Paw Prints: Writings of the maddog

"May I help you?" - Conference Slides From POSSCON

May 08, 2011 GMT

 In March I attended POSSCON in Columbia, South Carolina for the second time. I wrote about their conference last year, and this year's conference was slightly bigger and even better than last year. This year they had four tracks, Leadership, Technical, Healthcare and Education. For those of you who have not been to Columbia, it is the place where people smile at you when they greet you, where people say “sir” and “m'am”, “please” and “thank you”, and (according to the Mayor) the weather is perfect every day. Add to that the comfortable conference hotel and the fact that good beer and southern cooking is right across the street from the convention center, and you...
Do not say "Closed Source" or "Proprietary Software"....instead say "Legacy Software"

May 05, 2011 GMT

I was at the Red Hat Summit in Boston yesterday and while I was sitting in a session about “Open Source” I started thinking about some of the terms the community uses.Words are very powerful, of course, and many marketing campaigns have been based on a catchy phrase, or a turn of words.I listened to the speakers in my session talking about “Free Software” and “Open Source”, but the worst that they could say about our real competitors is that they are “Closed Source” or “Proprietary Software”.In my view binary-only software is worse than what either of those phrases portray. For many years I have talked about the freedom that Free Software gives you. Unfortunately a lot...
Off Topic: A small issue with Facebook OR "Do people at Facebook really use Facebook?"

May 02, 2011 GMT

This is a little “off topic” for a Free Software blog, but since a lot of my Free Software friends use Facebook, I hope that others will suffer me writing about this today.I have a lot of Facebook “Friends” (at this time, approximately 3300). Maybe this is not as many as some people, but it is definitely more than most.Many of these people I “befriended” mostly because they sent me a request. For some reason they wanted to be a “friend” to a sixty year-old guy who works a bit with computers, and otherwise likes to repair clocks and automated musical instruments when he is not drinking beer or scotch. I have other hobbies too, but this is a family-oriented blog, so......(As...
Mea Culpa

May 01, 2011 GMT

 I believe that one of the measures of an adult is to have the ability to admit “I was wrong”. While I am not happy when I am wrong, I take pride in the fact that I often give people the benefit of the doubt, and when I am wrong I freely admit it. I believe that once you admit your mistake, and apologize if necessary to any offended people, you can then move on to the next task and try to do better the next time. One of my first managers was a very bright man who could not say the words “I was wrong”. It took the people under him a while to realize this, but one day we were sitting around the lunch table and it occurred to us that we had never heard him say that phrase,...
FLISOL: A Continent (and more) of Free and Open Source Software Celebration: April 9th

Apr 06, 2011 GMT

FLISOL, the Latin American Festival of (Free and) Open Source Software Installation will be celebrated throughout Latin America and the Caribbean this Saturday, April 9th, 2011, typically between 0900 and 1800 hours (9 A.M. and 6 P.M. for Microsoft users), but you should check your local dates and times on the FLISOL website.For the past months I have been receiving emails, tweets, Facebook event notices, and many other types of communication about this event, and it has been overwhelming. It is one thing when a large organization puts on an event, with sponsorship and money behind it, and it is another when passionate people band together to push forth an idea.Many cities in every...
Setting Up A Conference: Part 4 - The Exhausting Minutia

Mar 31, 2011 GMT

 Now you have your theme, your audience definition, your venue, your track layout, your speaker is sweet...but now the exhausting part starts....the minutia. You are going to have a need to order the food and drink. What about vegetarians? What about Vegans? How much beer and wine? What about non-alcoholic drinks? Wait, does the facility allow alcohol? What about under-age? Do you need bartenders? Are you charging admission? How do you tell people who have paid? Do you need badges? Do you accept non-registered walk-ins? How many? Will we have enough badges? Too many? How about security for the equipment? And what about insurance for the...
Setting Up A Conference: Part 3 - Speakers

Mar 31, 2011 GMT

Why did I insist on talking about sponsors before speakers? Because it was necessary.First of all, having good sponsorship means that you may have the funds to finance travel and an honorarium for some well-known speakers who will help attract a good audience.You may be blessed by having well-known, local speakers who would be happy to show up at your event and give a talk, or you could be lucky to have a speaker as accommodating as a friend of mine that took a five-hour bus ride from upstate New Hampshire to a conference, but a lot of speakers may need to have their travel expenses paid, and this (of course) involves money that typically comes from sponsorship.Another reason for planning...

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