Short Notes on CFPs, Business Travel and the End of the World

Calls for Presentations

LinuxConfAU is way off, a lifetime away, in January 2018 (but  you know that will go faster than you realise). LinuxConf AU is all things open source, a great event with a great community. And I’ve been promising to go for forever. I’ll have no excuses this January because LinuxConf this year will again be in my home town of Sydney. And their Call for Proposals has just opened too. Want to present on anything open source? Take a look at their CFP page and hop to it.

On the Road

So I’ve been a little quiet lately. I’m writing this tonight in a hotel room in Melbourne. This is my third week in a row training, with CCT and LMT in Sydney, and now CCT and LMT in Melbourne, with a week training a client in Wodonga in between.

A QLD vs NSW graphic
The Training Tour isn’t over yet! Its Queensland vs New South Wales for August training.

I will admit, I’m getting a little tired, and I’m still doing my Friday Fortnightly Tips in between. Last fortnight’s first session was a little bit of a disaster. My trackpad went dead mid-presentation, and killed a number of systems including my mic. It was amusing in a “if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry” way. This Friday I’m going to present on Observational Checklists in Moodle, so I hope it’s not another trainwreck session.

All this tired talk said, I have to say I am loving getting around and doing training. I love meeting our clients, and Sydney and Melbourne training both had great turn outs. So fantastic to help people build and deliver online courses.

And travelling out to Wodonga was great too. I enjoyed delivering a really specific training program to the client there. They use a customised version of Moodle and it did involve some challenges but I received some great feedback. Training can be tiring but rewarding.

I hope I get a good turn out for Brisbane training in early August, and again in Sydney at the end of August.

The End of the World

Podcast Suggestion: 99% Invisible

Another Podcast recommendation for you; I’ve been listening to 99% Invisible lately during all the flights and train commutes I’ve been taking lately because of training. It’s a great show, very thought provoking, if you’re into learning something new yourself during your commute. Their latest episode on swimming pools and skateboarding was very cool, but I’ve been enjoying going back through their back catalogue.

99% Invisible's cover art
99% Invisible – an excellent, thought provoking podcast.

I listened to Episode 153 Game Over on the Skybus ride in from Melbourne Airport on Sunday. It’s about the end of the world. Well, a world; specifically the Sims Online. One of these games where you could go online, move your avatar around a virtual world, meet virtual friends, have virtual fun.

And please don’t mistake that for me mocking or being harsh. I’ve been around the net long enough – virtual friends are real friends in virtual places. I get why people don’t see them as real. But some of these connections are stronger for me than real. Maybe I’m just one of those people, but I understood why this would have been such a heartbreaking thing. I understand why the end of your virtual world would cut like a knife.

It made me think of Cheryll; it’s been almost a year now. (It’s been long enough that I’ll use her name.) It made me think of the newsgroup we frequented at Carleton U so much – Alt5.

Does anyone even know what newsgroups are these days? An outdated and dying technology. A world which has effectively ended. One of my worlds. To me, a kid who left home for school in 92, Usenet was the Internet. And now, it’s just noise to be filtered out. Barely hanging on, by the good graces of Google.

How many of these worlds end on us? Our Geocities pages, our ICQ accounts, our Yahoo! Communities, our Sims Online.

I suppose this is just the times we live in now. We live our short passionate virtual lives, until their worlds evaporate into the ether of the Internet.

I can hear the pessimists voices in my ear – those that don’t get it – “All the better to not bother. Live in the real world.” I say no. I say live your virtual lives with passion. They are just true and real as those in meatspace. Mourn when your world ends. Try to hang on. Be sad when you lose your friends. And celebrate your virtual lives.

Thank you 99% Invisible for a walk down Memory Lane.

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