[Linux-aus] LCA2014 update update - what can we do to reduce workload?

Anthony Towns aj at erisian.com.au
Sun Sep 2 00:08:04 EST 2012

On 1 September 2012 11:49, James Polley <jamezpolley at gmail.com> wrote:
> So far in this thread, one of the strongest themes has been the workload
> placed on teams who’ve won a bid. It’s been mentioned both by past LCA
> organisers (mostly in the context of “But it was worth it, you should
> totally give up a year of your life!”)

The main challenge really is taking between a week to a month off work
to spend full-time on LCA -- one week's an absolute minimum, because,
well, that's how long LCA last; and up to about three weeks beforehand
can be pretty useful for getting lots of crap done. The rest of the
time, it's a lot of energy and effort, but you don't have to give up
your job or your family or whatever.

> and by people who didn’t put in bids
> (in the context of “We couldn’t find enough local people who could guarantee
> enough time - so we couldn’t put together a realistic bid”).

So things the organising team need to do before the conference include
(corrections from more recent organisers welcome):

 - meeting, keeping in touch -- if you don't keep in touch with each
other, things get forgotten, problems fester etc. A couple of hours
every week or fortnight plus email, at least.

 - doing the website, maintaining zookeepr, etc

 - writing the CFP, reviewing papers, inviting presenters, setting up
the schedule, etc

 - visiting venues, making sure companies you're paying to do stuff
for you actually do stuff, paying bills

 - organising schwag and logos and stuff -- every nuclear reactor
needs a bike shed

 - contacting media, promoting the conference, signing up sponsors

Things that tend to take up time during the conference:

 - fighting fires (floods, missing speakers, flamewars, harrassment,
illness, ToS violations, bad schwag, missing pens, not enough
batteries for mics...)

 - registration (badges, maps, schwag, room keys, attendee/speaker help, etc)

 - keeping venues working and happy (having someone in rooms, opening
them, locking them, microphones, water bottles, telling them about
final numbers, paying bills, ...)

 - networking for speakers/attendees

 - recordings, live-streaming (A/V equipment to record talks,
balancing, camera pointing, bandwidth, transcoding, ...)

 - ferrying VIP guests to/from the airport (keynotes? invited
speakers? all speakers? most attendees in Ballarat's case...)

And post conference there's followup stuff:

 - cleaning up the venues

 - putting up recordings (once upon a time, this involved burning and
mailing out CDs...)

 - dealing with any complaints / refunds

 - returning hired equipment, dealing with any damage etc to finalise bills

 - reimbursing volunteers for expenses

 - finishing off paperwork, sorting out taxes etc

 - passing on equipment, knowledge, etc to the next team

> Behind the scenes, the LA council ... now has a relationship with a
> travel agent ... LCA teams now just need to put the speakers in touch
> with the travel agent and they’re done.

Maybe what the "distributed LCA bid team" should actually involve is
more like putting together a list of parts of LCA that can be easily
outsourced and how to do so. eg:

 - networking: if your venue can provide an AARNet link, and you can
budget $5000 for equipment hire, and one week's advance access to the
venue; Steve Walsh can organise IPv6 and NATed IPv4 over LAN and
wireless for the conference.

 - airport pickups: contact a limo services; reasonable rates are $xx per head

 - recordings: $1500 for equipment hire per room, with such-n-such
specs; two dedicated A/V volunteers per room; and two days to setup
and test will ensure recordings work. Contact ....

 - streaming: using the aforementioned recording recording tech,
10Mb/s dedicated b/w per room, and such-n-such will enable live
streaming of events in such-n-such format.

 - AV/recording/streaming: company Z can do all the
recording/streaming for $Y in format X if you're based in W, V, or U

 - web site: setting up and customising the website can be done
following such-n-such instructions

There could be multiple canned solutions for any particular issue too
-- I think we've had a few different ways of doing streaming/recording
at least.


Anthony Towns <aj at erisian.com.au>

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