all the richer.

giant vending
world’s biggest vending machine

The remainder of the week was fairly nondescript. We enjoyed hanging out in the quiet Sant Andreu neighborhood and doing our interpretation of local life, namely sleeping in until 10am, working a bit, enjoying siesta from 1500 — 1800, eating tapas, maybe working a bit more, and saving everything else for mañana.

All the photos from the trip are in barcelona 2014, and to wrap it up, my first ever attempt at video creation is below.


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Sean Sosik-Hamor

UDS-R (Raring Ringtail) Group Photo

UDS-R (Raring Ringtail) Group Photo

Those of you in the UDS-R (Raring Ringtail) group photo must have been quite disappointed this time around! Instead of having to climb precarious ladders or hang out of third-story windows to get the shot I had a nice stable balcony to stand on! Truth be told, while taping the boundaries, my cohort Brian and I were trying to figure out how to get me up into the tree for sheer comedy value. No luck. Maybe next time.

Ubuntu Developer Summit Raring Ringtail (UDS-R) at Bella Center, Copenhagen, Denmark, EU – 29th Oct – 1st Nov 2012 [cc by-sa 2012 Sean Sosik-Hamor]. High-resolution originals can be downloaded in the SmugMug galleries:

About the shot…

Since my shiny new EOS M was still preordered and didn’t arrive in time the setup was the same as Budapest, Orlando, and Oakland; shot with my workhorse EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM mounted to the  EOS-1D Mark IV on 10 FPS burst to increase the chances of getting a usable shot with all the movement in the crowd. Unfortunately the poor lighting meant I was shooting relatively high ISOs so there’s quite a bit of noise on the originals. Flash photography in the rest of the gallery was lit by a Speedlite 580EX II with a few shots here and there taken with the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM.

Sean Sosik-Hamor taking the UDS-R (Raring Ringtail) group photo

Sean Sosik-Hamor taking the UDS-R (Raring Ringtail) Group Photo (Photo by Jeff Lane)


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Mika Meskanen

The release schedule of Ubuntu is tied to a 6 month cycle, also called cadence. Similarly, a lot of our work and planning falls onto our diaries like country festivals on farmer’s calendar.

Ubuntu Developer Summits are obviously the main events. However, if you work on Canonical Design Team, there are plenty of other events to attend to as well.

Last week we were in the Isle of Man having a work sprint with the Product Strategy group. Obviously we took an advantage of the setting and embarked on some off-piste activities in our free time. Here’s a little gallery:

IMG_0518 IMG_5120 IMG_0611 IMG_1665 IMG_5083 IMG_0012

Similar, if not better scenes have also taken place in Florida, California, South Africa…

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South Korea is a land of details. From motion sensor escalators that only turn on when someone steps on, to elevator user interface, where pressing the button takes you to the floor, but pressing it again cancels the action (how often have you wished for something like that when obnoxious children mash all the buttons for fun).

There is minimal Engrish, for the most part, signage is well translated. The strange paradox is that for many people — I’m talking about young people — their command of spoken English isn’t that great. This was somewhat surprising to me, considering that to interact with much of the business world today, English is the standard.

Upon a bit of reflection, perhaps I am guilty of misunderestimating the vast, sheer, numbers of people in Asia, a region in ascendancy. It was a bit of a reality check on where the west currently stands in relation to the east in terms of importance. It’s a little early to claim we’re in the death throes of pax Americana but it’s still food for thought.

Another surprising aspect for me was how dirty the air was. Nowhere near as dirty as the air in Beijing, Shanghai, and Nanjing — visibility in those cities averaged approximately 400m when I was there, whereas you could see several km into the distance in Seoul. Still, the omnipresent haze was jarring to someone who spends a lot of time in the American Rockies, where visibility is essentially limited by geographic features, such as ridgelines or say, the curvature of the earth.

We’re experiencing a gigantic wildfire right now, and people in Fortlandia are rightly complaining about the air quality.

Imagine if you woke up to the above every single day.

