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What does a user experience designer have in common with hundreds of open source technical folk? One awesome conference and a renewed appreciation for the open source movement.

Last week, I had the pleasure of attending and presenting (twice) at my first conference. is a week long open source conference where hundreds of open source geeks from across the globe gather in Australia (or New Zealand)  to “meet their fellow technologists, share the latest ideas and innovations, and spend a week collaborating on free, open source software projects”. I met all sorts of fascinating folks from around the world, many who have contributed amazing fundamentals that underpin the technologies that I use.

Topics range from highly technical subjects to subjects about open source activism and humanitarian efforts with open data and OpenStreetMap. I particularly liked the range of Mini Confs that happened on the first two days, covering a broad range of subjects from systems administrations, arduinos, open government and more. I spoke about laser cutting geek jewellery at the Haecksen mini conf, which features women speakers covering technical and community topics related to free software.

My highlights of the conference included:

  • Radia Perlman keynote – Radio Perlman is famous for her work on a range of technologies (including Spanning tree protocol, TRILL and more). Although it was a technical talk, Radia spoke with great humour, stories, illustrations (and poems!) which helped to communicate a technical talk into something that I, a non tech person, could understand. Check out this great write up about Radia Perlman at LCA 2013 by Jessica Smith
  • Meeting “Bunnie” Huang (of “hacking the xbox” fame) and hearing his keynote about the manufacturing hardware process in China. Very eye opening.
  • Hearing Sir Tim Berners-Lee talk (very quickly!)
  • Speaker’s dinner at the revolving restaurant in Telstra Tower
  • Penguin Dinner at Mount Stromlo where I got to meet Robert Llewellyn of Red Dwarf fame! *fan girl moment*
  • Meeting the folks behind some of my favourite open source software
  • Having a range of technical folk who showed up to my non-technical interactive presentation, and who contributed throughout the entire presentation
  • The swag (you get to pick what you want in your swag bag – I got a great t-shirt in a female size!! Yes! So pleased to see that technical conferences actually cater to female attendees).
  • The childcare facility – although we didn’t make use of it, it was fantastic and empowering to see the facilities made freely available. If we have kids, I would have definitely taken up the childcare offer.
  • Our post-conference MakerConf event at our hackerspace
  • Meeting many of our sister hackerspace members from around Australia and the world.
Robert Llewellyn & me
I got to meet Robert Llewellyn at the lovely Penguin Dinner

Well done to the fantastic volunteer organisers. Having helped run many events over the years in Canberra, I know the huge amount of effort that goes behind the scenes to bring such an event to the masses. I appreciate your time, effort and care. It was a great conference! From a speaker and attendee perspective, the entire conference was very professionally ran with great attention to detail. The attendees were really interesting and diverse. I love everyone’s passion and commitment!

Thank you.

And for those that want to continue the journey, here’s a few photos from the conference:

Telstra Tower
The Speaker's Dinner was held at the revolving restaurant in Telstra Tower
Jenna making a dress
The Hackerspace event on Wednesday night, with Jenna hacking at the conference t-shirt to make a dress
MakerConf attendees
We held a MakerConf event on the Saturday after Thanks to for sponsoring a fantastic lunch!
HackCNC machine
The HackCNC machine from the Melbourne hackerspace crew, drawing Canberra from our DataViz visualisation


Bunnie and Brett
I love hackers - they can fix anything! Bunnie's bag broke and Brett helped fixed it over dinner

Check out more great LCA2013 photos on flickr.

Published inConferences

One Comment

  1. Nice post Ruth, and thanks for the pingback! :-)

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