links for 2006-10-24

Politics Schmolitics

The United States of America…

  • is armed to the teeth with nukes,
  • disrespects international law,
  • invades and wages war on foreign countries based on abject lies,
  • savagely ignores human rights,
  • has virtually buried habeas corpus,
  • supports institutionalised torture,
  • and finally, the USA has banned Vegemite!

This kind of behaviour tends to bring out the yobbos bagging Yanks mentality, even among ever-tolerant Aussie GNOME conspirators. So, as we were giving stick for the latest round of inhumane acts by the USA, we pondered how thoroughly confusing our political system would be to the average American. Here’s a quick guide to Australian politics, specifically for Americans planning to apply for refugee status in the near future…

  • Republicans are, for the most part, young and progressive.
  • Liberals are conservative.
  • We don’t use “liberal” as a pejorative term.
  • To be doubly confusing, we have a “Labor” party, not a “Labour” party.
  • Red is progressive, blue is conservative.
  • We put numbers in the little boxes.
  • Failing to vote is an exception to the rule.
  • A “Free Trade Agreement” means freely trading your dignity for… free.
  • Democrats once held the balance of power, but are now a miserable, ineffectual wreck. (Hold on a second…)

Let us know what we’ve missed in the comments, please.


Yesterday afternoon, I paced around a bit, furrowed my brow, scratched my chin, massaged my temples, and pressed the big red button. The first round of CFP talk and tutorial feedback emails hit the streets, with 77 positives, 16 backups and 183 negatives.

It was hard reading through the test logs, looking at the people and topics we had to decline. I was sorely tempted to sprinkle a few buglets into smackdown (the shell script equivalent of a plunger detonator), to accept a bunch of the really good talks we didn’t have room for. Turns out I sent rejection emails to all of the miniconf organisers, who were already given notice, positive and negative, a couple of weeks ago. Oops. We sorted it out in post. ;-)

Last night we mapped out the first — and possibly last! — draft of the schedule. We still have to get feedback from the review team, but aside from adapting to change as it’s thrust upon us, the programme looks good to go. But you’re still gonna have to wait for it!

Jaq, being a total rocktease, has put up some blurry camera phone pictures of the programme. So unless you have Movie OS image enhancement software, you’ll just have to suffer in your jocks!

links for 2006-10-16

Seventh Heaven

We were confident that 2007 would rock before we’d seen any talk, tutorial or miniconf proposals. Now we’re just flat-out gobsmacked.

The night before the Boston Summit, I joined the 2007 programme review team meeting by phone. Despite the horror of a 19:00 to 02:00 meeting, I had it easy: Our reviewers had already spent countless hours doing personal ratings of the 280 submissions we received; it’s pretty hard to get into a fist-fight about reviewer opinions over the phone; and I got to schlep off to see Jon Stewart halfway through.

Leading up to the CFP close, we were pretty happy with the quality of submissions, but kinda disappointed with the quantity. It seemed like we wouldn’t even hit 150, so the review team decided they wanted to review every submission. Then we hit the traditional, ever-punctual, post-extension spike: 2007 CFP Submissions Graph


The personal ratings process — when individual reviewers separately rate each proposal — took its toll. I had to assure quite a few concerned onlookers that Rusty’s review-rage commentary was not actually policy!

After the group meeting, Mary wrote a cuddlier version, based on criteria the review team used throughout the decision-making process. It turns out that culling 80% of about 300 great submissions is hard, and sometimes you have to suffer a few arbitrary choices here and there.

For all the heartache, we have a fantastic result: We received more submissions than ever before, and have an extremely impressive line-up of speakers, talks, miniconfs and tutorials to show for it. We’ve created a substantially larger budget for travel assistance, so we can bring out the very best speakers, no compromises.

We’ll be in touch with hopefuls over the next few days and have the first cut of the programme published soon after that — ahead of schedule! 2007

Update: Erik also blogged about his experience on the review team.

Geek rap posse

One day, in the not-too-distant future, a pumpin’ rap outfit will appear upon this Earth, dedicated to all things geeky. And they shall be called… the Woot Ang-Band.

That is all.