30 January 2013

And I also saw a kangaroo in the wild.

Hi, I am in Australia.

I am at linux.conf.au in Canberra, to be precise. Always trying to learn something new - I cannot wait for the talk about Git for Ages 4 and Up, by Michael Schwern, today (Thursday - I am still not completely over the jet lag).

What have I done so far, besides meeting very nice people, too many to mention?

On Tuesday there has been a miniconf for women - Haecksen, which I learned it is the German word for female hackers. Men were welcome, of course! The talk that struck me the most there was Denise Paolucci's Overcoming Imposter Syndrome: great suggestions on how to fight that bug in your brain telling you you are going to be found out , from "always ask questions"  to "mind your (internal) language" to "teach". A very funny exercise followed the talk: a typical self-deprecating thing was reported by someone in the audience, then whoever thought that of him/herself once raised his/her hand - and it looked like a calisthenics class after a while. I find it interesting how this useful talk was felt to be needed for women, or at least mostly for women: and how I think that yes, indeed, it's mostly a woman's problem. Could it be caused by how women have often to manage conflicting expectations? (Of course I think that men have problems with expectations too, but I also think that at least these are mostly due to "simple" bars set too high, not with "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situations.)

And a mention must be made of Radia Perlman's keynote, also on Tuesday. It was interesting, it was funny, it was accessible: I was absolutely fascinated - and no, it was not just the graphs. It ended with one of the wisest suggestions I have ever heard, for everything in life: before fixing a problem, make sure you know what the problem is.

OK, now it's time for breakfast, and another exciting day!

(And if you're wondering about the kangaroo: yes, I am sure I saw one the other night.)