After a week of buzzing academic work in the University, the II Congress of Modern Languages is over. It was a successful reunion of international participants and speakers who, with their intellectual stimulation, made that activity a memorable one.
Megatotoro and I had to prepare a speech and a workshop. The former was on gender issues and criticism. The latter aimed at teaching colleagues how to use GNU/Linux & FOSS to solve common problems involving technology... nothing fancy, as both of us are plain users, not computer gurus.
As I commented previously, Megatotoro and I gave a speech on masculinity in the Japanese film Shall We DANSU?. Since the presentation was made using mainly open source software (which includes programs we had never used before), I consider that it is relevant to post my after thoughts about that particular activity. Apparently, the audience liked the speech and I know that part of its success was due to the fact that we could rely on software that not only acted as expected but also displayed the information beautifully. Basically, the speech consisted of a Prezi presentation running on Wine (waiting to be summoned, on desktop # 2) complemented by some clips taken from the movie via Avidemux, which were opened as a playlist in Kaffeine (hidden, sitting on desktop #4). We used my netbook (running Mandriva 2010 Spring) and we started with nothing on desktop # 1. As we moved to desktop #2 for the presentation, the change of the cube got the attention of the audience, that was probably expecting a traditional PowerPoint slide show. Prezi might not be as fancy as Open Office.org transitions, but its novelty did catch the participants' eyes... and then we switched from desktop # 2 to #4 to display the clips. This was easily done thanks to KDE Kwin's cube.
The result: many positive comments after the speech was over. One of them was particularly meaningful for us, as it came from an intellectual giant who was a former professor of ours, a woman whose incisive criticism made us question lots of gender/literary/social paradigms as we coursed undergraduate and graduate school.
I wish I could say that our argumentation was effective...but I know that much of the success of this talk comes from the technological delivery. I feel happy because I can trust my OS. Linux has never betrayed me in public.
The Workshop on Technology
All I can say is that it was heartwarming to see the reception that this workshop had. We made 25 Mandriva CDs, 25 SimplyMepis CDs and some bootable flashdrives. Yes, we were prepared to work with 25 people, expected no more than 10, and ended up working with 28 participants, who were very happy because we gave them the CDs and the flashdrives as a present.
Someone told me that several people were sad because they could not register for the workshop. This activity was also successful.
I'd love to get into the details, ... except that Magatotoro already did it.