Day 0, Events FAD 2010. We started the day by brainstorming (read the log up to "15:29:59 <mchua> brainstorm wrapping up, any last thoughts?") on four questions in turn:

  1. What is a good FUDCon?
  2. What's the difference between a FUDCon and a FAD?
  3. What makes a good FAD?
  4. How do we send event-recording things to events (and decide which events to send things to - and what are we sending?)

Once we had a plethora of sticky notes blanketing a whiteboard in response to those four questions - and a much better idea of what folks were thinking about - we split into our two tracks: FUDCon 2.0 and FUDCon Live.

The goal of the FUDCon 2.0 track is to "refresh the entire "Premier Fedora Events" idea in our community. Break it down to first principles and build it back up, eventually refining processes, decision-making, and ownership. Then put this into practice as we plan 2010." We ended up with a FUDCon design page and the start of a Premier Fedora Events calendar, plus a lengthy list of Saturday action items and documents to draft tomorrow; the discussions we had along the way (including an analysis and discussion of the FUDCon Toronto survey results from the Marketing team) have been transcribed, and are probably more entertaining reading than today's deliverables themselves.

The goal of the FUDCon Live track is to bring together the tools (both software and hardware) and processes needed to take remote participation and recording of FUDCons to the next level. As part of this track, we're working with the freeseer folks to get their events-video-streaming code to be more modular and easily hackable, using 100% FOSS in its toolchain (replacing several encumbered codecs with gstreamer in the backend), and packaged in Fedora (of course). You can see the issue queue we're working through, along with the #freeseer IRC log and the general FUDCon Live track log (which doesn't have a lot in it - it was mostly freeseer today).

Memorable moments of the day:

  • Clint and Dennis discovering that our new vga2usb converter did not have a FOSS driver available, and the subsequent Max-and-Clint electronics shopping run to get a scan converter in the meantime. The general idea behind using either is to take the VGA output from your computer (what you'd typically send to a monitor) and turn it into a video input for your computer - the kind you'd usually get from a webcam - so that video can easily be streamed. The vga2usb converter is a much simpler solution (intended directly for that use-case) and provides higher-quality video... but it's more expensive ($300 vs $50) and requires us to find someone who can write a driver for it first.
  • Debates on how one would put a pony on one's expense report.
  • We're going to have women's t-shirts (well, in general, shirts for folks with sizes we may not have gotten in the past by default) at the next FUDCon! I know it's a tiny thing - but it's a tiny thing that means a lot to me; I've only ever gotten one geek t-shirt made to fit me during my entire career as a hacker to date.
  • Michael Cunningham's surprise visit, during which frisbees flew across the room (he threw them, too).
  • A mass trip to see the movie Avatar - in 3D IMAX. And let me tell you: there is nothing better than watching a gorgeous epic sci-fi movie with a bunch of fellow geeks - particularly when it's accompanied by free popcorn and soda. As bonus points, we continued to defy death during a (very, very slow) drive back to the hotel while experiencing the rarity that is Raleigh's White Terror - snow, and possibly even more than an inch of it in a single night! (Yes, my Bostonian driver sense is laughing now.)
  • Remote participants chiming in during the brainstorm and subsequent discussions and hacking - a big thank-you to Thanh and Andrew from freeseer, as well as to Susan, John, Yaakov, Karsten, and everyone else who joined us on IRC and added their ideas to the pool.

That last point bears repeating. One of the things I'm enjoying greatly about this FAD is the amount of dogfooding we're doing - in my (biased) opinion, we're doing a pretty good job of keeping things up to date in a way that lets remote participants eavesdrop and participate. Instead of writing notes only when asked to do it, we're transcribing all the time; the wiki is continuously kept up-to-date, and we'll occasionally ping those we know to be remote and watching and say "hey, we'd like your input on this thing."

It's a lot of work, but it's great to have - for remotees, for our future selves (it's making it easier to type these wrap-up notes now, for instance), and for my own ability to participate in the live conversations at the FAD, since sometimes lipreading in a heated discussion jumps between people faster than I can follow, particularly when concentrating on something else (like transcribing our whiteboard notes to the wiki). People have been taking transcription shifts in an ad-hoc manner throughout the day in order to pull this off, and my wrists and I for one am grateful. Suggestions on how we can make things even more accessible to remote participants would be extremely welcome!

We're in #fedora-fad on tomorrow and the day after (Saturday and Sunday) as well if you'd like to join in on the fun - depending on the weather and the road conditions, we may be hacking from the hotel, or we may be hacking from the Red Hat office (all of 5 miles away, mind you) - but either way, we'll be on IRC and hackin'.