Finally, axolotls are some of the best animals on earth. Ever.

I’m since back from my week-long work trip there, stopped in at Summit County to do laundry, and then off again. This blog post comes to you from London.

Some useful links:

  • the rest of my Korean photo album — enjoy
  • Learn to read Korean in 15 minutes — driving along in South Korea is actually a great place to practice this, because the signage is dual posted in both Hangul and English. I impressed my hosts with kindergarten reading proficiency (although of course I was just sounding out the words phonetically with nary a clue of what I was actually saying)

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Sean Sosik-Hamor

Another UDS, another chance for me to risk life and limb by climbing dangerously high objects to get a good vantage point to take the group photo! Setup was the same as Orlando; shot with my workhorse EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM mounted to the usual EOS-1D Mark IV on 10 FPS burst to increase the chances of getting a usable shot with all the movement in the crowd. Unfortunately the poor lighting meant I was shooting insanely high ISOs so there’s quite a bit of noise on the originals.

UDS-Q photos cc by-sa 2012 Sean Sosik-Hamor (prints can be ordered by clicking the Buy button in the gallery):

Photo by Bilal Akhtar showing the secret behind the UDS-Q Group Photo!


Another behind the scenes shot showing what went into the UDS-Q Group Photo. cc by-sa Howard Dyckoff.

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Sean Sosik-Hamor

It’s déjà vu all over again! It looks just like last year, only a bit more organized! Since getting everyone balanced in a group photo the size of this is akin to herding cats I decided to lay down boundaries with gaffer tape like at UDS-O in Budapest. It worked out extremely well; it’s much easier to say “stay inside the pink tape” than to bark orders over the crowd to get individual people to move and fill in the gaps. And remember, if you can’t see my lens, I can’t see you!

UDS-P photos cc by-sa 2011 Sean Sosik-Hamor (prints can be ordered by clicking the Buy button in the gallery):

Shot with my workhorse EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM mounted to the usual EOS-1D Mark IV on 10 FPS burst to increase the chances of getting a usable shot with all the movement in the crowd. Apologies for taking a while to get these posted; it’s been a hectic four weeks of travel, event support, and sprinting.

The making of the group photo

Following what appears to be a new UDS tradition Randall managed to capture me herding everyone into the photo box made out of pink tape! (cc by-sa 2.0 rrnwexec)

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life changes

SF prep #1
forsooth, a brake!

I’m moving. Travelling, really.

Around the world.

In 3 to 4 month chunks.

A city at a time.

Really, it’s about time. I’ve been thinking about it for several years now, planning piecemeal, laying down disjointed bits of foundation. But it’s happening. For real.

One of the best perquisites of Canonical is the inherent assumption of remote working. As long as you have a laptop and wifi, you could really work from anywhere in the world (modulo a tiny bit of reality, but for the most part true), assuming you remain productive and available for your colleagues.

It’s time to get while the getting’s good, and take advantage of the freedom. Have laptop, sense of adventure, and strong GI tract; hitting the road, in search of wifi and the perfect bánh mi (or empanada, I’m not terribly picky).

I love Fort Collins. It’s the perfect Pleasantville, and I’ve never been happier living here for 8 years. But Penelope claims that you cannot have both a happy life and an interesting life; you have to choose one.

So, I choose interesting.

When are you leaving?
I leave Ft. Collins on 30 September 2011.

Where are you going?
First stop is San Francisco.

San Francisco is hilly, isn’t it?
Right-o. Hence the recent addition of a rear brake on my fixie. I’m not too scared of pedaling a 54×19 up hills, but I am scared of riding down them without additional stopping power.

For how long?
My sublease runs until 31 December 2011. I’ll probably extend it by an extra month and stay til 31 January 2012 because moving on New Year’s Eve sucks. Unless the world ends, of course, in which case the move will be permanent.

Then what?
I’ll come back to Ft. Collins to make sure my house hasn’t burnt down. Maybe gather a few things, maybe sell some other things, maybe do a bit of skiing (February is the best ski month in Colorado anyway), and figure out where I’m going next.

