Hackerbeach Days 1-3

For the last few days I’ve been spending time in El Rodadero, Colombia before setting off to Palomino for Hackerbeach. Another participant arrived today, and joined me in relaxing before the primary Hackerbeach work in Palomino. It’s peak season here in El Rodadero, which means all the restaurants, the malecón, and the beach are filled to the brim with people, mostly traveling Colombians who come here for what is justifiably one of the most gorgeous beaches in the country.

Hackerbeach Day 0

It’s been hell, doing a 4 flight stint for the better part of a day with no off-plane sleep. I read recently that airplane humidity is typically around 20%, which is drier than the Sahara desert. Lesson learned: always bring and fill your water bottle. When you’re dehydrated, the mucus membranes have trouble keeping a layer of mucus, and can let more dangerous external matter through. That results in a sensation, that, when you swallow, can be unpleasant.

My Gear Post

Whenever I encounter people as I travel, they are often curious about my luggage. It seems to be invisible. They’ll often ask where my bag is, assuming that it must have gotten lost in transit. Their eyes go wide and confusion sets in when I tell them that the bag on my back is the only one. It is my estimation that at least some people would be curious about what gear I travel with.

Working around flaky internet connections

Unfortunately not all WiFi connections work perfectly all the time. They’re fraught with unexpected problems including dropping out entirely, abruptly killing connections, and running into connection limits. Thankfully with a little knowledge it is possible to regain productivity that would otherwise be lost to a flaky internet connection. These techniques are applicable to coffee shops, hotels, and other places with semi-public WiFi. Always have a backup connection Depending on a WiFi connections as your sole source of connectivity is a losing proposition.

The cost of ‘free’ relocation cars in New Zealand

As many of my friends know, I’ve been spending the last few weeks in New Zealand. Primarily it’s been for a small holiday, but also in preparation inimitable 2015 conference. Leading up to that, one of the goals of my visit was to experience the variety of places across both islands. A few weeks ago someone clued me in to a service called TransfercarThis is that this is a service for people who need to rent a car for one-way travel.

Finding the perfect ancillary travel device

As would be familiar to anybody who knows me, I’m always interested in new tech, especially when it’s running free software and portable enough to be in my every-day carry arsenal. For the past month or so I’ve been looking at a few devices as a secondary to my laptop to carry with me. In a few weeks I’ll be joining those already there at third installment of Hackerbeach, on the Caribbean island of Dominica.

September ’14 Mercurial Code Sprint

Joining me at the sprint were two of my colleagues Gregory Szorc (gps) and Mike Hommey (glandium). They took part in some of the serious discussions about core bugfixes and features that will help Mozilla scale its use of Mercurial. Impressively, glandium had only been working on the project for mere weeks, but was able to make serious contributions to the bundle2 format (an upcoming feature of Mercurial). Specifically, we talked to Mercurial developers about some of the difficulties and bugs we’ve encountered with Mozilla’s “try” repository due to the “tens of thousands of heads” and the events that cause a serving request to spin forever.

Concerning Hackers and Beaches

For the uninitiated, Hackerbeach involves a group of hackers (historically 15-20) gathering in a tropical location for a month to hack on various open source projects. It can be thought of as a month-long hackathon or code sprint for nomadic open source developers. All of the code so far has been focused on the open web ecosystem. Last year it took place on a small island of Vietnam named Phú Quốc.

Flying in India

In order to enter the airport, you must show proof of identity and flight documentation (such as an itinerary) to uniformed, armed guards stationed outside the entrance of the airport. After reading a bit, this heightened security must be due to some of the recent bombings in Mumbai. Metal detecters are everywhere in the country, including the entrance to shopping malls and other high profile public places. Ironically, none of the places that employ these devices actually CARE about the result.

Hiring an Auto in Bangalore

That said, they’re an excellent way to access the city. They’re affordable, readily available, and their open-air nature really allows one to take in the spectacles, cacophony, and (sometimes) smells of the city. One of the perils of being a westerner in India (or really anybody that one can identify as not being born and raised locally) is that often others will try to take advantage of you. This certainly isn’t restricted to auto drivers either, as this will also happen on the street, in shopping malls, at the airport, and generally everywhere.