Shenzhen trip

Few months ago, at the end of previous Linaro Connect gathering, there was announcement that next one will take place in Hong Kong. This gave me idea of repeating Shenzhen trip but in a bit longer version.

So I mailed people at Linaro and there were some responses. We quickly agreed on going there before Connect. Alex, Arnd, Green and me were landing around noon, Riku a few hours later so we decided that we will meet in Shenzhen.

We crossed border in Lok Ma Chau, my visa had the highest price again and then we took a taxi to the Maker Hotel (still called “Quchuang Hotel” in Google Maps and on Booking.com) next to all those shops we wanted to visit. Then went for quick walk through Seg Electronics Market. Lot of mining gear. 2000W power supplies, strange PCI Express expanders etc. Dinner, meeting with Riku and day ended.

I have woken up at 02:22 and was not able to fall asleep. Around 6:00 it turned out that rest of team is awake as well so we decided to go around and search for some breakfast. Deserted streets looked a bit weird.

Back at hotel we were discussing random things. Then someone from Singapore joined and we were talking about changes in how Shenzhen stores/factories operate. He told us that there is less and less of stores as business moves to the Internet. Then some Chinese family came with about seven years old boy. He said something, his mother translated and it turned out that he wanted to touch my beard. As it was not the first time my beard got such attention I allowed him. That surprise on his face was worth it. And then we realized that we have not seen bearded Chinese man on a street.

As stores were opening at 10:00 we still had a lot of time so went for random walk. Including Shenzhen Center Park which is really nice place:

Then stores started to open. Fake phones, real phones, tablets, components, devices, misc things… Walking there was fun itself. Bought some items from my list.

They also had a lot of old things. Intel Overdrive system for example or 386/486 era processors and FPUs.

From weird things: 3.5″ floppy disks and Intel Xeon Platinum 8175 made for Amazon cloud only.

Lot and lot of stuff everywhere. Need power supply? There were several stores with industrial ones, regulated ones etc. Used computers/laptops? Piles after piles. New components? Lot to choose from. Etc, etc, etc…

After several hours we finally decided to go back to Hong Kong and rest. The whole trip was fun. I really enjoyed it. Even without getting half of items from my ‘buy while in Shenzhen’ list ;D

And ordered Shenzhen fridge magnet on Aliexpress… They were not available to buy at any place we were.

SnowpenStack in Dublin

During last week I was in Dublin, Ireland on OpenStack PTG. It was also the worst weather since 1982. There was snow and strong wind so conference quickly got renamed to SnowpenStack.

The main reasons for me to be there were:

  • meet all those developers who took some time and looked at my changes
  • discuss some other changes/plans
  • share aarch64 knowledge with OpenStack projects

Conference took place in the Croke Park stadium. We used meeting rooms on 4th, 5th, 6th floors. One day by mistake I took wrong stairs and ended on top of the stadium in just T-shirt… Quickly ran to an elevator to get back to proper floor ;D

The schedule was split into two parts: Monday and Tuesday were for mixed teams sessions while Wednesday — Friday were for discussions in teams. I spoke with Kolla, Nova and Infra teams mostly. There were some discussions with Ironic, Kuryr and some other ones too. Also met several Polish developers so there was a time to speak in native language ;D

On Tuesday I went to the city centre to buy some souvenirs for family (and 99th fridge magnet for myself). Launched Ingress, did one mosaic to see more of a city and after 11 kilometres I was back at the hotel just in time for a small party in GAA museum. And then pub trip with Polish guys. When I finally reached the hotel (about 01:30) there were still discussions in the lobby and I took a part in one of them.

Team discussions started on Wednesday. Visited Nova one summarizing ‘Queens’ release. Turned out that it went better than previous ones. The main problem was lack of reviews — not everyone likes to pester developers on IRC to get some attention to patches. I was asked few times for opinion as I was one of few fresh contributors.

Kolla sessions were a bit chaotic in my opinion. Recently chosen PTL was not present and the person supposed to replace him got stuck at home due to weather. One of the discussions I remember was about Ceph: should we keep using our images or rather move to ‘ceph-ansible’ instead. Final idea was to keep as it looked like there were more cons than pros with moving to ‘ceph-ansible’ images.

