So I've been absent for a while lately, but with good reason. I've been
preparing for Imagine RIT, which was held earlier today.
After pulling possibly my longest day's hack yesterday (1pm to 4am,
approximately), I woke up at 9 and headed over to the Innovation Center
to talk to people about FOSS. All day long, the FOSSBox was filled with
curious people, looking to find out what it is we did. We had kids
poking around on the OLPCs, checking out our software, and occasionally
getting lost opening new programs. Every time I finished showing a group
around all the different projects hosted in the FOSSBox, a brand new
group would appear and start asking questions. It was tiring, especially
on about three hours of sleep, but it was quite fun and exciting showing
off our work to new people.
Of particular interest was Lemonade Stand, which seemed to excite many
of the children who came around. Most seemed to pick up the game with
minimal instruction (though it helped that by now I know very well which
areas to explain... they should get tightened in the future) and most
had lots of fun despite the large quantities of math involved.
And the backdrop to all this was Rise Above the Crowd, the project I
was spending so much time polishing yesterday. I don't know if I could
explain what exactly Rise is, other than a real-time journalism and news
collection framework, which doesn't really explain anything. Basically,
users submit stories and photos to Rise, which in turn keep track of
popular and recent content and display this information to strategically
placed screens throughout the campus. After a few hiccoughs, the servers
were online and serving data to the public, who then voted on their
favorite stories. At the FOSSBOX, we had the projector set up serving
the HD display mode so people could see what was current while they were
there. Since I was the one most familiar with the system at the time, I
tried to field any questions that popped up at the time to the best of
my knowledge, though sometimes that wasn't much help. As the day
progressed, we uncovered a few new bugs in the new system, and have some
new tasks before the final release.
All in all, a very exciting and fun weekend. We made a few contacts,
introduced a few more people to FOSS@RIT, and gave away at least 40
LiveCDs. I think that qualifies as quite a success.