LugRadio Live UK 2008

For the first time, and allegedly the last, I wen’t to LugRadio Live UK 2008 in …. Wolverhampton. I’d never been to Wolverhampton before; it was just about everything I had expected.

I took the train to Wolverhampton, as it seemed the easiest way to get there. Cross Country Trains is now the operator as Virgin seemed to have lost it. I went 1st Class down; I wish I’d managed to on the way back. I’m not sure which was worse; the chatty woman for half the journey, the fat man with huge elbows on the other half, or just that the seats were too narrow and like pieces of wood. I’ll not travel standard class again on National Cross Country Rail. Also their website doesn’t appear to work very well in Firefox 2.0 on Linux.

Incidentally, the trains must be a pretty good implementations of a Faraday cage because neither my O2 data card, nor the Neo FreeRunner, nor the Nokia 6310i was getting much of a signal at all. And there is no WiFi available on the train which limits connectivity somewhat. Maybe this is a quiet train?

The venue was the Lighthouse Media Centre which occupies the old Chubb factory in Wolverhampton. I never knew Chubb (the lock people) were based there. It’s a large Victorian venue, red brick, with a slightly leaky roof. Bytemark, the people who actually run the machine this site lives in, were there with a big multi-player gaming rig. Matthew (of Bytemark) told me that a light mist had headed for the gaming rig earlier in the day when it had rained! There is a cinema, which was the main stage, an atrium, which is really the covered courtyard of the factory, and a small, expensive, place to eat conference food. Nothing for vegies or anybody who wants green things in their food. Eat out is my advice.

Day 1

I arrived around 12.00, just in time for the afternoon session:

  • Jeremy Allison – an update on where Samba’s been, is and is going. This was an interesting and amusing talk delivered with Mr Allison’s typical blend of wit, verve and sarcasm.
  • Gong-a-Thong – a series of lightening talks compered by a man in a thong. Really. Actually, a man dressed in a thong, racoon feet and gloves who arrived complete with comedy racoon head. A mixed bag of excellent, dull, incomprehensible and, frankly, bizarre talks that can last no longer than 5 minutes. The bizarre one left me speechless.
  • Conduit – what’s happening with desktop sync in the Gnome world. Quite a lot it turns out. The chap was very knowledgeable, but a tad on the dull side.
  • LUGRadio Live and Unleashed – the Podcast done live. This was typically excellent, with a few dull moments. And it turned out, this isn’t the last LUG Radio Live. No more podcasts though, but another Live event next year in … Wolverhampton 🙂
LugRadio Live UK 2008 Gong Guy

And off to the hotel we go. I stayed at the Quality Inn in Wolverhampton which was the official hotel and was a bargain at £32 for b&b. The only major problem was that the room was hotter than hell. The shower was also scalding hot and took about 10 minutes of wrangling to get something that could actually be stood under. Breakfast, on the other hand was good with the usual array of hot and cold food. Nothing like a fry-up to battle a hangover.

The evening saw the LugRadio party at the same venue. This had the joy of Karaoke. You either like Karaoke or you don’t. I don’t. Everybody seemed to have fun and drink lots which meant day 2 had a quieter start:

Day 2

After a brief introduction by the LugRadio team, straight into the talks:

  • Demoscene – some amazing animations/films generated by the people who crack(ed) games. Essentially, computer generated graphics and music in real-time; no videos allowed. These are unconferences that allow people to demonstrate just how good they are at visual and musical feasts delivered in real time on a variety of computing platforms ranging from 8-bit Atmels to quad-core Intel monsters. Good, but very loud.
  • The great debate – Jeremy Allison, Mathew Garret, Tony (the LugRadio community guy), Max Spevack (Fedora Project) with Jono Bacon as the compere. It was generally amusing as they debated GPL3, Distro release synchronisation, OOXML as well as whether computing is fun enough for new blood to enter it.
  • Telepathy – which should have been interesting, but wasn’t as the delivery was very dry – some people actually fell asleep. But we did get to see the XO (OLPC) which uses Telepathy as part of it’s networking stack to do collaboration between XOs.


I met some really interesting people during the event. It ranged from business owners/consultants to network administrators, to programmers, community managers, etc. The social side, particularly the chats during the part on the Saturday night were great, and I now know a lot more faces than names. Which is partly my problem – I remember faces much better than names. Hopefully, I’ll run into them again.

If you didn’t go this year, it looks like you could next year!