Discussed Arm64 support with Infra team. We (Linaro) provided them resources on one of our developer clouds to get aarch64 present in OpenStack CI gates. Turned out that machines work and some initial tests were done. I also got informed that diskimage-builder patches to add GPT/UEFI support will be reviewed soon.

And then there were some weather related issues. On Wednesday every attendee got an email with information that Irish government issued the Red Alert which strongly suggest to stay inside if you do not really have to go outside. And as attendance was not mandatory then people should first check are they comfortable with going to Croke Park (especially those who not stayed in the hotel nearby). Next day organization team announced that the venue we used will close after lunch to make sure that everyone is safe. And the whole conference moved to the hotel…

Imagine developers discussing EVERYWHERE in a hotel. Lobby was occupied by few teams, Infra found a table in library corner, Nova took Neutron and occupied breakfast room. Bar area was quite popular and soon some beers were visible here and there. Few teams went to meeting rooms etc. WiFi bandwidth was gone… Some time later hotel staff created a separate wireless network for our use. And then similar situation was on Friday.

On Wednesday other thing happened too: people started receiving information that their flights are cancelled. There were some connections on Thursday and then nothing was flying on Friday. Kudos to hotel staff to be aware of it — they stopped taking external reservations to make sure that PTG attendees have a place to stay for longer (as some people got rebooked to even Thursday).

And even on Saturday it was hard to get to the airport. No taxi going to the hotel due to snow on a street. But if you walked 500 meters then cab could be hailed on a street. Many people went for buses (line 700 was the only working one). The crowd on the airport was huge. Some of those people looked like they lived there (which was probably true). Several flights were delayed (even by 4-5 hours), other got cancelled but most of them were flying.

Despite the weather sitting in a hotel in Dublin was safe, walking around too as there were about 15-20 centimetres of snow on a street. There were several snowmen around, people had fun playing with snow. But at same time local news were informing that 30 000 homes lacked electricity and some people got stuck in their cars. There was no public transport, no trains, no buses. Much smaller amount of people on streets.

Was it worth attending? Yes. Will I attend next ones? Probably not as this is very developer related where I spend most of my OpenStack time around building it’s components or doing some testing.

Devconf.cz? FOSDEM? PTG? Linaro Connect?

What connects those names? All of them are conference or team meeting names. Spread over Europe + Asia. And I will be on all of them this year.

First will be in Brno, Czechia. Terrible city to travel to but amount of people I can meet there is enormous. Some guys from my Red Hat team will be there, my boss’ boss (and boss of my boss’ boss) and several people from CentOS, Fedora, RHEL (and some other names) communities. Meetings, sessions… Nice to be there. Will be in A-Sport hotel as it is closest to Red Hat office where I have some meetings to attend.

Then FOSDEM. The only “week-long conference squeezed into two days” I know. Good luck with meeting me probably. As usual my list of sessions covers all buildings and have several conflicts. Will meet many people, miss even more, do some beers. This year I stay in Floris Arlequin Grand-Place hotel.

Next one? OpenStack PTG in Dublin, Ireland. Finally will meet all those developers reviewing my patches, helping me with understanding source code of several OpenStack projects. And probably answering several questions about state of AArch64 support. Conference hotel.

Linaro Connect. Hong Kong again. Not registered yet, not looked at flights. Have to do that sooner than later and checking which airline sucks less on intercontinental connections sucks too. With few members of SDI team I will talk about our journey through/with OpenStack on our beloved architecture. Conference hotel.

What after those? Probably OpenSource Day in Poland, maybe some other ones. Will see.

Fridge magnets

All started few years ago when I had no idea for a gift from Orlando. So I brought my wife magnet with “someone came for Florida and I got was that stupid magnet” text. Some time later I started own collection…

Today I reorganised magnets because had to add one but there was no space available. I have around 80 magnets from places I visited and some from places to visit.

