Saturday, May 22, 2010

What I got out of Texas Linux Fest

This is a bit of old news, but My "official" writeup of Texas Linux Fest was posted on, an Austin website that chronicles tech-related events in Austin, and puts geeks in touch with networking and learning resources.

Elze's wrap of Texas Linux Fest

I won't repost it in my blog, since it concerns people and topics that are of little to no interest to whoever might be reading my blog.

Going to events like that isn't exactly educational for me -- presentations are not my learning style. When I want to find out about a new technology, product, methodology, or trend in software development (like agile programming), I google it, and jump around from page to page, fishing out relevant bits of information from each one. Presentations are sequential in their nature, which has the unfortunate effect of causing me to tune out sooner or later. In any presentation there will come a moment when I won't see how a particular tangent the speaker went off is relevant to the topic; sometimes I will need to chew over a new piece of knowledge before I can build on it; yet the presentation does not stop, does not let me mull over what was said, or jump back to connect a new bit of knowledge to a previous one. So sooner or later I get off track. (Presentations where I don't lose the thread of thought are even more of a waste of time, because they mean I know the subject -- at least at the level of complexity the speaker is presenting it at -- so well that I'm not learning anything new.)

The reason I go to conferences like this, then, is to find out about people's career paths in areas that interest me (I'm not just speaking about open source here, but also about science fiction and writing). Even if they don't have paid jobs in my area of interest, I still want to hear how they incorporated their passion for the subject into their working life. Even better if they integrated it into their day job, or carved a space for it apart from their day job.

There were some people like that at the Austin Linux Fest -- more about them in my next post.

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