Some prefer marathoning... I prefer going to my old workplace
I was invited to talk about Free Software at yesterday’s FLISOL. Yesterday? Aren’t FLISOLs organized on Saturday? Well, not this one, for various reasons which I won’t quote here. And no, I am not a supporter of the installfests idea, but I went gladly to talk about what is Free Software all about - The philosophy behind Free Software. Besides, the talk was at FES Iztacala, where I worked for four happy years, 1999-2003. I have not been often to Iztacala since 2003 (probably I have visited only three or four times), partly because of the distance (~25Km from home in a straight line, but the city’s Northern part is quite poorly communicated). The last time I was there, last October, I went by bike, just to test my endurance and… because I could.
Yesterday, I also did, not to be outdone by my fellow Debianers Christian and Dirk. Think they are so cool because they can run for 43Km? Well, I had my 55Km yesterday, and I was not even in a competition! (yes, yes, running and biking is not the same. So sue me. I just didn’t want to stand still and let them walk away with all of the fun!) I took slightly different routes (my route to get there on Nokia Sportstracker and OpenStreetMap trace, my route back on Nokia Sportstracker and OpenStreetMap trace), crossing diagonally Azcapotzalco, a region of the city (delegación) I hardly know… The Sourthern of it seems like a continuation of Tacuba to the North, small and not-very-well-communicated prior villages engulfed by our hungry, huge city. The Northern half is a mostly industrial area, with very sparse population, lots of trucks, and streets that are not in the best shape. You can end up feeling lonely in those regions, and I am glad not to have crossed back by night.
And the trip back was interesting as well… Mexico City is home to many more bikers you would expect given its size, and it is very common to find other people doing nice long stretches. In this case, I started cycling quite close to another guy in a white bike more or less when I got to Calzada Camarones. Possibly we had passed each other over and over until after Tlatelolco, arriving to Guerrero, where I approached him at a stoplight: — Hi! Where to? — Near Vocacional 7, Iztapalapa! — Nice! I’m just going to Copilco
Every now and then we crossed each other… Turns out he does this ~30Km commute daily between Iztapalapa and Azcapotzalco. Quite admirable, to be honest. I also crossed my road with Sergio Mendoza, fellow Debianer (and co-administrator of our Mexican mirror) around Centro Médico (about 7Km north from my destination), whom I had only seen before around the University. Nice surprise. And yes, getting to know the city by bike is the best way to go!
Back to the conference… my first thought when I was invited was to present ¿Qué es el Software Libre?, a talk I have given over and over since… 2002 (although, yes, with updates). I must say it’s one of the best structured talks I have prepared and has almost always been very successful - But give the same talk based on the same script over and over (AFAICT, around 20 times), and you will be fed up with it. And yes, yesterday I didn’t take my laptop along, and didn’t put my presentation on a USB stick - I took a pen and some paper, and during the presentation prior to mine, wrote some points to go over. And yes, it was a refreshing change. The talk was as successful as expected, and it’s much more refreshing to talk about the same topics bot on a different way, and without being constrained to a predefined script. I know that organizing formally your ideas makes sure you don’t miss out important points and that the audience is sometimes encouraged to pay attention by having some bullet points to look at - But on the other hand, it is much easier to follow your audience’s interest if you are not bound by the script. And the few times I’ve spoken that way, it has felt refreshing and nice.