Fridge magnets collection

With this amount I had to find a way to not loose track. So I created a map:

And small request at the end: if you live in one of places with red marker and there is an option that we meet (conference, other event) then would be great if you bring me magnet ;D

Linaro Connect: Las Vegas sightseeing

One of cool things of being Linaro assignee is going to Linaro Connect conference. This time it was Las Vegas, USA. I was flying Berlin Tegel -> London Heathrow -> Las Vegas. Last part was fun as I met several Linaro folks at the airport ;D

Arrived in Vegas, went to hotel and fall asleep. Sunday was planned for some Ingress playing and for sightseeing. As usual I had several places marked on Google Maps to make things easier.

So Sunday… It was really Sun day. I took some water with me and refueled several times during day just to stay hydrated. With Las Vegas climate I was not even felt sweety as it vaporated right away…

But let’s start from beginning. I walked few hundred meters from hotel and caught public transport bus which took me to Freemont Street (or somewhere around). When I walked I felt like the only person on the Earth or in a no-go zone. There was basically no one on the street. After some walking and few photos I got asked something like “who are you and what you are doing here???” from security guy. It turned out that some part of Freemont Street (and surroundings) were closed due to some arts/music festival. I probably missed some ‘no entry’ plate…

Anyway I did not get any problems and was pointed where the gate is. Walked around, saw some places, bought souvenirs (including fridge magnet to my collection), another water bottles and decided to walk to another point on my map.

Yes, it may feel strange but I walked. And walked. And walked. Then Arts district happened.

OMG it was awesome. Deserted streets, shops with some retro furniture/stuff, shops with some crazy junk, shop with wax figures from Last Supper etc. But the best part was murals and graffitis. Lot of them, different styles and quality. I spent about 2 hours just walking there and taking photos.

Next step was the Strip. All those big hotel/casino buildings. At Circus Circus I found room with arcade machines and spent 25 cents on Galaga. In Venetian I looked at their version of Venice canals (have to go to Venice and compare one day :D). Few minutes later I saw Eiffel tower (or rather miniature version of it). Decided to skip searching for copy of Statue of Liberty and instead crossed street and went to take a look at Bellagio fountains show. Have to admit that it was nice. I saw three shows (had to sort few things around) and then took a cab back to the hotel.

More photos in Google Photos album

Visiting UK again — Bletchley Park and Cambridge Beer Festival

For some time I had “visit Bletchley Park” on my ‘places to visit’ list. Some people told me that there is nothing interesting to see, some said that I should definitely go there. So I will. And will also grab some beers at Cambridge Beer Festival like three years ago.

Due to some family duties my visit will be short — landing on Saturday (21st May) and departing on Wednesday (25th May). First Bletchley park and then Cambridge from Sunday evening.

Plans are simple: walk, see old computers, walk, visit long time no see friends, walk, see not so old computers, maybe play some Ingress, meet other friends, drink some beers, exchange some hardware, buy some hardware etc.

This time will skip visiting Linaro office — they moved somewhere outside of Cambridge so it takes too much time to get there just to say “hi” and drink tea.

As usual I will be online so catch me via Hangouts, Telegram, Facebook, mail or call me if you want to meet.

FOSDEM and Devconf.cz trip

As two years and year ago I plan to make conference combo: FOSDEM in Brussels and then Devconf.cz in Brno. Weekend after weekend. But this time I want to make it different.

First I thought that will skip devconf.cz one. But this is quite important Fedora conference so checked how to make it cheaper that in previous years. And found out few deals and setup a trip which should be interesting.

From home to SXF and then with Ryanair to Brussels. Visit friends, meet friends, make some beers, attend talks, discuss with strange and familiar people — like each time during FOSDEM.

Then fly to Bratislava, Slovakia (Ryanair from CRL) and stay there for few days. Visit some places, do some Ingress missions, buy fridge magnet — typical tourist stuff.

From there take a train to Brno. Stay at some cheap ho(s)tel, attend devconf.cz conference, do some beers, meet friends etc. Like on normal conference.

And from there go back home by train. With one hour break at Berlin Hbf station.

Have to fill a form to arrange PTO for Bratislava and buy some tickets. Hope that it will be fun trip.

Internet abroad

I am not travelling as much as in previous year, but still try to visit some interesting places when I can. As it usually mean going abroad new sim cards are bought for such visits. Or not.

