[CrackMonkey] Linux.conf.au

Robert Thomson sirrmt at dingoblue.net.au
Wed Jan 17 06:21:50 PST 2001

So... I arrived in Sydney yesterday and am staying with a friend.

Today, I ventured to the University of New South Wales to partake in
the first day of http://Linux.conf.au/  which you can read about
for yourself.

Not being a Sydney-sider myself (rather from Newcastle, ~150km north)
the bus situation catches me off guard.  Half-following the instructions from
the friendly www.131500.com.au I jumped off the bus at Railway Square.
Only half-following the instructions wasn't a good idea, because I had no idea
where to go next, and the not-bad-people around the area had no idea where
I was to go either.  They will die for it, I tell you.

Anyway - I eventually give up trying to find where to catch the bus, and
ask for directions to central station - a short walk away.  I get down there,
then totally confused ask again.  And again. Clueless fucks who don't know
how to get to where I want to go.  At that time the same lady who pointed me
to Central station walks by and helps me find the bus once again. How nice of

While walking we pass a few security guards, police cars, and a police rescue
van.  Someone must have jumped on the tracks again - or at least someone
reported that someone jumped on the tracks.  Incidentally, Australia apparently
has one of (if not the) highest male youth suicide rate in the world.

So - on with the day.  I get on the bus, arrive at the UNSW, and talk to a
helpful oriental chap. We get along with a bit of english & sign language, and
I'm on my way to the theaters where the conference is being held.

Signins were at 8am.  First tutorials were at 9am.  Or so they said.  Lucky I
arrived at 8:50am, otherwise I probably would've been alone there.  I decided
to skip the first tutorials, and instead mingle with strangers and

I met a number of people I knew from IRC without knowing who they are.  Rik van
Riel then assisted in pointing out a few more people.  I growled at Raster (as
everyone should) but didn't make a point of introducing myself to Alan Cox,
despite meeting him on IRC a few times.  The Linuxcare crowd arrived from
Canberra at about 4:30pm - and after some conversation and thought, I came to
the opinion that Rusty's role is overstated, in comparison to others at
LinuxCare canberra.

I, having a somewhat shy front in real life, let others dominate
conversations.  Often listening in on other people's, and only speaking for
clarification or if I have something I think will be of genuine interest to the
people.  I know there's nothing worse than being told what one already knows,
and feeling like one has to act interested in it.  The fly on the wall approach
works well often.  For the most part, I understood all topics of conversation,
or inferred meaning easilly.  Although listening to Alan Cox, Matthew Wilcox,
Colin McCormack and others chat about the intricasies of kernels in a noisy
room left me nodding dumbly for a little.

Colin's a friend, who gave a tutorial in the morning on his pet project
(actually, it has a number of very competent developers now) Coldstore
(http://coldstore.sourceforge.net/), which is a gigabyte scale persistant
object system.  Very interesting - read up on it yourself.  I saw someone
with a dictaphone, so expect to see an mp3 of his talk soon.

I attended Colin's tutorial at 11:30, which to my surprise had a packed
theater.  Although judging from the limited laughing at certain clued-in
jokes, there were only a dozen or so people in the room who had an idea
of what he was talking about at times.

I lounged about for another 2 hours during the next tutorial, before
discovering the student lounge downstairs where people had setup their laptops
with network connections.  Poor me with my lack of laptop was stranded without
net-access.  I could have borrowed one for a few if I really needed to, but I
decided I could control my urges.  Soon after everyone else discovered the
student lounge, and it turned into a sauna.  People talked for a while, and
there was a generally accepted idea that we'd be heading to a pub somewhere for
some drinks and pub-food.  After about an hour, nothing eventuated, so Colin
and I took off.  With some instruction from Andrew Morton, we headed in exactly
the opposite direction of the pub intended.  After discovering our err, we
caught a taxi to meet up with others at the Royal.  Whether they had been there
and moved, or if we had been misled, I don't know.  We downed a beer and
caught a taxi to the Coogee Bay Hotel, where most of the speakers were staying.
We expected to find at least a few people there.  Noone.  We resigned to eat
there (they have a grill-your-own setup) and grabbed our food.  Heading to the
table I spotted a GNU shirt sticking its head in briefly, and heading out
again.  I chased and invited it to sit down.  On closer inspection of the
shirt, it had a name-tag on it, reading "Raph Levien".  On even closer
inspection, I noticed it had Raph Levien inside the shirt.  I introduced myself
and Colin.

To try and keep this email short - he's a good bloke.  Very interesting & easy
to talk to.  After food, several Guinesses, and much conversation, Raph bid us
goodnight, and Colin and I decided to take a taxi back to central station.
On the way to the cab, we negotiated to fit 3 attractive pommy girls in the
back seat with me and we'd drop them at the top of the hill.. but with the taxi
driver out of change, We had to fetch some first.  Turns out they're from
Newcastle.uk, (as mentioned before, I'm from Newcastle.au) - practically
neighbours.  Another friend of theirs turned up however, and 6 passengers in a
4 passenger taxi wasn't going to happen easily, so I let them take this taxi
and hailed a new one.  A point to note is that no taxi drivers in Sydney speak
more than 300 or so English words.  None of them whatsoever, I'm sure.

Anyway - the night ended, and I caught a bus back to my friend's place and
started up putty (he has a Linux box, but in his bedroom) to my home machine,
inhaling deeply to satisfy my hunger.

If I'm able, I'll post tomorrow aswell.

Good day to you all from drizzly Sydney, Australia, everybody.

PGP Fingerprint: 0A 31 C9 3E 55 34 1C ED  4A D0 CD 47 2C EA E0 45
UNIX is user friendly. It's just selective about who its friends are.

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