Sometimes there's alot of negativity out there, especially against $big_company that manages to screw things up. I figure it's time to hilight some of the positives out there.

For a while, i've had some issues with my screen on my Dell Laptop. I guess it was one of those freak occurrences, but there was a single column of dead pixels that i was more or else able to ignore and procrastinate like usual. Recently though, several keys stopped working. More importantly, of those several keys, one is needed to unlock the encryption on the system, which makes getting good procrastination done very tricky without an external keyboard. Good thing i sprung for a three year warranty.

I set up an issue ticket with Dell's SMB unit in the US where i bought the laptop from two years ago. Their response was quick, within 24 hours. I'm guessing there must have been issues with the keyboard in the past, because there were no questions about it. The only thing i had to do was do an OS agnostic test of the screen, verify that the problems persisted, and then wait a week for the parts to ship from one depot to another. Once the help desk decided it was worth it to replace the parts, they sent a new motherboard, screen, and keyboard to one of their Dutch repair centers, as part of a separate business unit. They also arranged for a technician to come to my office and fix the laptop on site. Aside from a small hiccup in shipping, the entire process was as smooth as some of the ice we're having.

I really have to give the SMB BU at Dell lots of bonus points for just being able to take care of it. This is exactly how i feel companies should solve problems.

I'm going to FOSDEM

I just booked the hotel for Fosdem, and i'm already excited. It's not every day that i get to stay at a five star hotel for under 80 euros a night, no matter how little it's actually worth it. Not to mention, Fosdem's always fun, and not just for the drinking.

I'm thinking of doing a couple of things differently this year. For starters, i'm debating forgoing the Fedora polo just to wear the the red hat around. We've set a trend for having not red hatters wear the fedora at Fosdem, not to mention its chick magnet powers. (You'll have to ask Andreas about that one though, i wasn't quite sure what he was talking about.) I'm also thinking of ditching the laptop. Every year there are more people, which is the obvious understatement of the year. What this implies is that there are more devices shaming the wireless network into realising how pathetic and weak it is. The good natured network admins do their best (or worst) to keep the network up and running each year, but it just never quite works 100%. This year, with the explosion of the iphone and android, i'm assuming that even if the admins managed to figure out something for everyone, it's still going to fail. Having a laptop just seems like it will be overkill.

I'll still bring my XO 1.0 for the booth.

I hope to see you all there.

Have we really outgrown Barcamp?

Right now i'm at Eth-0 Winterlan, which i probably should have blogged more about, though the muse hasn't been striking much lately. Since it's a hacker event, we don't actually officially start until 12 anyways, so i had some time to check my email this morning before we begin. (It could be we're starting later because of the remoteness of the location. You can't get farther away from civilisation without going up north to stay with the Frys.)

I had a look through the preliminary survey results from the FUDCon we had in Toronto. I'll have more comments later about the future of FUDCon Live, but one things struck me as worth commenting on. Among the usual gripes and comments about the location, time of the year, and the colour of their wished for ponies, i saw a number of complaints and comments about the quality of the BarCamp planning. There were also gripes that FUDCon is not a planning event. I think this reflects a change in audience since the humble origins of FUDCon.

I will agree and say that it was chaotic and a bit tricky to manage. It's been this way for the past few FUDCons i've been too, owing to the sheer amount of people who have something to talk about. Furthermore, this is exactly the way a BarCamp should be, everyone should have something to contribute in one way or another. The question is, can this scale? My answer, yes it can.

At the GSoC Mentor Summit we had another BarCamp. With a few hundred people in attendance, i never felt like there was so much going on that i would miss something critical. I contribute this to a few factors. There were fewer pitches per attendant. The topics presented were far broader in scope than a FUDCon. We had two days of sessions, and finally, the true value of the Mentor Summit was being able to meet people face to face, and not focus on the BarCamp.

I think it's time to revisit the way we organise our BarCamp sessions. I'm going to start making propositions for changes on the FUDCon mailing list to see what we can do.