Chaotic Organization at LSM/RMLL

After my voluntary 6-hour stopover in Paris, I finally arrived in Dijon at something like 7pm.

During the train ride there, I wanted to read the instructions on how to get onto the campus. I've received an email regarding that subject some time ago, but I didn't yet read it, since I have all my email synchronized to (an encrypted partition on) my notebook. Sadly it turned out that this email didn't contain any instructions but just a link. Obviously the link is useless unless you have online access. Ok, I can't blame the LSM/RMLL for not having read the email before - but it's also been the first time in all of the conferences I visit that such vital instructions haven't been sent by mail.

Luckily I ran into some LSM/RMLL attendees in downtown Bordeaux who told me how to find the campus.

At the campus, I found dozens of LSM/RMLL signs pointing in contradictory directions - and nobody there.

So I called the only other person at LSM/RMLL of whom I had the cell phone number: Werner Koch, one of the other speakers. He was lost, too :( So I made the only reasonable decision: Get back to the city centre and look for a hotel room. Obviously, the tourist information was long closed. So I walked from one hotel to the other. The first two were fully booked. At the instance of entering the third hotel, Werner called again.

Luckily he ran into some other attendees (not organizer!) who managed to talk one of (obviously non-English speaking) officials at the student dormitories into accepting the two of us for one night.

Obviously I didn't have the breakfast vouchers at the time of breakfast (since registration opens only after breakfast is finished, and it's a 15minute walk to the restaurant). So I end up at the conference venue without breakfast.

I think this is the way you _not_ want to organize a conference. I don't think there was any other event (even the previous LSM in Bordeaux I've been to) which had equally non-existent speaker care. At most events, you get picked up from the airport / railway station, brought to your accommodation, and at the hotel reception you receive printed instructions, such as a map of the campus, Instructions on when to be where, and (most importantly) some contact phone numbers in case you get lost or have any other problems in a country whose language you don't speak.

At my presentation (as the presentation of David Turner, FSF GPL Compliance Lab Engineer) were about 10-15 people in the audience. So I'm actually leaving an ever-growing pile of work behind in my office, choose to not do any paid work for three days, paying for the accommodation myself (travel is covered), going through all the hassle of the travel as described above, to talk in front of that small an audience. I guess this really was my last LSM.

And yes, I could continue this rant now about the wireless network, which requires you to log in with the account data you used to register for the conference. That data is securely stored on my hard drive at home. Why would I bring such data with me, if nobody tells me upfront that I would need it? *sigh*