Reader's Digest Newsweek's guide to FOSSSL2006

Last week has been both exhilarating and some what exhausting with a series of events that began with the Hackathon on Monday, and ended with Geekout on Sunday (though I came back on Saturday).

I've finally got around to uploading the photos which is available at my flickr blog. Here is the recap:

Sunday 13th

On Sunday, I spent the whole day setting up my barebone with Ubuntu64 and testing out VLC hoping to steam the cricket match during the Hackathon. First I tried the multicast mode of steaming video via ipv6, which sort of worked, except that it flooded the network to the point that no one could browse the internet. So much for that! Instead, I settled for the good old http streaming.

That evening we went out to dinner at the Thai restaurant at Trans Asia with the "geek people".


After dinner, I was very much intoxicated after a hefty meal, but knew that the show must go on. So I set about to test the video streaming setup in a similar condition to that in the conference. Luckily for me, we had two rooms reserved at TransAsia for some of our guys to stay over, so I decided to spend the night hacking at the video streaming problem. As a result of the wireless router (belonging to WSO2) being bought from the US, it required a 110v power supply, which was only to be found in the bathroom, where you would normally plug an electric shaver. The solution involved co-locating the equipment near the bathroom, which enabled us to conduct a successful test :)


Monday 14th


With all that testing, you would have expected me to say how managed to stream the match. But Murphy had his way and we were never able to stream due to several problems such as an unstable wireless link. Nevertheless (on a positive note), we did show the match using a video projection on to a big screen. I'm not sure if people coded or watched the match, as I didn't stick around to watch. I had to run off to FOSSSchool and FOSSUni.

Out of those two events, FOSSSchool was extremely successful with a full house, while FOSSUni was moderately successful, perhaps due to other prevaling circumstances.

Tuesday 15th


ApacheConAsia got on to an awesome start with several interesting talks. I was surprised that even though I wasn't directly part of the Apache Developer community, there seemed to be a track that suited the technologies I was interested in (hint: not java).


Russ Nelson stood out as the other "geek with an attitude" ;) I could have sworn he was my twin older brother when it came to the love for gadgets. Actually he is much smarter and geekier than I could ever be. After all he writes packet drivers for a living!

He had a cool glove like keyboard, which he had developed to make it easier to type (after a not soo steep learning curve), in mid air without ever touching a conventional keyboard. Keystrokes are transmitted via bluetooth to his awesomely cool Nokia 770 tablet PC, which by the way was also running on GNU/Linux!

Another fun session at the ApacheCon Asia were the "Lightning Talks". Unlike Count Dracula's lightening talks, which involved counting numbers, accompanied by thunder and lightening, these topics weren't restricted to just counting, though there was a count down timer of 5 minutes. Each person had the freedom to talk about anything, be it technology or "what they did last summer", as long as it ended in exactly 5 minutes.


IMHO, Mifan probably did the most hilarious talk involving an adaptation of the Sahana disaster management system for managing, well family disasters, so to speak :). David Recordon, more commonly known as Dave, started his session talking about a RPG game called, WereWolf, which at the time seemed total greek - that was until geekout (see below).

apachecon_asia_00501.jpg The last session for the day was another common item in the ApacheCon menu, known as a BOF (pronounced Boff) which stood for Birds of a feather. BOF's are basically a place for small interest groups to informally meet to discuss on an interesting topic. As I didn't much understand what was actually been said, instead I concentrated on something more tangible and at arms length -- free Beer!

Finally we all went out for dinner to the Gallery Caffee which had a nice romantic ambiance.



Wednesday 16th

apachecon_asia_00536.jpg Woke up late after a night out and missed Sanjiva's talk on, "The world is flat in Apache" :( I had some catching up to do with organizing fossenterprise that was going to happen in another 2 days, so spent most of my time was spent at the Hackathon lounge. I still managed to squeeze in a few interesting talks such as Embedding Axis2/C by Samisa and ofcourse the panel discussion that was moderated by Manju Hathotuwa.


The day ended with an award ceremony, followed by cocktails. During the awards ceremony, I was called up on stage and given a T-shirt for mentoring FOSSCode. I also won a nice IBM denim shirt from a lucky draw that was held by US Technologies.

Cocktails were fun, especially for Russ who seemed to enjoy playing the role of the "confused, wanna-be" minister.


Thursday 17th

I came late on Thursday, just in time for the "Web Application security bootcamp" tutorial, by Christian Wenz, which literally scared the crap out of me! He dazzled the crowed with some amazing JavaScript and SQL injection methods to show how naive web developer's are and how easy it was to penetrate their web sites. While he did show how to write secure code that can minimize this sort of cross scripting vunerabilities, at a considerable cost of putting in a lot of extra effort. Good security concious framework should (hopefully) make this trivial.