During last weeks I was in Germany, Iceland, USA and Canada. Needed Internet access in each of them but not everywhere that meant new sim card.

In Germany I am using ALDI Talk card which I bought few months ago. Cost was 12€ with 10€ credit on card. Internet access comes with 500MB data limit per day for 2€ and it usually covers my needs (it gets insanely slow after reaching limit).

Iceland was typical “one time use” card so I went for Nova as it was first available one. Costed one or two thousands ISK and gave me enough data for my 24h visit.

Then USA. Country where even prepaid is expensive. Bought T-Mobile sim card in 7/11 for 47USD including 35USD of credit of which 30USD went for 5GB data package. Getting card running requires registration with codes from starter kit. During 11 days of stay I used about 3GB of it. There were also huge amount of open wifi networks.

Canada was next on list. No sim card this time as 30CAD + 10CAD for 1GB of data was total rip-off. Living on open wifi networks sucks. With my next visit I wait until they got some sane prices ;D

How it looks in other countries?

Poland – buy any sim card in kiosk for 5PLN (1.25€), put into device and usually 1GB of data is available.

Czech Republic – last time I used O² with 375MB data package but do not remember price for it.

Belgium – 10€ on Lycamobile card (card available for free in shops) gave me 3GB data (for 7€).

Finland – Saunalahti card costs 4€ with 6€ credit. Maximum price for Internet access per day is 1.70€ so one card is fine for 3 days. Then you just buy next one or top up with minimum 10€.

I have also cards from UK, Hong Kong, Lithuania and Latvia but do not remember details any more. But all can be always checked on prepaid data sim card wiki.

Vacations in USA and Canada

Few years ago I told that I would not fly to USA. Then I changed job and had to fly there for conference. And another one and another… But it was always travel just for conference and one or two days of sightseeing. But not this year.

In August I am going to USA for Fedora Flock conference which takes place in Rochester, NY, USA on 12-15th. But I plan to spend a bit more time on american continent…

First flight is Berlin, Germany to Reykjavík, Iceland where I could just change flight and go to Boston, MA, USA. But why would I? Price of tickets does not change if I stay there for 24h. So I will do some sightseeing, buy a fridge magnet to my collection and then fly.

Boston is a place where I would like to spend few days. Take a look at city, visit Cambridge, MA just because it is younger brother of Cambridge, UK etc. Hope to go to Westford to visit Red Hat office and met some team members and co-workers there. Nothing planned yet, not even hotels.

Then trip to Rochester, NY. Probably by train or bus. Then conference, sightseeing, meeting people etc. I share hotel room with Paul Whalen so probably there will be some interesting discussions 😉

Another part will be visiting Niagara Falls. Hope for both US and Canadian sides. From there I go to Toronto and then on 19th August flying back home.

If someone want to meet me then just ping me. Hints for Canadian prepaid are welcome (in US T-Mobile with 30$ plan should be fine).

Road trip dates setup

So this year we are going to Moomins World, Naantali, Finland. All dates are set, PTO granted, car checked.

Trip will start on 5th July with Szczecin -> Łódź trip. There I will take my 6 years old daughter Mira to event named “Old computers & games” to show her which kind of computers I used. Then Łódź -> Olecko to visit my mother. Will spend few days there.

And then crazy trip starts. Friday 11th will take us to Klaipėda, Lithuania to see dolphins. Next day we go to Rīga, Latvia through Hill of Crosses in Šiauliai, Lithuania. Look around and on Sunday -> Tallinn, Estonia where we will spend ~24h as this direction is mostly to not drive everything in one day.

Then ferry to Helsinki, some sightseeing and on 15th we will go to Turku and stay there in yet another hotel.

Finally on 16th July plan is to spend whole day in Moomins World in Naantali. Walk, see, take photos and have a good time.

Next day equals Tampere. Moomins museum and visiting Thomas Ruecker. Then quick run to catch ferry in Helsinki so we can spend some time in Tallinn again and do some proper sightseeing. Similar with Riga and finally Devils’ Museum in Kaunas, Lithuania on last day.

Few days of rest in Olecko and go back home probably through Gdańsk.

I hope that it will be the adventure. One of those nasty disturbing uncomfortable things which you remember for long ;D