Wednesday, October 12, 2011

FUDCon EMEA 2011 (Milan) - My Experience

In this post I will be recounting my experience with the FUDCon EMEA 2011 which was held in Milan, Italy. I will explain in detail what I learned and I could share with my friends fedorians of Europe and Africa.

Jumping the Puddle
My family took me to the Tocumen International Airport for my flight to Milan (I had a connection first in Newark). It was 29 September, was a little nervous, but excited to know Italy and, primarily, to share in the FUDCon

It was my first international flight so I was aware of many details. When we were near Newark the captain reported that Newark had bad weather and the aircraft need to spin around, but it does not had enough gas so the flight was diverted to Dallas, Washington to get gasoline.

After about 2 hours, we landed in Newark. I had to set my new flight to Milan. Continental's assistant found two options: Newark-Manchester-Milan or Newark-Paris-Milan. Because of reaching earlier, she chose the Newark-Paris-Milan.

I had to wait about 6 hours for the flight from Newark to Paris (the flight was delayed about 2 hours). It was a pretty long trip. I slept most of the way. When I arrived in Paris (in fact, I saw the Eiffel tower) I had to go to a Air France's assistant to restore my ticket to go to Milan.

I was at the Paris airport for about 4 hours. The longing to be in the FUDCon grew. An interesting fact is that for this trip I was assigned in the Premium section.

When I arrived in Milan, Jared was waiting (I had warned him by email of the multiple delays) with a smile on his face. The first thing I asked was: "How was the trip?" and there I began to tell my interesting story, while we were going to the hotel.

Hotel UNA Mediterráneo
To reach the hotel we were, first, take the Malpensa Express to Milano Centrale and finally, take a metro to the station Porta Romana. From there we walk no more than 6 minutes and arrived at the hotel.

The hotel where we stayed was called UNA Mediterráneo. It had very nice rooms, equipped with Internet access. Something I can not forget was the female voice singing from the elevator which notify you when you reach a particular floor.

Another interesting detail is that they put in the elevator, the schedule of breakfast. We had our breakfast, the three days, from 8:00 am until 8:50 am. Breakfast was buffet style and was really delicious.

FUDCon EMEA Milan - First Day
By the time I arrived in Milan (approximately 10:30 pm), I do not had the opportunity to share with my fellow fedorians the welcome party held at Cafe Yguana, but they told me that they had a great time and the place had good environment.

Instead, I had dinner with Jared Smith and Lars Delhage. We talked a little about many subjects, including like how was my trip, expectations about FUDCon, among others.

FUDCon EMEA Milán - Second Day
I was very anxious.  I prepared to go to the "Università degli Studi di Milano". Along with Dennis Gilmore and many others fedorians, went to college. When we arrived, the organizers were arranging the final details to begin this great event.

Jared started saying a few words of welcome and asked who had previously been in a FUDCon. Interestingly, almost half the audience had not participated in one, so this was his first opportunity.

After that, he explained the mechanics of Barcamp and began the proposals. There were about 30 presentations, all sorts of topics. Among those I remember were: 0MQ, RPM Future / Alternative Packaging, AutoQA, Drawing, Netbeans, RPMDev LATAM (my topic), How Fedora is Made, BKChem, Spins Process and many more.

After setting up the schedule of the presentations, the organizers handled the sweater and badge of the event. I really liked their design. I also liked the banner.

Later we took a group picture where it shows the great assistance they had this event. Here is one of many group photos that were taken:

Next, each one went to their presentation of interest. In my case, I went to the room that the organizers assigned me to prepare my talk. I had a good audience, because they ask many interesting questions and, in fact, there were some projects prospects between LATAM and EMEA.

At 1:00 pm the organizers called us to lunch. The food was delicious that day and complete (including fruit and dessert). At that time, people took the opportunity to talk and share experiences of the talks.

At approximately 6:00 pm presentations ended and we all went to the hotel. It was time to prepare for the FUDPub. We met at 7:30 pm to go TroppaPizza together. We had to use several subways to reach there.

When we get there, the first impression was to see the place full of people.  Everybody took their seats and start waiting for pizzas. The law is TroppaPizza is to eat as much pizza as you can. A wooden cube with sides of green and red color are the one that defines whether or not we are eating pizza. The drinks were large jars, so no problem with thirst.
A special moment was when Christoph Wickert disguised as a hot dog. At the beginning I did not understand why, but then Jared explained to me that was about Beefy Miracle and so I understood the main history of that.

Everyone was happy. People took many photos. We enjoyed the moment. After finishing the FUDPub, we went sightseeing.  We went to a bar to share a few beers and drinks.

Finally went to the hotel to rest for the last day of the conference.

FUDCon EMEA Milán - Third Day
After breakfast I went to college. There organizers established the topics for HackFest. We were all morning and part of the afternoon on that. I participated in some of them. 

I remember Lydia Bossers (Jeroen van Meeuwen girlfriend) hackfest related to BKChem. She wanted some improvements to the code of the program that allowed her to do some work in Chemistry.  Another interesting hackfest was related to the ambassadors. There were discussed issues such as budgets, response times, reports, refunds, among others.  This link contains the pad where they were making notes and recommendations.

After termination of the hackfests we went to the hotel, where everyone enjoyed the evening in tneir own way. I went with Jared and Peter Robinson to eat some gelato at a place called Il Massimo del Gelato (the best place to eat gelato in Milan). It was an experience of another world. That was too delicious gelato. I tried a cone with chocolate with gold, pistachio and strawberry.

After that we finally returned to the hotel and had dinner. In my case, I prepared my things to make my way back to Panama, so I went to bed early.

"Return" to Panama
I woke early, finished fixing some issues and went down to breakfast. Then I said goodbye to those who were there and went looking for my flight at the airport of Malpensa. There were technical problems with the flight for which it was reassigned to next day.

So back to the hotel, with Jared. I told him everything that had happened. That evening we talked about many things, we ate a sandwich and enjoy gelato from a place nearby the hotel. I also had the opportunity to use a computer from OLPC project. They are full equipped. A kid would be too happy with a tool like this. In the evening we dined with Will Woods in a restaurant and laboratory.

Reaching Panama
Jared and I arrived early at the airport to see answers regarding my situation. Similarly, Jared was preparing for his return flight. In the end both succeeded. 

We said goodbye and, well, I continued my adventure alone. There was no problem with the flights. I came to Panama. My family expected me happy, eager to know my great adventure. And so... I went back to my reality.

My Conclusion
I found this like an extraordinary and unique experience. I acquired new skills, met new friends, learn new experiences, I grew as a person. I hope the next FUDCon will be as successful as this was. 

I would share some photos I took (I'm not a photographer):

Also I will share the following link. It is Nicu Buculei (Fedora Photographer) photo album.
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