Oh, you’re not selling your house?
No, I’m too lazy to pack yet, or to fix the small nagging things that need to be fixed in order to sell a house.

Are you renting it out then?
Yes, I’ve some friends renting it out for the first stretch, but nothing lined up after that. Would you like to rent a nice house in early 2012?

How about your car?
My lovely renters will run it once in a while to keep the battery from dying. But I plan on leaving it garaged in Ft. Collins mostly.

Ok, so what’s next?
I’m not sure. I really want to go to Taipei, but it kinda depends on how my current work project is going. We currently have staff in two major timezones, the Americas and Europe. Stretching staff across 3 timezones into Asia is horrible. I did that for my last project, and it meant that someone always had a 2am meeting, which sucked. So, if current project is winding up as expected, Taipei is next. If not, then the next strongest candidate will be Buenos Aires.

What factors into your choices?
I’d really like to improve my Mandarin. I plan on taking lessons in San Francisco, and continuing them in Taipei if I end up there. Otherwise, my Spanish could use some tuning up as well. And I fucking love empanadas. Seriously. A lot.

One factor to consider is the length of the tourist visa. Most countries will give US citizens a 90-day stamp without too much hassle, so those countries are more appealing. But to be honest, this whole trip is an experiment in playing it by ear.

Why keep coming back to Ft. Collins? Why not just a ’round-the-world ticket?
I wouldn’t exactly call myself commitment-averse, but I’ve noticed a common pattern in my life heretofore has involved a lot of hedging. Also see above note re: ear-playing (which sounds a whole lot worse than the longer phrase).

Will you blog? Tweet? Facebook?
Yes. Yes. No.

Email works too.

Will we still get platypus Friday?
I shall endeavor to please.

Don’t you think fake-asking yourself questions on your own blog is a little pretentious?
At times, I hate me too.

And clichéd?
Ok, ok, I get the point.

In any case, if you have travel suggestions, tips, whathaveyou, I’m happy to hear them all.

Stay tuned to this space for the latest and greatest.



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  • Brief analysis of 150,000 photographs from Flickr in the province of Malaga.
  • It identifies the profile and preferences of tourists.

Last Saturday, I  was in Malaga. I was invited by Sonia Blanco and the Universidad Internacional de Andalucia to participate in workshop on Tourism and Social Networks. Sonia is professor at the University of Malaga, and one of the oldest bloggers in the Spanish blogosphere. Sonia asked me to present the analysis Fernando Tricas and myself did about Flickr photos and the Canary Islands (2009-2010), and I gladly accepted. I wanted to bring an update, so we got to work to make a short presentation with data from the province of Malaga. And that's what is shown below.


Last Thursday, with the presentation already made, Fernando passed me an interesting link, a visualization by the Wall Street Journal that shows the density of a week of Foursquare check-ins in New York . If the WSJ could do it, so do we ;)  We already had the data and the map algorithms, so generated the maps by months and joined them to build the animation.

The video below shows the density of photographs taken in the province of Malaga from 2004 to 2010. Blue colors are areas where they make some pictures, and the red areas have made many pictures. There are areas with many photographs, places of touristic interest. And of course, there are months where the activity is higher and lower. 


The video is just a bit of whole presented analysis. Full version is available below.

As you may know, Flickr is a popular photo-sharing service with 5 billion of hosted images and 86 million unique visitors. Flickr has social networking features, since it allows to make contacts. Flickr can play a role in the promotion of tourist destinations, as it is one of the main sources of images on the Internet. But to us, Flickr is a huge source of data: Which are the most photogenic places? Who are taking pictures there? These and other questions can answered using data mining.

For this study we obtained the metadata of 175,000 photographs (62,000 geolocated), 7,900 photographers and 1,470,000 tags (47,000 unique). All these pictures were either marked by the tag "malaga" or GPS coordinates were inside the province of Malaga.


