Life on the conference circuit – Part 2

Arrived in Copenhagen then took a train to Malmö – a very short and easy journey. It is so easy due to the Øresund Bridge and the Drogden Tunnel – two magnificant pieces of engineering. Once in Malmö I thought I could walk to my hotel but no, it rained too much and in no time I was soaked. I therefore took a taxi. I then realised that the taxis in this area can be extremely expensive. The very short ride, approximately 8 minutes on foot, costs me about £12 – I was stunned and promised myself I will never take a taxi again or at least opt for a reputable firm.

On Tuesday morning I set up the O’Reilly table and hoped (wrongly) I would be able to visit Malmö during the afternoon. No such luck – the credit card machine (among other things) was playing up. I had to have it fixed before the conference. By the end of the day everything was fixed and I could relax. Unfortunately sightseeing was out as it was very dark and still pouring with rain. So decided to look at a little television – not a good idea. Why do we always see imported American series in other countries? Is it because the language is not complicated and it is a good way to learn English?

Wednesday, I got to the venue before 8.00 and there was already a lot of people there. The venue is  Slagthuset which allegedly means “slaughter house”. Please feel free to correct me if this is not the case. The day started with the keynote “Software Won – So What Now?” by David Rowan. Then the conference divided into 7 tracks – I should think a very difficult choice for the delegates. The last keynote was by Jim McCarthy – “Culture Hacking and the Coming Era of Magnificence”. Evening activities followed with the Øredev jazz concert, in keeping with the Øredev tradition, and then the Øredev quiz put together by the speakers.

Thursday had an early start again with a keynote by Reginald Braithwaite – “The Rebellion Imperative”. After the talks we had another hour of jazz followed with Alexander Bard’s talk “The rebels come out online”, concerning the influence the internet has over us. I was wondering whether anyone had any thoughts regarding whether the internet really has any control over us? Please feel free to elaborate in the comments section.

Friday started with Jonas Birgersson’s keynote “Tailwind/Headwind in the Pursuit of the Fibre to All”. The day finished early with Hojun Song “From Collective Intelligence to Collaborative Creation”. During that time we had to remove all stands, books etc. to leave the place free for a dinner of over 300 people. I don’t think I have ever seen a place change character in such little time. All at once you can see the flooring (carpet tiles) being removed and replaced immediately by tables already fully dressed for dinner – white table cloth, glasses, cutlery, vase of flowers and of course candles.

During the day there was talks from O’Reilly and Pragmatic Bookshelf authors:

50 videos are already published on the Øredev’s website and more will be online tomorrow! They can be found here.

Impressed by the content? Why not pencil in Øredev 2013 which will be held on November 4-8 next year (same place)? Take the opportunity to look at Malmö, it is worth visiting.

Life on the conference circuit

On Thursday November 1st, I left home on a very autumnal morning. It rained all night so the roads were at their worst. Got to Heathrow Airport for the BA flight to Sofia – no problem but I am still wondering why we had to sit over half an hour in the plane before taking off. Made it to Sofia without any other problem and left my luggage in my hotel – sorry I meant in the flat of the organizer of OpenFest, Marian Marinov and his wife Toni Marinova – Once again I stayed with this kind couple.

After setting up the O’Reilly table with the many books, I was invited to listen to a talk on GitHub by Brian Doll at the University of Sofia. It all started very well – I was learning fast and then catastrophe!  I lost it and once again I realise that technology is not for me. I did discover how GitHub make money but I am sure you are all aware of that so I will not bore you with the information. From there we went to one of the oldest restaurant of Sofia, wonderful local food in a very special setting.

The making of TUX

OpenFest has been going on for years – I believe since 2003 and has been growing ever since. This year there were more attendees than ever and it offered 6 or 8 talks in English – so OpenFest is becoming an international event with speakers from:

  • Germany – Harald Welte, famous for his work on the Linux kernel, GPL enforcement – see and Openmoko
  • Croatia – Tonimir Kišasondi, Junior researcher at Faculty of Organization and Informatics in Varazdin, Croatia and Vlatko Košturjak

I am always surprised to see how well our books are doing in Bulgaria when the average salaries are so low. I feel also sad that the books are not readily available and that not only do the book buyers have to pay a lot of tax but also the heavy cost of shipping.

GitHub invited everybody to a  “Rock Party” on Sunday night – probably not the right music for me but I thoroughly enjoyed the people and their enthusiasm to music, beer and peanuts. It was also nice to hear some typical Bulgarian songs among the heavy rock stuff.

This was my 6th visit to Bulgaria, I am very impressed to see how Sofia has changed during the  last 6 years. Of course the communist blocks of flats are still there and will be there for a long time, but I found the city a lot cleaner, the grass was cut and there are a lot less potholes  on the roads.

Marian taught me how to take night pictures so please enjoy my favourite church – the Russian Church near the Aleksandar Nevski – two beautiful buildings.

 I still need to work on my settings…..


Monday 5th, I was back on the road or should I say back in the air – travelling to Malmo for Øredev 2012. There was no direct flight so had a stop in Vienna, just enough time to eat a Goulash Suppe – that brought back 40 years old memories.