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BSDCon 2000 - the wrap up 22 October 2000
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I'm now in Ottawa, after having flown up there from San Francisco on Saturday. That *was* a long day. This will probably be the last chance I have to update the diary before my return to Wellington on the 31st.

I did manage to see Tim Kientzle's talk on Database-driven Web Design. I was interested to learn that logging to a database table is not his idea of fun. I can see why now. There is a perfectly good logging system built into Unix. Why not use that? It was also interesting to see that data pulled from tables and data pulled from files was not much difference in speed. I was also able to confirm that the caching tactic I was using for FreshPorts is the recommended approach for sites which can't cach in memory, such as php.

The core team panel was interesting to listen to. Of course, there were the usual and compulsory sheep jokes about Jordan Hubbard. For those that don't know, these jibes hark back to an incident at FreeBSD con 1999. In fact, the story starts several months before that con. Jordon was on IRC when someone pasted a URL for Jordan said he wanted one. Being the good and kind soul that I am, I said "I'll buy you one. And present it to you at the Con". This was several months before FreeBSD Con 1999. And he'd completely forgotten by the time his key note speech arrived. In secret discussions with Jim Mock, I had made my purchase and had it shipped to the Walnut Creek CDROM. We inflated it long before his keynote speech started (we were there for the tutorials before the con). It took a great deal of effort to keep this love-ewe hidden. We managed to stash it behind the stage. Bill Swingle was the dude chosen to present it to jkh. And Jim Mock was the one to bring this rather large bag out from behind the stage and give it to jkh. Needless to say, Jordan had lots of photographs taken. Many people decided to verify that the sheep was, yes, anatomically correct. jkh will never live this down.

Conference costs
For each of the past two Cons I've been to, I've heard people complain about the cost. I've heard similar grumblings about the cost of mountain bike races. My only comment is that the people doing the complaining must not know much about event organisation. In both cases, the whiners just don't understand how much it costs to hold such events. For example, the audio/visual costs for BSDCon were US$16,000. Spread that amongst 350 people, that adds about US$45 to each ticket. Now imagine your breakfast, your lunch, and the cost of hiring the meeting halls. This stuff isn't cheap. And part of the problem is that you can't easily get sponsorship for such small events. Compared to Usenix, we are a small event. They had over 3000 people. With that audience, you can demand much more money from exhibitors. But face it: BSD is still small time compared to Linux. It will take time before the bigger audiences come.

Before someone complains about the venue, that it was too far away from everything, let me remind you: a conference is an opportunity to hang out with people with similar interests. By forcing you to stay near the hotel, or at least not having restaurants within walking distance, well, you just might have to talk to someone. If you really do want to get away, a cab isn't that expensive.

Hardware update
Despite promises by UPS to deliver the motherboard to BSDi, they failed. They tried to deliver again to Len and Kelleye's place (you'll remember Kelleye as the blonde convertible owner and Len as her husband). Len has volunteered to pick up the package and get it sent to me in New Zealand.

I'm typing this article up at the home of my friend Eric Rosenquist. Eric, his wife Leisa, and I went to Carleton University together. I was best man at their wedding. While I've been here, I've been able to test the CDRW. Well, it spins up, and I can read a CDROM with it. I'll have to wait until I return home to test the writing and rewriting functions. I really didn't want to install that software on one of Eric's boxes.

Last update for a while
As my parents do not have a computer, I suspect this may be the last Diary update until I get home in November. It's probably not widely known, but Ottawa, where I lived before I moved to New Zealand, is a telecoms hotbed. All the major player have offices here: Nortel, Cisco, Alcatel, and Mitel. Being back here, and see all the high tech companies has made me slightly homesick. For Ottawa, not for New Zealand.
Missing clothes
When I first arrived in California, I was staying at the Geek House. This is where Jim, John, and Bill live. On the Friday before the Con, I moved to Len and Kelleye's place. In the move, I left behind a bag of clothes I'd just bought during one of my shoppping trips. Fortunately, Bill brought the clothes to Monterey with him. Unfortunately, there was not enough room in the Miata for the additional baggage. Add to that, the clothes which I was given which I was at BSDCon (t-shirts, jackets, etc), I had to ask someone to transport these items back to Concord for me. As my luck would have it, these items didn't get back to me before I flew out to Ottawa early on Saturday morning. Len (the husband of the Miata owner) was good enough to wake up at 5:15am and drive me to the airport. Len's going to arrange for my shopping and the motherboard to get to me in New Zealand.
Back to SF
Tonight is the only night I could visit with Eric. He's heading down to San Francisco in the morning to meet with the people from the company he just started working for. He was working for Entrust but left there about a week ago. With luck, and I hope I'm not hexing the opportunity by mentioning it here, I might leave for NZ early. I have to fly back via San Francisco, so I might be able to talk to his employers about some intersting work they may have for me. After all, I am going to be sitting around SFO for a few hours anyway. So flying down a day or so early isn't much of a problem.

Until next time...

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