Wednesday 30th January (continued)
I took the following notes from Bruce's keynote, and thought here would be a good place to store them.
In a market where the sellers know more about the product than the buyers, bad (cheaper) products drive the better products out of the market. eg 50 cars at $1000, 50 cars at $2000. Convergence price is $1500, but at this price only bad cars will be sold.
Thus in order for the seller to indicate to the buyer that their product is actually more superior they have to send signals. These might be warranties "buy this car and if anything goes wrong in the first month, I'll buy it back at full price".
In the IT field we don't have warranties (for good reasons) so we rely on reputation, opinions of others (Bruce likes it, so it must be good) etc.
Marketing and politics is about the deliberate creation of the right signals to encourage people to buy your product/idea/policy even if it isn't suitable to their needs. These muddy the water.
Wednesday continued with a few surprises. We celebrated the 10 year birthday of LWN with chocolate mud cupcakes. Mmm! I missed a few sessions after that to work on Open Day issues, and to get my slides available for the many people who've been asking. I enjoyed the hall-way track immensely.
Just before lunch, the organisers started handing out OLPC XOs in great quantities (perhaps 70 in total) assigned to selected people. This made it much easier to get a hold of one to play with and appreciate. At lunch I met an old university friend and thus got to show him the joys of these machines. He was envious that such toys are not easily available for his children. It certainly was a hit.
After lunch I attended a talk on AbiCollab: changes to AbiWord to allow collaborative document editing which was very interesting, and one by Jim Gettys about their experiences in getting the XOs out to third world countries. Knowing that their laptops is the brightest evening light source for some of these children gives me an idea of how life-changing this program will be.
A fire alarm in the later afternoon lead to some program changes, but overall, everything went smoothly.
The Penguin dinner was held at the Queen Victoria Night Market and was consequently amazing. I've never been at a conference dinner where vegetarians were so well catered for! We were given $40 broken into $5 vouchers and told to go get whatever we wanted. Thus I went to a vegetarian-Indian stand and came back with a plate of steaming curries, rice, pakodas, and naan. Other people had pasta dishes, or kangaroo burgers, or sausage or.... $15 worth of the vouchers were reserved for alcohol, although most drinks were $6.50 each (they gave change). This lead to a comparatively sober evening, although I didn't hear any complaints. It was quite possibly one of the cheaper social parties (in an organisational sense) for this conference, but I think it will be hard to top.