Much after the fact, here are a few notes about my trip to Boston last month for the Free Software Foundation’s 2008 annual associate member meeting. This is part one. Maybe I’ll get part two up before another 6 weeks go by.
I like to travel, but I guess mainly with my wife. I didn’t like leaving her and our little baby girl behind. So while the outbound trip was pleasantly uneventful and I made it there with plenty of time to see the city, I felt a bit lonely walking around Boston Friday afternoon. I took some pictures which I’ll be posting here in the days/weeks/months ahead.
Stopped in at the FSF offices at 51 Franklin Street. One of my ears was plugged from the flight, making me feel like a deep sea diver in one of those old metal helmets. It was hard to hear others or myself. I felt awkwardly conspicuous. More conspicuous than I already may have felt from just popping in on these people during their working day. I consider myself a sociable person, but often feel awkward in new situations, around new people. But Matt Lee was there and introduced me around so that I didn’t feel like a total heel.
I had exchanged some emails with Mako about getting together that evening. He was having a party at his place in Somerville, which is a few stops up the Red Line from my hotel. I debated internally whether or not to go. I’d had a long day of traveling and walking around. I wouldn’t know anyone at the party, including Mako. I wondered how safe the subway going there and back in the evening would be. But in the end, I decided I should be brave and go. I was there in Boston to meet free software people, and there would be free software people at the party.
So I went. I happened to meet up with Mako and a few others outside his place near Davis Square. They were just arriving, and he conscripted me in to going with Daf (sp?) to get some vegetables (for sushi!) and beer. Returning, I felt out of place, but not for long. People were quite friendly.
I met a couple of folks from Wikimedia, and was presented with my very own cast-iron star anchor. Kind of a physical barnstar. Thanks, Kat! (Amazingly, it went through security on the way home without question.) There were FSF people there, someone from the Software Freedom Law Center, and several others with whom I enjoyed talking about free software, free culture, and etcetera. I wasn’t the only one who knew virtually no one there; it was just a nice mix of interesting people. The sushi was delicious. Having been awake since very early to catch my flight, and in general being an early riser, I didn’t stay very long. Subway trip back to the hotel was completely mugging-free, so all in all it was a great evening.
…tries to educate the public and encourage folks to snitch on their friends for singing the (copyrighted!) Happy Birthday song in public places [and] is perhaps the most widely read thing I’ve ever written. It’s been seen by millions and I continue to get hate mail several times a week.
You can listen to a highly entertaining in-character interview with the nationally broadcast CBC radio show WireTap about unhappybirthday.com, on the unofficial WireTap podcast. (His bit starts 10 minutes in.)
And that was Friday, and that’s enough for this post.