Below are the five most relevant slides: the tag cloud, the number of photos and photographers by months, the top 10 countries of the geolocated photographers, the group of tags and heatmaps of the geolocated images.

  • Turismo-malaga-11
  • Turismo-malaga-17
  • Turismo-malaga-13
  • Turismo-malaga-15
  • Turismo-malaga-20
  • Turismo-malaga-20

According to those who share photos on Flickr about Malaga, we can conclude that:

  • The high season in Málaga is August (also, in April there is a Holy Week-effect.
  • Users come mainly from UK, USA, Italy, Germany, Madrid and Andalusia. (USA is probably overrepresented compared to real visitors).
  • They are interested in photography, beaches, festivals, fairs, nature, sea, birds, sky, parks.
  • Pictures are taken mainly in Málaga (capital), Ronda, Barcenilla and Benalmadena.

The full presentation slides show more features, such as geolocated photographs by countries. It is interesting to compare these data with the previous study on the Canaries. A more detailed analysis can be done, but the roundtable had limited time. This sneak peek shows the potential of social networking and geolocation services for market research. If you have any questions, ask in the comments!

The presentation and images have a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike license.

Finally, my gratitude to the organization of the UNIA for the invitation and hospitality, to Daniel Cerdan for suggesting the title of the post and Fernando Tricas for his unconditional support.

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Those with a keen eye or snoop around in the exif data will note that I made all of these photos with my Canon 10-22 wide angle lens. It’s becoming my favorite general purpose “travel with just one lens” lens in spite of several clear weaknesses. For most tourists who simply want to show they were there, this lens will capture more of “there” than any other, especially the grand buildings that are so prevalent in Europe. And, after a bit of practice, you can start taking advantage of the lens’s distortion to make interesting images of day-to-day life (since the small moments are what actually make travel interesting), but usually end up rather boring.

On the down side, the lens is slow and you’ll occasionally get frustrated with the “all wide, all the time” perspective, but on the whole, it works well for me as my walking around tourist lens, especially when you want to travel light.

Check out the full set here:

Budapest 2011

Oh, and for several reasons, I didn’t take many^Wany photos of UDS itself:

  • “still life of people in meeting rooms” isn’t exactly the most exciting subject
  • I left my Speedlite at home
  • my lens is too slow (F/3.5-4.5 ) for most indoor shooting
  • and anyway, you can see all of Sciri’s fantastic people photos on his site

alberto and mlegris disagree

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Sean Sosik-Hamor

After 8544 miles traveled, 16 days on the road, 40 GB of RAW photos, and two days of post-travel coma, I’ve posted the official group photos and my personal photo set from Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric Ocelot (UDS-O) which took place at the opulent Corinthia Hotel Budapest (formerly Grand Hotel Royal), Budapest, Hungary, EU (9th – 13th May 2011). UDS was insanely hectic as usual trying to keep everything running smoothly behind the scenes. Luckily there were enough lulls to give me a chance to meet a bunch of new faces and catch up on some of my favorite projects.

UDS-O photos cc by-sa 2011 Sean Sosik-Hamor (prints can be ordered by clicking the Buy button in the gallery):

In addition to the above SmugMug gallery I’ve added the group photos to Facebook for tagging! And if you’ve ever wanted to see what goes on behind the scenes and what gets packed for UDS, check out the UDS-O Logistics gallery.

Unlike UDS-N in Orlando where I found out on short notice that I would be the official photographer I came a bit more prepared this time toting my EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM on top of the usual EOS-1D Mark IVEF 50mm f/1.2L USM, and pair of 580EX II Speedlites that permanently live in the Fastpack 350 that always accompanies me everywhere. Immediately upon arriving at the hotel and checking in I scouted locations and found a gorgeous spot to take the group photo shooting down from the fifth floor catwalk into the Southeast atrium bathed natural light from the skylights and six-story street-facing glass wall.

Unfortunately the hotel staff disagreed with my selection and pushed us into the lobby spilling up the main staircase when it came time to actually shoot the group photo. This location was less than ideal forcing me to shoot at a strange angle from an offset second floor guest room window overlooking the lobby with mixed tungsten, CFL, sunlight, and shadow.

