Ok, my apologies for not having written up a post on my trip to the Canary Islands and the whole experience of attending the Gran Canary Desktop Summit 2009! I think I can summarize it in one word: AWESOME! I can honestly say that I had a blast meeting a lot of the people that I only knew from irc conversations, emails and blog posts! A lot of the presentations were very interesting, some of them having that special je ne sais quoi that triggered an avalanche of new ideas for my existing projects!
I don’t want to talk about specific talks or give a detailed account of what happened during that week but only to recollect a few interesting things that caught my attention. So, without much further ado…
My Spanish has improved by leaps and bounds as I forced myself to avoid using English as much as I could. The one thing that really got me started was the night I hung out with Diego, GÃ©rman, Gil, Silvia and (Aparecido) Quesada at the lobby of the Catalina Park Apartments. I absolutely loved talking to them and learning a lot about them as well as about Spain, Catalonia (and the political aspect between these two, thanks to Silvia), all while improving my vocabulary and learning new idiomatic expressions! :)
I think that meeting Seif Lotfy deserves a paragraph of its own! We met up one day early in the morning by the beach and we talked for many hours on different occasions about every possible topic you can think of! He’s a very energetic and fun guy to hang out with, and best of all, he actually knew about my pet project BillReminder. That will definitely earn points with me! :)
Speaking of BillReminder, I was told by 2 GNOMErs that not only they’ve used it but also borrowed some code ideas from it! Flattery issues!!!
I also enjoyed meeting Simos Xenitellis and probably bugged the poor guy more than I should be allowed! Due to all the rain we had in the Northeast of the United States I missed my connection flight from Boston to Madrid by 2 lousy minutes and was forced to spend 24 hours in Boston! I took advantage of the time and started playing with Simos’ GNOME i18n Manage VCS script and kept working at it until it got to the point where I had several decent patches I planned to show him. We talked for quite some time and it turns out we sort of share the same ideas for his script and the direction he wants to take it. During the following days he pulled all of my patches to his repository and have added me as a developer!
Something interesting that happened was the fact that 3 developers of the very small (but proud as heck!) Foresight Linux distribution, all living in the United States mind you, managed to get together for lunch in Las Palmas: Paul Cutler, Ken Vandine and yours truly. Ken sports the color of (Ubuntu) brown these days but I know that deep down he is still very much (Foresight) green! :)
A super duper cool project I had a chance to see up close and personal was the GNOME Voice Control, a great tool being developed by my (new) friend Raphael Nunes. The poor guy had barely gotten to the hotel from his flight and was already hacking away on his presentation. I unfortunately missed it but was told that when told that you could pretty much tell your GNOME desktop to do anything you wanted, Everaldo Canuto (another new friend) walked up to the stage and leaning on Raphael’s laptop, said: “Make me a sandwich!” When several seconds had ellapsed and he didn’t see a sandwich being delivered to him, he politely added: “Please?" Priceless!
Speaking of new friends, I made a ton of them and the night before I left Las Palmas I managed to schedule a get together by the shore with a few of them: Everaldo Canuto and his lovely fiancee Rosa, Raphael Nunes, Aparecido Quesada and Rui Matos(unfortunately I did not find Jonh Wendell and Vinicius Depizzol at the hotel). All Brazilian except for Rui who is from Portugal and graciously put up with a lot of jokes from us! I have to tell you, the level of camadarie and intimacy that we developed during such a short time was proof of how much we all have in common working under the GNOME umbrella. I had not laughed so much and so hard in quite some time. In the end I was saddened to say goodbye to such a great bunch of guys!
It is funny how little things grow into you when you least suspect. I miss sitting down at the lobby and just talking to whoever happened to be around, even the doorman! Watching the sunset by the shore while drinking a cold Dorada, drinking freshly squeezed orange juice and cafe’ con leche for breakfast, trading those vouchers Intel gave us to get more ice cream or coffee, or even fighting to the end with the other hundreds of attendants for a free IP in the ever so jammed and slow wireless access… I miss all of these “little” things already! I keep telling myself, “had I only slept two hours instead of three I could have done so much more!”
To the very generous sponsors whose support was fundamental during this trip, my most humble and heartfull “Thank You” and to those friends I made during those crazy days, “You have all become much more than an irc nick!” I look forward to the next opportunity we’ll meet again!