OSB Deconstructed: Pt 1

This was my first conference as a speaker - I was convinced to submit a proposal off the recommendation of a friend, @vmbrasseurI arrived Tuesday morning a big ball of nerves. My natural inclination when stressed is to do something, so I asked staff if there was something I could help with. Julie Pagano of New Relic kindly told me it was completely acceptable for me to go and just relax - something I needed to hear! Within a few short hours, any anxieties I had were laid to rest by the fantastic atmosphere (a few compliments on my favourite Sailor Moon tee didn't hurt either).

The Elliot Centre is a fantastic venue, and was very well set up for the conference. I greatly enjoyed the hacker lounge amenities - Legos, masseur, soldering kits, sticker table and the lunch guides. Especially loved, loved, loved the number of plugs EVERYWHERE onsite and lots of time between talks to discuss and digest what was being presented was great!

And there were so many great talks. Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend them all, so - decisions were made. Really wish I could have seen more, but what I did see was just awesome.

Tuesday -

Keynote: Free Culture in an Expensive World
Shauna Gordon-McKeon @shauna_gm

It was great to see this topic raised - especially where Shauna pointed out how relying on volunteer contributors can exclude those from a less privileged background or circumstance from contributing at all. I hope that this topic continues to be talked about so that better solutions and project/business models can be found.

Make Your First Open Source Contribution on GitHub
 Miguel Grinberg @miguelgrinberg

Miguel did an admirable job of explaining step by step how to set git and github up, and how to contribute to a project. He even touched a little on how to be a good contributor. The whole talk was great, but i’d love to see an expanded talk about the etiquette of being a good contributor from him.

Free Everything: Hacking Content Liberation
Erik Moeller @xirzon

Having experienced frustration myself when trying to capture my content from a website, hearing about Erik’s project was fascinating. I will certainly be keeping up to date with both freeyourstuff.cc and Erik’s forthcoming lib.reviews

Open Source and Diabetes: Helping Millions
Benjamin Kerensa @bkerensa

I greatly enjoyed learning about the various open source projects focused on helping people manage their diabetes. It is great to see how this field is developing, and I am very interested to continue following it and contributing where I can.

Unraveling the Masculinization of Technology
Audrey Eschright @spinnerin
I was really looking forward to this talk and it didn’t disappoint. While it was a topic I was already familiar with, it was presented in an engaging way and the audience participation was very productive.

The Rise of the Emoji
Alolita Sharma @alolita

I had no idea that one could now complete searches on google using only emoji. While one could commiserate the decline of the written word, it’s also very interesting to see this new form of communication emerge.

Wednesday -

Keynote: Exploring Mental Illness with Open Source
Julia Nguyen @fleurchild

This was a great sharing of personal struggle and educated me on how open source project organizers can better facilitate their contributors who have differing needs. It was really important to me to hear this talk, I am thankful that Julia has found a way to be so open and candied about her experiences with mental illness.  

Cat Herding 101: Best Practices for Fostering an Engaged and Effective Online Community Bethany Lister @betalister
Bethany was so enthusiastic about her topic! Her knowledge about community engagement is amazing and she suggested ways of engaging a group that I wouldn’t have thought of. I’ll be certain to use her suggestions in future.

Sustainable Career Development: Advancing While Still Having Free Time
Noelle Daley @elnoelle

This was So well presented! It was really enjoyable to hear about Noelle’s journey managing the pressure she (and many others) feel to continue expanding her skill set and contributions outside of work. Her struggle really resonated with mine own and she gave a lot of solid suggestions on how to ensure that we all get enough ‘me time’. I will be sure to implement them in future.

Thursday -

Sadly, medical issues unfortunately prevented me from attending anything as planned. It was a real disappointment as had a full day of talks to look forward to - listed below.

Keynote: Creating a Third Wave of Free/Open Source Software
Audrey Eschright @spinnerin

Exit Condition: When to Ragequit, Raise Hell or Duck and Cover
Frances Hocutt @franceshocutt

Working Around a Project with Twenty Years of Precedents
Darrick Wong

Behind Closed Doors: Managing Passwords in a Dangerous World
Noah Kantrowitz @kantrn

Generations of Open Source and What to do About It
Amye Scavarda @amye

Dodge Disasters and March to Triumph as a Mentor
A. Jesse Jiryu Davis.  @jessejiryudavis


What was interesting for me about this conference was that it was so much smaller in scale than those I had attended before ( LinuxCon Europe 2013, Living Planet Symposium 2013). It really felt intimate and fostered a community feeling which lead to some really great discussions. This sense of scale also made presenting a lot easier, as I was in front of a smaller number of genuinely interested people, as opposed to throngs of folk who had already been through ten talks and were tired and bored. By the time I gave my presentation, it really felt like I had new friends in the audience. Giving my first talk was an absolute rush and I can't think of a better environment to have taken that first step in.

Tune in for Part 2, where I discuss my experiences creating and delivering my first conference talk!