This required a bit of pre-planning and creativity to make sure everyone would be in the photo and wouldn’t be blocked by pedestals or balconies. Liberal use of pink highvis gaffer tape on the floor to mark the boundaries of the frame and verbal instruction (if you can’t see my lens then I can’t see you) seems to have ensured that everyone actually got into the photo…including some creative trolls folks who made their way up to the first floor balconies!

The rest of the photos shot throughout the week were dead-simple and accomplished by utilizing natural light or by dragging the shutter with on-camera bounce flash with catchlight panel. While the more difficult nighttime outdoor bar and cafe photos had the Speedlite pointing straight up into the air with only the catchlight panel bathing the subject with fill flash, the indoor Orfeum Club photos also utilized a strategically-placed remote Speedlite and glass ceiling to create some interesting effects.

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Ubuntu Developer Summit Oneiric Ocelot (UDS-O) Logistics at Canonical Group Limited, London, England, UK – 11th – 15th April 2011

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Canonical Platform Sprint and Launchpad Epic at The Renaissance Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, USA – 10th – 21st January 2011 [cc by-sa 2011 Sean Sosik-Hamor]

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Sean Sosik-Hamor

UDS-N Group Photo

I’ve posted the official group photo and my personal photo set from Ubuntu Developer Summit Natty Narwhal (UDS-N) which took place at The Caribe Royal, Orlando, Florida, USA – 25th – 29th October 2010. Overall it was quite a productive trip and, in addition to working event support, running video cameras, photographing the event, and attending sessions, I got to hang out with the usual gang of Open Source superstars and meet plenty of new faces!

UDS-N photos cc by-sa 2010 Sean Sosik-Hamor (prints can be ordered by clicking the Buy button after clicking through to the below galleries):

I was a little caught out by volunteering to do the UDS-N group photo since Ken Wimer, the usual photographer, wasn’t in attendance and the photoshoot had already been scheduled. I knew it would be a bit of a scramble to get everything squared away because I was traveling light and the only lens in my bag was an EF 50mm f/1.2L USM (my standard shoot-anywhere workhorse).

The first task was to source a lens since a 50mm just wasn’t going to cut it. Many thanks to Ted Gould for letting me borrow his EF 16-35mm f/2.8L II USM lens as well as the Novacut guys for offering up their EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM on standby. It just goes to show how great the Ubuntu community is and how the Open Source sharing mentality even carries over to physical (and quite expensive) gear.

Once the lens was sourced a location had to be scouted so I contacted Yvonne from hotel services to arrange a quick tour of the grounds. We explored the various courtyards and ponds but the prime location was right in front of us the whole time: the West entrance to the convention center closest to the UDS session rooms. The West entrance loop was blocked off with traffic cones to keep cars out of the shoot and I scheduled hotel engineering to set up a ladder for Friday afternoon before lunch so I could get some test shots.

Once everyone was lined up outside and herded into the frame I fired a few bursts at 10 FPS (which made everyone giggle) to make sure I had plenty of posed, waving, and jumping shots to choose from. The photoshoot itself ran smoothly and only took a few minutes leaving plenty of time for coffee before heading back into sessions.

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Canonical IS Sprint at Hotel Auditórium, Madrid, Spain, EU – 9th – 13th August 2010 [cc by-sa 2010 Sean Sosik-Hamor]

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Sean Sosik-Hamor (Sciri)

Ubuntu Developer Summit Maverick Meerkat (UDS-M) at Dolce La Hulpe Hotel and Resort, Brussels, Belgium, EU – 10th – 14th May 2010 [cc by-sa 2010 Sean Sosik-Hamor]

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Viva Bavaria!

Netti WG-Zimmer

“Grüß Gott!” zusammen aus dem Land südlich des Weißwurstäquators! Auch wenn ich selbige Würste bisher noch nicht verkosten konnte, steht dies ganz oben auf dem Programm!

