I'm working on my GIMP talk for SCALE 14x, the Southern California Linux
Expo in Pasadena.
My talk is at 11:30 on Saturday, January 23:
Stupid GIMP tricks (and smart ones, too).
I'm sure anyone reading my blog knows
that GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation
Program, the free open-source photo and image editing program which
just celebrated its 20th birthday last month.
I'll be covering an assortment of tips and tricks for beginning
and intermediate GIMP users, and I'll also give a quick preview
of some new and cool features that will be coming in the next
GIMP release, 2.10.
I haven't finished assembling the final talk yet -- if you have any
suggestions for things you'd love to see in a GIMP talk, let me know.
No guarantees, but if I get any requests I'll try to accommodate them.
Come to SCALE! I've spoken at SCALE several times in the past, and
it's a great conference -- plenty of meaty technical talks,
but it's also the most newbie-friendly conference I've been to,
with talks spanning the spectrum from introductions to setting up
Linux or introductory Python programming all the way to kernel
configuration and embedded boot systems.
This year, there's also an extensive "Ubucon" for Ubuntu users,
including a keynote by Mark Shuttleworth. And speaking of keynotes,
the main conference has great ones: Cory Doctorow on Friday
and Sarah Sharp on Sunday, with Saturday's keynote yet to be announced.
In the past, SCALE been held at hotels near LAX,
which is about the
possible part of LA.
I'm excited that the conference moving to Pasadena this year: Pasadena
is a much more congenial place to be, prettier, closer to good
restaurants, and it's even close to public transportation.
And best of all, SCALE is fairly inexpensive compared to most conferences.
Even more so if you use the promo-code SPEAK for a discount
[ 16:32 Jan 06, 2016
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Another year of
the Southern CAlifornia Linux Expo, is over, and it was as good as ever.
A few standout talks:
Leigh Honeywell's keynote was a lively and enjoyable discussion of
from the history of the movement to a discussion of some of the
coolest and most innovative hackerspaces around today. She had plenty of
stories and examples that left everyone in the audience itching to
get involved with a local hackerspace, or start one if necessary.
John Wise and Eugene Clement of
presented the entertaining
"A Reflection on Classroom Robotics with Linux Robots in classrooms".
They've taught kids to build and program robots that follow lines,
solve mazes, and avoid obstacles. The students have to figure out
how to solve problems, details like when and how far to back up.
What a fantastic class! I can't decide if I'd rather teach a class
like that or take it myself ...
but either way, I enjoyed the presentation.
They also had a booth in the exhibit
hall where they and several of their students presented their
Arduino-based robots exploring simulated Martian terrain.
Jonathan Thomas spoke about his OpenShot video editor and the
development community behind it, with lots of video samples of what
OpenShot can do.
Sounds like a great program and a great community as well:
I'll definitely be checking out OpenShot
next time I need to edit a video.
It's worth mentioning that both the robotics talk and the OpenShot one
were full of video clips that ran smoothly without errors.
That's rare at conferences -- videos so often cause problems
in presentations (OpenOffice is particularly bad at them).
These presenters made it look effortless, which most likely points to
a lot of preparation and practice work beforehand.
Good job, guys!
Larry Bushey's "Produce An Audio Podcast Using Linux" was clear and
informative, managing to cover the technology, both hardware and
software, and the social factors like how often to broadcast, where
to host, and how to get the word out and gain and keep listeners
while still leaving plenty of time for questions.
The Exhibit Hall
In between talks I tried to see some of the exhibit hall, which was
tough, with two big rooms jam-packed with interesting stuff.
Aside from LinuxAstronomy and their robots,
there were several other great projects for getting technology into schools:
Partimus from the bay area, and Computers4Kids more local to LA,
both doing excellent work.
The distro booths all looked lively. Ubuntu California's booth was
always so packed that it was tough getting near to say hi, Fedora was well
attended and well stocked with CDs, and SuSE had a huge array of
givaways and prizes. Debian, Gentoo, Tiny Core and NetBSD were there as well.
Distro Dilemma and "the Hallway track"
Late in the game I discovered even Arch Linux had a booth hidden off
in a corner. I spent some time there hoping I might get help for my
ongoing Arch font rendering problem, but ended up waiting a long time
for nothing. That left me with a dilemma for my talk later that day:
Arch works well on my laptop except that fonts sometimes render with
chunks missing, making them ugly and hard to read; but a recent update
of Ubuntu Lucid pulled in some weird X change that keeps killing my
window manager at unpredictable times. What a choice! In the end I
went with Ubuntu, and indeed X did go on the fritz, so I had to do
without my live demo and stick to my prepared slides. Not a tragedy,
but annoying. The talk went well otherwise.
I had a great conversation with Asheesh from the
about how to make open source projects more welcoming to new
contributors. It's something I've always felt strongly about, but I
feel powerless to change existing projects so I don't do anything.
Well, OpenHatch is doing something about it, and I hope I'll be able
Not everything was perfect. The Hilton is a new venue for SCALE,
and there were some issues.
On Saturday, every room was full, with people
lining the walls and sitting on floors. This mostly was not a room size
problem, merely a lack of chairs. Made me wonder if we should go all
opensource on them and everybody bring their own lawn chair if
the hotel can't provide enough.
Parking was a problem too. The Hilton's parking garage fills up early,
so plan on driving for ten minutes through exhaust-choked tunnels
hoping to find a space to squeeze into. We got lucky, so I didn't
find out if you have to pay if you give up and exit without
finding a spot.
Then Sunday afternoon they ran short of validation
tickets (the ones that reduce the cost from $22 to $9), and it wasn't
clear if there was any hope of more showing up (eventually some did).
To top it off, when we finally left on Sunday
the payment machine at the exit swallowed my credit card, requiring
another 15 minutes of waiting for someone to answer the buzzer.
Eventually the parking manager came down to do a magic reset rite.
So I didn't come away with a great impression of the Hilton.
But it didn't detract much from a wonderful conference full of
interesting people -- I had a great time, and would (and do) recommend
SCALE to everyone with any interest in Linux.
But it left me musing about the pros and cons of different venues ...
a topic I will discuss in a separate post.
[ 22:39 Feb 28, 2011
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