Chinese Dentists

Monday: Arrive in China

Tuesday: Get a tooth ache, good ‘ole wisdom teeth. See the local university dentist and get a mouth wash. Resolve to not ever go back to said dentist. For 40 cents australian how much can you expect πŸ™‚

Wednesday: Find a ‘foreigners’ dental clinic, pay a packet, and have two teeth removed. Initial fear, mother frantically begging me to return to Australia, local anaesthetic, pressure and “It’s a girl!”. Evidently my dentist has a sense of humour πŸ™‚ A little more pressure and “It’s a boy, congratulations!” No pain, even after the local anaesthetic wears off. Rock on! and now I can get on with my studies and finally sleep a full night.

Mum! Stop stressing! Comments like “you could paralyse your face” are not helpful when I’m about to get some teeth removed in a foreign country πŸ™‚

So much to do – LA and WSIS

I have about 50 business cards to go through and catalogue, as well as many people to write to. Unfortunately it looks like I’ll be restricted to an internet cafe, so floppy disk storage, here I come!

Stewart says the membership database is almost done. Going to announce on linux-aus soon, am a little disappointed we couldn’t get it done before now, as is people will only have 3 weeks to become members, and nominate people for the elections in January. I say three weeks because current constitution denotes that nominatinos close 7 days prior to the election. I feel so distant but will still be doing LA stuff from over here. I fly directly into Adelaide from China on the 14th. The AGM is on the 15th. I managed to convince the Chinese uni to let me do my end exam two days early (hopefully!) so as it I’m cutting it fine. They originally wanted me to do the exam on the 18th, which would have meant either not being able to go to LCA2004 at all, or dishing out for another ticket.

We set up imap access to my mail at home, but this has gone all screwy because we don’t have a permanent ADSL address, and so far I’ve only been able to get my mail about 50% of the time. Gar! I may try to get dial up from my room so I can work from my laptop.

Happy 18th Birthday to my dear sister for the 13th! (Yes I did remember on the day!) I can’t believe how quickly my siblings are growing up. I’m very proud of her πŸ™‚

One other kewl thing from WSIS, I was speaking to a young guy from Sierre Leone. He was trying to get people to understand that the country is peaceful again, and we ended up getting around to discussing ICT. He said that not only does most of the country not have electricity, but there is a total of 1 telephone provider who can only support 22,000 lines. In a country of more than 15 million, this isn’t very useful. It seems he isn’t so interesting in trying to get computers into his country, but rather show the world that it is ready for development again. I offered to create a website for him, where he could put his information, and his eyes just lit up πŸ™‚ He mentioned that it is the young people in his country that are making to difference and helping rebuild the country. It was quite an inspiration speaking to him. Will post the site when I set it up. There were many young people at WSIS, in varying capacities, it was great to see young people from countries such as India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Peru, Brazil, Cuba and many African countries stepping up and doing great things. I had one guy see Linux on my badge and start pumping my hand saying he was a big fan of Linux. It all only makes me more passionate about pushing FOSS in order to help entire countries (let alone businesses and individuals) become ICT autonomous, facilitate education, encourage equality (gender, religion, race, etc), facilitate people learning programming and other job skills, ensure government files are not controlled by a vendor, and to generally make things much better. As for us ‘developed’ countries, haven’t we got something to learn of the benefits of FOSS from these highly successful ‘developing’ countries?

Off to China we go..

The trip from Europe to China was fun. I discovered that Lufthansa, the German Airline doesn’t have a row 13. I found this quite funny, but my fellow passengers were obviously used to it πŸ™‚

Flying over Europe ahs never been particularly interesting to me, but flying over Mongolia, phwoar! I landed in Beijing and proceeded to have a great conversation with the taxi driver, I’m not as bad as I thought πŸ™‚

The only bad news thus far has been the onset of a wisdom tooth that could kill a bison. This tooth has half of my face numb, making it hard to eat, and impossible to sleep. I braved seeing a Chinese dentist today, and after 15 mins of listening to a drill sound on two other patients, and getting worked up to walk out, she saw me and prescribed a mouth wash to help with the pain. We’ll see how it goes, at least it wasn’t an extraction.

Back to $1 and $2 meals, for those who don’t know I lived in China for 6 months in 2000. In a small city called Zhengzhou, Henan, with _only_ 4 million people as the locals would say πŸ™‚ It is wonderful to be back, and even better because my Chinese is better. Classes start on Thursday! Yay!

Big ‘kick-the-proprietary-ass’ session

One of the big presentations at WSIS was the OPEN SOURCE SOFTWARE: PROS AND CONS FROM A DEVELOPMENT PERSPECTIVE. It had a proprietary supporter dude being slammed by all the ‘developing country’ reps over why FOSS is more relevant to them. Reasons from Peru such as the information fo the government belonging to the people, and if it is controlled by a vendor then it is at risk. Really sweet stuff, check out the documentation, transcriptions, and audio/visual from all presentations over the coming weeks.


