Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Foss-Ed for geeks [Day 1 & 2]


Listening to Prof. Lawrence Lessig speak was like listening to a continuous flow of harmonic notes resonating ever so smoothly and flawlessly, you'd wonder if he has memorized it.

They say "a picture is worth a thousand words", and yet somehow, it seems just the opposite with Prof. Lawrence's slides. Even though it contained only a couple of words per slide, when synchronized with his continuous train of words, had a powerful effect to convey a message - a message of commons.

I've never heard or seen anyone speak so effortlessly while flipping though a serious of slides, atleast 10 - 20 slides per minute at times, each only containing a word or sometimes a couple of words, and to do the whole exercise without pausing to look at the screen to change slides. The closest I've seen to this was probably the "weather report" on CNN or BBC.

I was lucky enough to not only listen to two such high passed but yet calm speeches done at the FOSS-Ed and later in the evening at the laugh of the Creative Commons Sri Lanka website, but also had the privilege of talking him to lunch.

While the highlight of the day was undoubtedly the talk by Prof. Lawrence, there were a lot of other great technical speeches that seemed to keep most of the audience at the edge of their seat. Unfortunately I couldn't sit throughout the rest of the talks, as my own rear was on the line to finish the presentation on Kernel Configuration, that I'm supposed to deliver tomorrow (today by the time you read).


On day2 I didn't stay for many of the lectures and was basically running around and trying to finish my presentation. When the time came, I think I had enough slides to get me through the kernel config lecture. Everything went pretty well except for the fact that my notebook did not display anything on the LCD when hooked up to the projector, which was annoying as I had to keep turning my head to see if I was typing the commands correctly.

Later we had an interesting guest speech that wasn't in the schedule by Wipul Jayawickrama. It was on the topic of using "Social Engineering" to penetrate security and contained many real-world stories from his experience.

The ended with a "not-so-great" panel discussion, (of which I was also a part of :)), either because the crowd was shy or dumb struck for questions. I think this was a another very successful foss-ed.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

FOSS-Ed for Hacker's is coming to town

The second installment of FOSS-Ed, an ongoing series of seminars to educate on the wonders of Free and Open Source Software or FOSS in short will commence from the 22nd, Monday.

FOSS-Ed was a huge success last time around with very good participation and you read more about on my previous post Fullhouse @ FOSS-Ed.

This time around we expect an even greater participation and by looking at the number of current registration, looks as if we are heading for another Full House! Unlike the previous FOSS-Ed seminar, the latest installment is targeted at the IT savvy geeks that enjoy programming and installing and fine tuning software for security or performance.

Whats more exciting is that Prof. Lawrence Lessig, the great visionary, an excellent speaker and founder of Creative Commons, the alternative to copy right, will be the keynote speaker. I'm very much looking forward to hearing him speak.

And finally, ahem, ahem... I too will be speaking on "Linux kernel configuration and optimization" that I hope will help to demystify the topic and help people realize that "Kernel compiling" doesn't require you to have an inhaler, standby!

For anyone interested in coming for the event, there is still time to register at http://www.foss.lk.