Ich bin am Samstag gut in München angekommen, wo mich Netti gleich am Hauptbahnhof abgeholt hat. Da wir nun schon mal im Zentrum waren, haben wir die Zeit auch gleich für einen Spaziergang über den Viktualienmarkt und dann für eine Stunde Stadtrundfahrt genutzt, um schon mal einen Überblick zu bekommen. Das richtige bajuvarische Lebensgefühl stellte sich dann im Englischen Garten ein, der bei diesem tollen Sommerwetter natürlich gut gefüllt war. Insbesondere natürlich der Biergarten, mit stimmungsvoller Musik, vielen “Moaß”, und Brezeln die gefühlte 10 Kilo schwer sind (wir haben uns allerdings mit einem Krautsalat und Eis begnügt :-) ).

Nettis WG-Zimmer ist klein aber fein; meine Luftmatratze passt auch perfekt zwischen Bett und Kommode, und sonst ist mittlerweile auch alles drin was rein soll. Dafür ist bei 8 Frauen im Haus auch immer was los! Und es ist richtig schön gelegen, viel Grün in der Nähe in dem man herrlich spazieren und auch laufen gehen kann (Das hab ich heute morgen gleich mal ausprobiert. Wenn man schon mal auf Taekwondo verzichten muss..)

Gestern am Sonntag war es dann so richtig tolles Sommerwetter. Der erste Tag im T-Shirt und Sandalen, juchuu! Wir haben den Zoo besucht, und danach die Auer Dult, ein süßer und gut besuchter Markt mit Volksfest (siehe Fotos).

Zoo Muenchen - Elefant

Ab heute geht es dann wieder etwas mehr seinen gewohnten Gang. Ich habe mir in Nettis Zimmer mein Büro eingerichtet (aka den Laptop aufgeklappt) und bin fleissig dabei, Ubuntu 10.04 den letzten Schliff zu verleihen, bevor es dann am Donnerstag vom Stapel läuft.

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Sean Sosik-Hamor (Sciri)

Ubuntu Developer Summit Lucid Lynx (UDS-L) at The Renaissance Dallas Hotel, Dallas, Texas, USA – 16th – 20th November 2009 [cc by-sa 2009 Sean Sosik-Hamor]

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when you go to dinner in a car^Wtank^Wbattleship^Wrazy something like this:

Hummer limo

I savely arrived in our hotel in Dallas, Texas this afternoon, after a rather uneventful 14 hour trip from Dresden via Frankfurt. On the way I emptied my laptop battery with some small hacking and catching up on bug report email, and did a lot of reading. I also tried to watch Harry Potter 6, but the headphones they give you were so hideous that I hardly understood anything, so I gave up after some ten minutes.

In the early evening a small group of us went to the center to have a light Mexican style dinner (yummy), and someone came up with the monster above. Was quite an experience, veeery comfortable interior with leather couches and champagner glasses. Almost as comfortable as on my bicycle at home. :-P

Naturally I feel the jetlag and are pretty groggy now, but I still managed to stay conscious until now, after having a beer and two hours of chatting in the bar. It’s so great to see everyone again!

I’m looking forward to the Ubuntu Developer Summit next week.

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Today I returned from a great mini-vacation (long weekend). My parents and I visited my sister, in-law, niece, and nephew in Bavaria. We don’t see each other very often, it’s always great for me to see my niece and nephew grow, and play with them.

The highlight of the vacation was on Sunday, when my father, my in-law, and me went to Insbruck, Austria, on a 5-hour fixed-rope route climbing tour. It was my first outside climbing experience (I only did some indoor bouldering so far), and so I was looking forward to this new experience.

Martin on mountain top (click for more photos)

It was a “difficulty medium” trail, and indeed it was quite challenging at times. At some spots I couldn’t really climb any more, but had to cheat and resort to clinging to the rope. But it was fun anyway!

The Alps are such a wonderful place for enjoying fresh air, sun, and the nature!