NOIE has a booth at WSIS, and compared to the otehr countries it is sooo weak! I was a little embarrased. Giving out showbags with ACA stuff, and NOIE stuff that isn’t interesting compared to the Malaysian efforts, or the many African countries present, or any of the other countries here. The Malaysians are particularly awesome. They have amazing initiative, they created a site for open and free discussion about Islam online, with texts, 3d artifacts, forums and mailings lists. Will be trying to get Australia into the loop on that one πŸ™‚

The Malaysians also have about %70 women in IT, which just blows me away, they have initiatives to get MEN into IT! Funny for us, but it certainly made redundant all these ideas that women are ‘genetically not suited to technical work’. Some of the crack I’ve heard over the years is amazing. Australia, and several other countries still have a long way to go.

Having LPI meetnigs with all the affiliates, we have 10 countries represented here, Brazil, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, USA, Canada, Jamaica, Pakistan, Bulgaria, and China. They are a great group and it has been a pleasure working with them. As soon as I get this stupid Canon digital camera working under linux, pics will be up.

Also the Skolelinux guys. Very kewl little project, am bringing back the iso to play with and distribute to the educonf at LCA2004 (if david lets me )

We Seize!…. when we get organised.

So the Activists meetings happening downtown (see and has some interesting aspects. I have a few gripes, firstly they are not organised particularly well, when you are passionate about something, being organised about it is a must πŸ™‚ secondly, one of the big philosophies floating around is of the Yomango dudes, who basically encourage “shoplifting as a form of social desobedience and direct action against multinational corporations”, which I completely disagree with. On the flip side there was an awesome bunch of people there to chat with, they had a decent web access (FINALLY!) and I went to a great talk on Morphix by Mako, and another talk I already blogged about.

Hubprojects is their main site for anyone interested. They have been abused here in Geneva and for that I sympathise. They turned up to the planned venue and were stopped by Swiss RIOT police and told to go to another location. Upon getting there were told they hadn’t heard of them. I’m not sure why there has been so much objection but I’m led to believe it is because of previous protests they have held.

WSIS Corporate Vs WSIS underground

I have spent the last few days at WSIS working at the LPI booth, chatting to corporate and government types about open source. I assisted in the LPI presentation by presenting a business case for adopting the open source methodology. It has been great in terms of getting the right message across, speaking to HEAPS of other countries about their schemes to get computers to socio-econimcally disadantaged areas, and how it has improved the quality of life, speaking to the Malaysian groups about them having 70% WOMEN IN IT! and many other rocking things.


6th Dec – Linux Australia Meeting

Meeting with Linux Australia ctte (except Leon and Anand). Went extremely well!

While we have not done everything we wanted to do, we have managed to nearly completely sort out the problems we unknowingly inherited. New constitution draft is up, membership registration page is nearly done (and constitutionally happy), plans for the new web site, to be done with a kewl app called drupal ( for those interested) early next year, a new charter! My favourite thing at this point was finding a way to incorporate transparency into a document that matters to the organisation and how it is run. It was suggested to me to release a document about Linux Australias’ dedication to transparency, but putting it in the actual charter creates a precedent and expectation that is more enforcible by the community.

We spoke about the AGM/SGM at LCA, and decided we want to add a small discussion point after the AGM (if we have time) to approach the subject of Linux Australia as an advocacy organisation. Thus far this year has been about damage control, fixing the issues, increasing the trust and buy-in, finding out what the community wants and needs and how Linux Australia can best facilitate these issues. We are still a long way from the desired communication with the entire community, mainly due to the inherited issue. With these addresses and out of the way, next year Linux Australia will be in a position to rock on.

Catch-up Part II..

Pumped for NZ

Boarded flight to Auckland in Sydney, felt odd to actually be getting on a plane again. Nice short flight, only 3.5 hours, nice dude to chat to about real estate and politics πŸ™‚ Read most of the Australian papers on the plane.

Auckland – Saw the trailer for Lord of the Rings (III) on the plane, am completely pumped to come back to NZ for a real holiday (and I will be in a few months!!! Hey Mike I expect the grand tour!), however the closest I got was to see the airport and gaze into the distant mountains…am preparing for WSIS (, is going to rock.

Auckland -> LA – Going to go straight through to Geneva, I can’t really afford US$200 a night at New York πŸ™‚ Great movies on the plane, mind racing 1000 miles an hour, but the rest is doing me good!

WSIS? We Seize!

There is an excellent conference, read up on for details, but I am now in a discussion about applying open source methodologies to other aspects in society, such as the media. Very interesting, I believe these talks will be available online, so look out for them. I will post them as soon as I am able.

This rocks, so much is happening, so much forward thinking and coordinated efforts.