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Sun, 14 Oct 2007:

Yes, the whole trip was full of stupid memes, mostly thanks to Gora. The trip to Manali took a good 20 hours and we spent most of the evening & night talking shop, making jokes and discussing "stuff". But there were times when the conversation was more interesting.

gora: you like someone because of, you *love* someone in spite of.

Somehow in those few words, the distinction between those two words is glaring and obvious (oh, yeah "love is blind"). After the flow of reason stopped, I went to sleep in in the aisle of the bus, as usual. Except this time when the bus braked hard downhill, I slid down nearly half the length of the aisle. Anyway, I had an otherwise uneventful journey to reach our hotel in Naggar, about 20-odd kms away from Manali proper.

The hills were really beautful this time of the year. The sunsets were brilliant and the weather stayed pleasant all through out. It was perhaps a tad too cold, with temperatures slightly below 10 C in the nights.

We went up to Rohtang pass to see some snow and the whole hillside had a mild smattering of snow. It was dark and gloomy, but that didn't dampen anybody's spirits during the snowball fight. But having run out of breath and energy, everyone pretty much settled down to quiet contemplation soon. After a protracted lunch, we headed downhill back into valleys.

And then the jokes started in earnest.

B: Uh... my nose hurts
G: Oh, noes! 


*dyslexia discussion*
*me thinks "On the internet, nobody knows you're a goD"
G: Oh snoe, I'm dyslexic!

But there's more - we invented the concept of CVS Suppositories. And by we, I mean OldMonk, Dr. Gora (*heh*) and plain old me. We'd discovered the ideal version control system for bad code - CVS.

Me: *laughing* ... and if you need your own copy, cvs up yours!

After several jokes about upstreams, branching, merging and of course, the possibility of a flush command, we all retired into bed. And that was the end of that.

To be rather brief about the rest of the trip - we went, we saw, we had fun.

The writing of history is largely a process of diversion.
          -- Chapterhouse Dune

posted at: 06:14 | path: /travels | permalink | Tags: , ,

I had gone to Freed.in to talk on something slightly unusual. My talk was on "!0 Things You didn't know about Python" - and as usual, I overdid the technical bits of the talk. But at least someone will remember memoization can improve your factorial code. So, here are the slides and let's leave it at that.

The whole conference schedule was packed with familiars from #linux-india - but the absence of Lap_64 and Lawgon was felt rather heavily. Nearly all of ILUG-Bom was present at the conference, even the Panvelkar.

There were some interesting things which came up during the conference. One of them was the SME Panel discussion where the adoption of F/OSS in the small & medium enterprise was discussed. The hurdles to most of these arise from the lack of support and surprisingly, vice versa.

As one of the volunteers commented, the paid-for support structures in place are leaning precariously on the seniors in the community. Where there is an OldMonk or BigBeard, there isn't really a gradation into a lower echelon of cheaper support for simpler tasks which a newcomer can take up without incurring much risk. The vicious cycle of establishing a reputation versus requiring one is present in the system.

Repurposing the LUG to handle the responsibility as a contact point was discussed and IMHO was a waste of time. A community organization with democractically inclined operation cannot do that job effectively. Involving it in monetary transactions brings in a large number of problems which are best solved by incorporation elsewhere.

Secondly, there was f3ew's talk on Building Online Communities, which was mind-mapped unconference of sorts. I'm still working on my Breaking & Entering Communities talk, but this sort of served as a stage to throw out some of my material. I personally think that we need help in contributing to communities rather than going about building them.

And as the conference wound down, we all packed our bags and headed out to Manali.

I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon.
                  -- Howard Chaykin

posted at: 00:42 | path: /conferences | permalink | Tags: ,