Sun 20 May 2012

FUDCon Kuala Lumpur: Day -1, 0, 1

Posted by ankur in Tech (1306 words, approximately a 6 minute read)

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    I've been in Kuala Lumpur for two days now. Out of them, two days have been conference days, and the first was when we roamed around a bit. There is so much going on here. I'll make my best effort to cover as much as possible.


    We reached Kuala Lumpur after a comfortable flight at 0100 local time. KageSenshi (Izhar) was to pick us up, since it would be difficult to find transport at the time. Kushal and Soumya were to land around 1230 local time too, and would join us in the van Izhar had come in. Alas, their flight was delayed by almost two and a half hours which meant we sat at the airport until almost 0400 local time. It was bad weather that night. We only got to the hotel (hotel Sri Petaling) by 0600 local time. We quickly checked in, and slept for a few hours before going out to see the town. The hotel is really good, and even though Izhar insists that it's a "cheap one", I'm more than happy with their selection.

    Izhar first took us to the "Plaza Low Yat" which is a giant electronics mall. We got ourselves local SIM cards here before heading out. Aditya, Praveen and me went about by train after stopping at a Starbucks to take a dose of caffiene. I couldn't help eating a doughnut too though. We went on to the flea market at "Pasar Seni" to look for some souvenirs after that. I bought myself miniatures of the Petronas Tower. For lunch, we stopped at "Restoran Yusoof Dan Zakhir", right next to the market, where Praveen had the Mee goreng (fried noodles)  with chicken, and I had the Nasi goreng (fried rice) with lamb. The food was really good and only cost us a total of 12MYR, a bottle of water included. Aditya failed to find a vegetarian place in the area, so we decided to head to the Petronas Towers (He had located a Pizza Hut outlet on google maps close to the location of the tours at KLCC. He found a Subway en route though). It wouldn't be a trip to Kuala Lumpur if I didn't have a photograph of the twin towers on my camera really :P. We got back a little early to rest and make up for lost sleep. Dinner was a tad bit difficult to find, basically because we didn't know a thing about the area. Aditya had another difficult time finding something vegetarian to dine on. He finally decided to order the only vegetarian pizza on Pizza Hut's menu. Praveen and me felt adventurous and decided to try our luck at the local food stalls and restaurants to get a taste of the local cuisine. The first place we went to ignored us completely. I even went up to the waiter to try and communicate with him, but he just walked away while I talked XD. I guess the language barrier is a little too much at times. Anyway, not disheartened by this experience, we moved on to the next local restaurant. This one luckily had someone the cashier referred to as "uncle", and "uncle" understood some English. We asked him what the menu contained. They didn't have a menu. So, we asked him what he could give us. A few minutes later, we'd ordered a fried Nasi goreng with prawn, and another dish, which I don't really know the name of. I must say that the food was really delicious, and the quantity ample. We ended up wasting some of it even. We went down to the room that the organizers have occupied to chat a little and get to know them for a bit. I found Izhar, Yogi, Maverick and the rest there. We helped them a little with their work, making the food coupons. I was carrying a packet of Indian sweets for them, which I think they enjoyed quite a bit. Almost a kilogramme of sweets cost me only INR 4, but that's a story for another day (The actual cost was a hundred times that :)). We eventually hit our beds to get up in time for the conference the next day.

    The next day was Day 0 at FUDCon Kuala Lumpur. Day 0 was reserved for barcamp style sessions. It started with Christoph's keynote, which I've put up on for everyone to look at. I'll transcribe it and try to add subtitles in the next few weeks. This could be one of the first videos to go through the fedora-videos project! The keynote, which I strongly suggest you see for yourself, was "Leadership in leaderless organizations". It was a most interesting session. Following the keynote, Izhar quickly introduced the attendees to the bar camp style. The process was explained. Ganesh and me took over the pitches and voting. We had twenty pitches in total. I think all of them got slots, since the speakers decided that thirty minutes were sufficient for each session. The pitches covered a large selection of topics that the audience could choose from. The list included git, localization, fedora for students, collaboration between various open source packages, virtualization and even photography using Fedora. I pitched for LaTeX, which I think is a really really cool document system. Another one of my pitches was on how you can troubleshoot your system. None of these were intended for advanced users. The idea was to introduce new people to these goodies. All the sessions witnessed good numbers I hear. My LaTeX session had a few folks from academia even who were really impressed by the bibliography management that LaTeX provides. They asked me specific questions, for instance about a specific bibliography style, a specific style, specific symbols. I couldn't answer them all but I gave them all the pointers I could on where they could get the information. It really was a lot of fun to talk to and discuss with folks! I spent all my time attending other sessions, learning as much as I could. I'll let you read the various speakers' blog posts for information on the sessions.

FUDCon Day 0 Barcamp schedule

FUDCon Day 0 Barcamp pitches

The day was hectic, and we were really glad to head back to the hotel to rest ourselves a bit. Dinner was again something we needed to look for. We were more fortunate though, and found an Indian restaurant that had "naan" and "tandoori chicken". Aditya, I think, went out looking for pastures with Christoph and Joshua. We joined the team from Sri Lanka, Danishka, Buddhike, Uditha and Kappa for dinner at the Indian restaurant. I remember getting back to the hotel after dinner. I think I fell asleep soon after, it's still a grey area :).

    Day 1 was preplanned with sessions. I had the fedora-tour and fedora videos sessions. The fedora tour session had a surprisingly large audience. I won't lie, I had four slides in each of these presentations in total. I talked to them and discussed both these projects instead. The target audience for both the fedora tour and the fedora videos projects are the non geek, non nerd, non technical community. I got some useful feedback from the attendees. They really liked the idea of having a web tour where they could check out what the current Fedora releases had to offer. I now have more incentive to push and get the fedora tour up on its feet. A few folks came down and asked me how they could contribute. Links were religiously distributed. (If you're interested in either fedora tour or fedora videos or both, email me today!!!!). The highlight of the first day really was the FUDPub. I think the pictures I put up should tell you the story well enough.

    Day 2 is on going. I'm in the "oVirt" talk at the moment. More on this day, tomorrow.

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