currently at birmingham for one week to attend guadec, the gnome conference. my plane from cologne to birmingham had a delay of more than four hours, and i dislike waiting for a long time at airports (i know that already), but at least i was officially allowed to use the power sockets somewhere near some stairs, directly in front of the security check-in, so i could spend the time working.
when i arrived in the uk, i was first of all reminded of the fact that the uk is not part of the schengen agreement and that i had to queue up to show my passport when entering the country. it was way after midnight so there was no public transportation available anymore. i shared a taxi with two other folks that had been on the same plane, and got off at my hotel (note to google maps: your birmingham map is wrong, please put the hotel location where it actually belongs to. yes, i want mapy.cz for whole europe!). the rooms are fine and it’s pretty nice to sit in the entrance area/breakfast room, combine adapters with multiplicators with multiplicators with multiplicators to have at least 15 computers on one electricity line and finally break two of the power sockets at the wall. one elevator was also out of service, i wonder when we will have succeeded in burning down the hotel.
one receptionist asked me last night what all those people are about, and that all those computers look so “intellectual” (err… it’s the very first time i heard that term about geeky folks). i tried to provide a very basic explanation of what gnome is about (world domination?), but the word “code” did not tell her anything and even the comparison with that other “operating system” out there did not work out (i asked if she would run windooze on the family computer, but she could not remember). so i tried the olpc-some-of-us-are-working-on-a-better-world explanation and since then i think she’s a bit more confident with all those geeks sitting here at late night, blocking laying the tables for breakfast. ;-)
the conference so far has been cool, happy to see old friends again in real and to run into people that you had talked to on irc but never seen before (for example the south american bugsquaders and also some sun china a11y folks). the venue seems to be some kind of a concert hall (there are also small chambers where people can exercise playing the piano) and a few associated rooms and buildings next to the town hall. big advantage: carpet nearly everywhere on the corridors (gimme the real, dirrty hacker feeling!). the number of power sockets is acceptable, and the wifi can be stable sometimes (depends on where you are, there are rooms at the venue where it’s quite alright).
the city? to me it seems that birmingham did not have a reproducible urban development concept within the last decades, the town center and the pedestrian zone look okay though. you can find a camera nearly everywhere, for criminal prevention and for your own safety, of course. hmm. i have another definition of freedom.
my talk today was fun and my first guadec talk ever. after sayamindu worked around the classic resolution problems of my laptop (thanks!), i talked to about 25 people in the audience. my talk was about using statistics to see the state of some fields of gnome. gnome already has some nice stats in the fields of translation (l10n.gnome.org), documentation and bugzilla, but i miss(ed) some statistics so i partially tried to gather the data, e.g. changes of translation rates or maintainer changes within the last year, amount of and response times for freeze break requests, missing announcements and so on. i also showed a bit of bugzilla’s auto-reject feature and how many reports have been rejected so far, so people get a basic impression what’s possible and especially what’s not possible currently. though i was mostly personally interested in finding some things out, i guess that the sheets should be interesting for translators and the bugsquad, and perhaps also for documentators and the rest of the release-team:
i’m still missing some conclusions from the data that i have gathered, but we will hopefully reach some progress on those fields. i am looking forward to some related talks (for example fer’s talk, and the patchsquad bof).