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Pete & Amber

Atlanta LinuxFest the Day After

Wow, I'm still in a daze. Atlanta LinuxFest (ALF) was an incredible event. It was held at the IBM facility in Atlanta on Saturday.

Some background first. My wife Amber (akgraner) was on the planning team, so I was watching this event come together from the periphery. I would hear her on planning calls and I never really understood what it takes to put an event like this together. My hats is off to all involved, I can say it gave me a new appreciation for all the work that goes into community events like this.

This was ALF's 2nd year and as such was expected to be small. It was far from that, they had over 600 registrations and at any given time during the event there were 300+ people at the event. This event was planned by 4 people with limited resources and they pulled off one hell of a LinuxFest.

The speaker line up was diverse and impressive, there was something for everyone. Additionally Amber had organized an UbuCon and it was a big hit. They had sessions topics like "Community Leadership" & "Burnout", every time I went by the UbuCon area it was packed and they had some intense discussions going on.

The Ubuntu Kernel Team took advantage of the event to get some Karmic testing done on the plethora of laptops/note/netbooks that were there. Manjo Iyer from the Kernel Team ran the testing. I don't have the exact numbers of what makes and models were tested (we still have to sift thru the data), I do believe it was well over 100 people and some had 3 & 4 machines with them. Lots of bugs were filed. I want to put out a heartfelt "Thank You" for everyone that came by for testing. You guys will make Karmic a far better release.

I gave a talk on Ubuntu, Canonical & the Ubuntu Kernel Team. I had given a talk at the Southeast LinuxFest back in June and received lots of feed back about the content. I was surprised to learn that people wanted to know about Canonical, a bit about it's structure and how Ubuntu fits in. So I incorporated lots of that back into the presentation. I also stressed how the Kernel Team is looking to expand its community, and if you want to participate you don't have to be a kernel developer, or even a programmer! We welcome anyone who is willing to test, triage or help us organize. Like in any community we need people with diverse skill sets.

Steve Conklin of the Ubuntu Kernel Team gave a talk called "Debugging the Kernel". This talk originated from another Kernel Team member Colin King (cking). The talk is basically a collection of all the wild & useful debugging techniques that Colin has come up with over the last few years.

John Johansen & Stefan Bader from the Ubuntu Kernel Team gave a rehash of Greg Kroah-Hartman's "Write a real working Linux driver" tutorial. The tutorial consisted of a Ubuntu USB live stick tricked out with compilers, headers and git tree. Users would boot the live stick so that they would have a consistent development environment. John then walked them through the basics of git, kernel device drivers and in the end the users wrote a device driver that would work with a GoTemp USB Thermometer. They had 16 thermometer devices and in the end the temperature could be read by reading a file in the /sys file system. Each session was full, I just wish we had more devices so that everyone would have had the chance to fully participate, not just watch.

Dan Chen of Ubuntu Audio fame gave a great talk on debugging audio. Judging by the size of the crowd in his talk, audio is still an issue with quite a few users.

Suse, Red Hat & Fedora were all there with booths and talks as well, however I would say that the mind share at the event went to Ubutnu. You couldn't turn around without hearing the Ubuntu login music, seeing Ubuntu stickers, banners, t-shirts everywhere!!!!

Surprisingly quite a few folks have been running Karmic in some state of Alpha for quite a while!

The day started with a Video Podcast from Mark Shuttleworth specifically for the event. Mark was about to announce the name of 10.04 when they cut the video with a slide that said "Find out at the UbuCon!"... dooh! It left everyone hanging for about another hour.

In the UbuCon area they had monitor set up with people crowed all around waiting for the announcement. They played the whole video from start to finish and finally after much anticipation, Mark announced that 10.04 would be called Lucid Lynx. This was quite a departure from other "naming announcements" where he would send out an email or post it on his blog. It was really special that it was announced at a UbuCon at a community event!

There is so much more, but I'll leave that for the other blogers... I have to catch a plane on my way to LinuxCon & Linux Plumbers in Portland!


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