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athens digital week, day 1 [Oct. 17th, 2008|02:19 pm]
Max
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[Location |athens, greece]

Thursday night

I took the metro to Syntagma Square, Athens' largest plaza surrounded by shops, restaurants, hotels, and the Greek Parliament. There were a bunch of different informational kiosks, including one for Athens Digital Week, which made me realize that this event is actually a very big deal -- Dimitris tells me that it is the largest technology conference ever held in Greece. The city of Athens itself is a large sponsor, much of the electronics have been donated, etc.

Here, I met up with Dimitris and Diego, for a few hours of walking around Athens. We walked around through the shops and market-streets in the area a the foot of the Acropolis, stopping for a souvlaki pita that was exceptional, as well as walking into a church that was built in the 1100s. Next, we walked and took a tram to the top of Mount Lycabettus, which had a church (not a bad location) and a perfect view of the entire city. We were on top of the mountain for sunset, which was a beautiful view.

As we walked, Dimitris and Diego brought me up to date on all their latest Transifex work, and we also talked about a variety of the Community Architecture goals, including strong regional communities around the world, and a focus on education.

For dinner, we met up with Pierros, another one of our Ambassadors in Greece. We went to a fantastic restaurant in the Plaka district, and sat on the roof of the restaurant with a perfect view of the Acropolis.

Friday

I'm hanging out at Athens Digital Week as I write this, and it's hard to describe just how cool this event is. To give a sense of the scope, you have to realize that it is a week-long event that is taking place in what was once an industrial park, but has now been converted into really nice buildings, but it retains an industrial feel, mixed with Greek architecture. There's probably 5 or 6 buildings, which include robotics displays and demonstrations (the University of Crete's RoboCup team is here), visual arts (a bunch of Blender guys are here evangelizing), a big stage that looks like it's ready for a concert, a pavillion for speeches (this is where I will be later), and a hall full of computers preparing for Quake and Warcraft III tournaments, with the "feature matches" broadcast on a big projector. Gamers from all over Europe, and from as far away as the USA and Korea are here, so I guess it's a pretty important tournament. Perhaps there will be a gnibbles tournament later, which I would surely dominate.

The open source track is just a subset of the larger tech/music/art theme of this conference, but it's an important part, and I think that the audience for my talk later will include some free software veterans, but a larger number of people who need to be given an understanding of the larger picture of free and open source software and not necessarily just the Fedora or Red Hat story. I am crafting my talk to take that into account -- I still have about 5 hours, so there's plenty of preparation time left.

Meanwhile, the Fedora Ambassadors have posters translated in Greek, 2,000 laptop stickers, 1,000 pamphlets, and probably an 8 foot square banner of Tux that came from somewhere. All of the Fedora swag was donated by sponsors, which is also very much appreciated. Dimitris will have to give me some names and addresses, and next week I'll be writing a bunch of thank you notes.

That's all the updates for now -- I have some work to get done, and some final preparations for my speech to complete.
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