November 24, 2006

59 miles an hour.

Some time ago, I was invited to speak at Linuxworld UK and while I don't speak at the US based Linuxworld's anymore (too businessy, I prefer developer shows), I decided this one was okay as it attracts a more hackery crowd. Once it was known that I was going to be in Europe, a group in Finland asked if I'd give a speech at the Openmind conference in Tampere, I figured....hey....it's all really close to each other. And then, the ACM Reflections group at UIUC asked me if I wanted to speak at their conference, 3 days or so before the Finnish one, so I figured....I could visit the team in Chicago so what the heck.

My itinerary then looked like this:

SJC to Chicago, Chicago to Urbana, Urbana to Chicago, Chicago to Finland by way of Stockholm, Finland to London by way of Stockholm, London to San Francisco. For a total of about 14,000 miles.

It was a lot of fun, I had never been to Finland before, and I thought that it possessed a kind of melancholy beauty (it was pretty rainy while I was there) that I found peaceful. The foreignness of it was exciting in the exciting-but-not-too-strange way that European countries strike me. (I know that makes me sound provincial) Stockholm was nothing more than a quick stopover, so I didn't learn much about that country at all.

One thing that was quite interesting was that Nokia invited a few other speakers and myself to the Nokia Manor, which was a treat, where we noshed on reindeer and talked about GPLv3. The organizers (Hi Petri and Marjut!) were kind enough to arrange a short tour of Tampere and I had a great time.

London was weirder this time than in the past, for some reason I kept running into a lot of drunks. Drunks falling against a pub wall, loud drunks on the street. I don't think this was a function of the neighborhood I was staying in (Belgravia), but more of some cosmic intersection of me, liquor and those predisposed to consume it. I'm not much of a drinker, honestly.

Linuxworld UK was a decent venue and since I was in town, I found my friends at Nature with whom I worked to run the Science Foo Camp and gave a speech at Macmillan's London HQ which became a discussion about Google Book Search. This is slightly tricky as you know, Book search is a fairly controversial topic in the publishing world, but it was a great visit.

So what's this '59 miles an hour' stuff about? Well, if you divide the 14k by the week and a half or so I was gone, I was traveling on average approximately 59 miles per hour the whole trip. Jet lag was hell this trip.

2 comments:

Jake said...

At first I thought you were refering to that segway movie. Then I googled it, and I had the speed wrong. =)

Tarus Balog said...

You must have been doing 59 mph past the .org Village at LWE UK - we totally missed you (grin). Still hope to see you at SCALE.