Learning with the Fang

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From #cua09 to #cebit – Murphy & my LONG week in Sydney

May 16, 2009 by mseyfang · 3 Comments · education

Mr Murphy and the Demo Gods certainly had my name and address this week!

PHEW! What a week I’ve had. On leave from my main job at the University of Adelaide so I could travel to Sydney and help out my friends from ConnectingUP.org with their nonprofit technology conference (#cua09). I had hoped to stay for all three days of that event but due to our current ‘tough times or GFC’ it was necessary to sell my self to the highest bidder and earn some extra coin. Fortunately, this created an opportunity for Mandy and I to spend some time with our dear friends Ian and Jo at their beautiful urban abode in Surrey hills.

As an added bonus, I managed to twitter my way past Uncle Nick’s 140-char smokescreen and spend a night at castle Hodge thanks to the kindness and superior organisational and driving skills of @mrsnickhodge ;-). Finally, due to some hasty and well connected tweets during the new inventors, I found myself at brekky with @stilgherrian – hatching sekrit planz and subverting identities. By lunchtime Thursday I had published a bunch of qik videos and pix from #cebit and met many of Sydney’s finest ‘twitterati’.

Not content with a busy schedule, I decided to raise the level of difficulty and discard the safety net by leaving my laptop at home and rely on portable devices – linux eeePC, iPod touch, Nokia N80 and my brand new @internode NodeMobile 3G Sim card. This forced me to encounter a cochophony of technical cock-ups that I shall now list for your amusement and my catharsis:

FAIL

  • Venue WiFi (by Audio Visual crew) flakey under load
  • Venue WiFi (Azure) dropped session when move rooms
  • Venue Ethernet FAIL when WiFi got flakey
  • OptusPoo – poor 3G connectivity in plenary room (esp at sound desk corner)
  • My .ppt slides CRASHED! (froze machine and duplicate IP address on reboot)
  • Recorded silence instead of my presentation (iRiver-MixingDesk in breakout room)
  • Two vista laptops having intermittent USB/Boot problems
  • Uni WiFi on Nokia N80
  • Uni WiFi on iPod touch
  • Uni WiFi on linux eeePC (tho ‘intranet’ was available I found later)
  • Staff logon to Uni library pc (both eduroam and local staff)
  • One Uni laptop and desktop could not connect to internet (second desktop worked)
  • CEBIT ‘cebitTwitter’ WiFi flakey under load during session
  • OptusPoo in CEBIT session (connected OK but way too slow during sessions)
  • Overly complex ftp and ‘blog’ infrastructure for podcasts
  • QANTAS Web Connect workstations – powerpoints not accomodate 9volt connectors
  • INTERNODE WiFi missing from SYD airport
  • Ustream.tv on eeePC (UI missing, camera fail, no audio monitor, 0 length recordings (probably due to network drop while saving))
  • Qik.com and Ustream.tv playback on eeePC (missing UI / no audio)
  • eeePC keyboard just too small (forgot to buy nice USB portable keyboard, couldnt find a real one to borrow)

ANNOYING

  • CEBIT venue WiFi (Convention CTR) expensive + cumbersome
  • Venue WiFi (Azure) expensive + cumbersome $39.60, much fidding for <1hr total useful connection
  • Qantas Web Connect not free / open ($5/hr and had to signup + pay with credit card)

SUCCESS

  • @internode NodeMobile SIM (in Nokia N80)
  • qik.com on N90 with NodeMobile SIM (even with minimal connect would buffer which emptied on moving out of plenary room to areas of better signal)
  • @dnwallace providing remote feedback* and audio miracles (McGyver style effort to retrieve some audio from my presentation via qik.com fragments)
  • Coveritlive.com (even with multiple network disconnects, no data was lost – live output worked while connection available, archive remained intact at end of event)
  • my trusty hosted ftp and blog infrastructure for podcasts

*Note to self: add remote ‘backchannel producer’ role to team of three for events like this.

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