Geek Cruise - Linux Lunacy 2 - Day 6 - At Sea

Friday was a solid day of sessions. It started at 8:30am with a photo session. The speakers sat around an empty chair, the photographer got ready. Each of us attendees would scoot in, sit down, the camera would click and we would scoot out and be replaced. Less than thirty seconds for each attendee. The whole photo shoot was over in a few minutes.

[Preparing for the photo
shoot]

Here's the final photo with me in the middle seat for about ten seconds.

[Me and the speakers]

First morning sessions were Application Development with Python presented by Guido von Rossum; Twenty Years Among the Hackers presented by Eric Raymond. There was supposed to be Integrating Linux Into A Small Business with Phil Hughes, but his non-appearance killed that one. I went to the Eric Raymond session and had a good time. He's very entertaining.

Second morning sessions were Bullet Proofing, Paranoia and Mucking Out presented by Steve Oualline; The Great Brain Race presented by Eric Raymond. I did the Steve Oualline session. He was talking about coding - how to handle legacy code that looks like crap, how to be paranoid in your coding and protect yourself from other programmers who are out to get you, and all the tools you can use to help you do this. At work, we do a lot of re-working of legacy code and I have developed my own techniques and wanted to see other techniques, and I got a great series of good ideas to help me.

After lunch, we started with Code Inspections And Reviews with Steve Oualline; Introduction to Zope with Guido van Rossum; Graphical User Interfaces using Embedded Linux by Gregory Haerr. I stayed with Steve Oualline and again got heaps of good practical hints to help me at work. Second afternoon sessions were Digital Forensics Using Open Source Tools by Brian Carrier; Building Ad-Hoc Serverless Communities by Brandon Wiley. I did the Digital Forensics session and came away with a list of tools and techniques for monitoring your systems, testing if they have been compromised, how to save the compromised system, analyse it, prepare for it for court, and see what damage was done and if it it can be repaired or should be scrapped and reinstalled. I haven't fully absorbed this one, but I have a big list of references to research now that I'm home.

The final session for the day was a quiz show. How Not To Program in C++. This is the name of Steve Oualline's new book, due out soon. Not many people were keen to sign up to be in the contest, but Steve promised to use C and C++ and tailor the questions to the contestants abilities. He had 100 pounds of prizes and was NOT taking them back, so everything had to go. I signed up, answered not one single question, but still got two T-shirts. I had lots going against me. I write sane, sensible, simple code that is reliable and rock steady. I already follow a lot of Steve Oualline's advice and avoid tricky and flashy and smart-arse code. So all the questions were about tricky and flashy and smart-arse elements of C and C++. So I sat there like a stunned mullet while super coders like Randal Schwartz (writes the Perl columns in Linux Magazine, writes many Perl columns, co-author of Learning Perl and Programming Perl) snapped out answers before I had even finished reading the question. Man, these guys were sharp. They are nice guys, they are smart as hell, and they are funny. Check through some of the photos of the quiz session on other people's web sites and you'll see that everyone is laughing. We had a lot of fun.

Here is Steve Oualline rapidly typing in some bad code while Neil Baumann distracts the players and the audience.

[Steve types while Neil
distracts]

When the contest came down to the final two contestants, Charles kept score in binary. Contestant on the left was the left hand, and the contestant on the right was the right hand, and that was not a rude gesture but a score of two to nil.

[Charles keeps score in
binary]

After that event, we got ready for a formal dinner. Suit, tuxedos, that sort of thing. The photographer was out again, this time going for the group photos. This is the group shot of our table.

[Our table at the last formal
dinner]

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