Russ (avantman42) wrote in opensourceforum,
Russ
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LUG Radio Live 2007

This weekend, I was at LUG Radio Live 2007. Those of you who have ever heard LUG Radio will probably realise that this was not a typical Linux expo.


Saturday started with an introduction, then I went to see Ted Haeger's talk. Ted is a very polite man, so much so that when he was on LUG Radio, the swearing was reduced by 90%. Feeling he had to make up for this, he started his talk with an impressively long list of expletives, including the one word that gets bleeped out on LUG Radio. The talk itself was interesting - Ted now works for a company called Bungee, who are working on an on-line development tool that looks very cool.

From there, I went to see Des Burley's talk. Des is a lawyer, and spoke about software patents, copyright, and so on. An interesting talk, and it was good to hear someone who actually is a lawyer talk about such things.

Lunch was spent with a bunch of people from #lugradio, and a lot of pizza, then it was time for Adam Sweet's Gong A Thong Lightbulb Talk Extravaganza. This was probably the best example of how this event was not a typical Linux expo. Adam Sweet appeared on stage in a white dressing gown, to the sound of the Rocky music. Removing the gown revealed that he was wearing a thong, and very little else. Happily, though, he had chickened out slightly, and was wearing pants under the thong. The lightbulb talks were a series of 3-minute talks, the one judged to be the best winning a Nokia N800.

Next up was The Mass Debate. On the panel were Becky Hogge of Open Rights Group, Chris DiBona of Google, Nat Friedman of Novell, and someone (Stephen Lamb I think) from Microsoft. This was quite interesting, with a large part of the debate taken up with the BBC's decision to use Microsoft's DRM on it's new iPlayer, and what the open source community can do to persuade them that it's a bad idea.

That over, I went to see Kat Goodwin's "Alternative Advocacy: Taking it to the schools", where she talked about volunteering to teach programming at her local school, and then saw the second half of Scott James Remnant's "10 Really Cool Things". Both were interesting, and having worked for a few months as an IT tech in a secondary school, I could empathise with some of the problems that Kat had encountered.

Finally, as is traditional, Saturday finished with the recording of LUG Radio Live and Unleashed, and there was a get-together at the venue in the evening, which gave people a welcome chance to simply socialise with friends that they usually only see online.


Like last year, Sunday was quieter than Saturday, presumably because many people were nursing hangovers. The first talk that really interested me was Becky Hogge's talk about what the Open Rights Group has been up to for the past year. When you consider things like ID cards, the proliferation of CCTV, DRM, etc, it's very easy to get depressed about the state of digital rights in the UK, but Becky pointed out several successes from the past year, and I came away feeling much happier about the future. ORG is currently fighting electronic voting/vote counting, and that is a very worrying area. Stories like how the Scottish National Party almost lost all it's votes because someone had forgotten to count the votes on page 2 of the Excel spreadsheet(!) makes you wonder whether you should laugh or cry. She also talked some more about the BBC's decision to use Microsoft DRM on it's new iPlayer. Aq pointed out that the guy who wrote the iPlayer was at the event, and so he was brought on stage (wearing an EFF t-shirt) to help give the BBC's side of things.

After lunch, Gervase Markham did a very entertaining talk on "How to Win Every Argument" using logical fallacies, and using Latin names for things so that it sounds like you know what you're talking about. Gervase is a funny speaker, and even though this talk wasn't a comedy talk as such, it was still a lot of fun.

Gervase's talk finished early, so we got to see the last 10 minutes of the Hour of Power before Bruno hosted The Great LugRadio Quiz. This was a lot of fun, but you really had to be there.

The quiz marked the end of the event, barring the giving away of much corporate tat. Jen managed to get a small cuddly penguin by catching Jono's eye and shouting "For the baby, Jono!" (I should probably point out that Jen is pregnant, for those that don't know us)

In the evening, we went to the Quality Inn Chin Hotel for drinks with people, which was a great way to wind down.

And that was it. Another fun-filled weekend in Wolverhampton. Many thanks to all who made it possible. It was a great event.
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