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.

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