Friday 18th

Got up earlier than usual and rushed off to water's edge. Most of my involvement at FOSSSL 2006 was with the planning of FOSSEnterprise, which was about to be put to the test. At first, there wasn't a huge crowd, apparently due to a high traffic jam as a result of the security arrangements for the SAARC games. But by about 10am we had a full house of corporate people wanting to know about FOSS. As a result, by the end of the day, we only had two file dockets left of which I took one. Anuradha took the other ;)

apachecon_asia_00589.jpg apachecon_asia_00587.jpg

Danise did a touching opening speech on what FOSS was all about and how it has/is changing the lives of many in the world that at one point I had to fight hard to keep my eyes dry.

This was followed by 5 short case studies, each lasting no more than 15 minutes, which talked about how FOSS was the differentiating factor. My talk on "securing your infrastructure using FOSS" was the last talk for the day and was rushed to finish in 15 min. Luckily I ended up escaping an official escort even after taking 18 minutes.

After FOSSEnterprise we got on the Geekout bus and started our journey to Kithulgala, which turned out to be a long long long journey...

By the time we got there, it was raining hard, and we were starving. The bus we came in had a few glitches that prevented it from going anything over 30km/hour. Pretty much everyone who was using alternative transport beat us to the destination. Nevertheless we managed to kill time arguing over the GPL License and what it meant that we didn't notice it as much.

geekout00621.jpg The "Kithulgala Rafter's Retreat" we stayed in was indeed a great retreat from modern life. The cottages we stayed in were well designed to look simple and in touch with nature. For example, you could barely see the wiring, that provided electricity to the ancient looking switches. The yellow ambient lighting (which was of energy saving type), gave a warmth feeling.


Each cottage was uniquely built to fit the landscape it was in. Myself, Anuradha and Sanjaya shared a cottage. After a tiring day, we decided to hit the sack early. There was a constant loud sound of the water stream rushing a few feet across and below us. One could also hear the sound of frogs, crickets and other natural beings. But we were too tired to appreciate these by this time.

Saturday 19th


Got up late to a lazy Saturday but after a naturally cold shower I was ready for anything! After having a delicious breakfast consisting of bread/string hoppers with samen,dal, coconut sambol, we started to contemplate on white water rafting. But before it was the time, there was a little time left to play a little game called Geocache, which was basically a modern hitech version of "Hide and seek" or to be slightly more accurate "treasure hunt", but using a GPS device to locate the hidden treasure.

The way the game went was as follows: First Russ hid a box containing nothing useful :) somewhere in the field (of leeches) and then gave the Geo Co-Ordinates which we entered on to Rich Bowen's GPS device. Then it was a matter of walking around trying to find the hidden box. Ofcouse its not easy as it sounds due to the relatively lower accuracy of civilian GPS and that fact that you have to be constantly moving to get a reading. We eventually managed to find the device but had some bad leech experiences along the way.

White water rafting was truly exhilarating but the hightest point for me was that of jumping off a high rock into fast moving water stream. It didn't feel dangerous until it was my turn. My body only felt it was suicidal just a split second after letting go of the ground, but then it was too late. I can't wait to do that again!

After coming back and having a delicious lunch, we started playing WereWolf, the weird game that Dave was talking about during Lightening Talks. I found myself in an awkward position when I discovered that my girl friend was a were wolf, capable of eating me as I was a mere villager. Convincing the other villagers to get rid of her would also prove touch as they might suspect me as a werewolf. Ultimately I played it safe and helped kill off two of the other Werewolves before they relialized she too was a werewolf. The final werewolf turned out to be Ken core, whom I pointed out as my dying last word purely on gut feeling and it turned to be correct, ending the game.

Later that night we had a barbecue after which I rushed back home, thanks to a ride by Rucith and the gang!



Waaah... I missed all that FUN! :'(

On a nother note.. salmon NOT samen.. ;-)

Unknown said…
I still don't get what WEREWOLF is all about! :-S
geekaholic said…
Oh boy! Ok let me try to explain...

1) The game had a moderator who
2) secretly chose 4 werewolfs while everyone was sleeping (had theirs eyes shut) and
3) chose 3 sherifs
4) rest are all villagers
5) The moderator says its night time and everyone closes their eyes
6) Moderator says werewolves wake up and they all open their eyes and point to the next villager to die
7) Moderator says werewolves sleep and wake up the sherifs. They can each point to a sleeping person and ask if that person is a werewolf to which the moderator will give a thumps up or down
8) Moderator says sherifs sleep and then wakes everyone up
9) Villagers have to decide who might be a werewolf and hang(kill) that person
10) When dying each person can say one word, usually a hint to who they think is a werewolf
11) idea is to kill off all werewolves before all the villegers die in their sleep
what minimum number of people do you recommend to play the game...?
Genesis said…
Nice picture :)
Is it a dog or a Horse?

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