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It’s been two fun and amazing days in Los Angeles. The iXsystems marketing team drove down on Friday morning for the show. Traffic was pretty good, and we got to the Hilton in a reasonable amount of time.  After a few minutes to catch our breath, we attended UpSCALE, a quick-fire presentation that gave participants five minutes to speak on a subject alongside twenty projection slides. We heard from Amber Graner on how to go from “0 to Geek In 3 Years”. Jaisen Mathai gave a quick introduction about OpenPhoto, a really efficient and powerful tool to store and port photos. There were also interesting presentations from Todd Trichler of Oracle, Caryl Bigenho from OLPC, Rikki Endsley with “10 Ways to Anger Your Admin”, and of course, our own James Nixon gave a talk on FreeNAS.

On the first day, we got up early to set up our FreeBSD booth.  We had an impressive table of free swag. James set up speakers and rocked out with his live music.  Ben dropped by the OpenPhoto and OLPC booths to follow up on questions he had from UpSCALE.  Dru was also there personally handing out daemon horns. Very soon, everyone became a FreeBSD daemon including Tux, the Linux penguin. Before the day was over, we had given out all of our PC-BSD stickers, daemon horns, and FreeBSD stress balls. SCALE Tours brought a group of kids by our booth, and the PC-BSD coloring pamphlets we made in-house were well-received.

SCALE poker cards! Good times, good times...

A new event SCALE organized this year was a poker game that encouraged participants to visit all the booths. Playing cards containing answers were given to visitors who then had to match them with questions found at different participating booths. The goal was to create the best poker hand possible from completed cards.  Annie and I tried our best to collect and fill out cards. Along the way, we learned some cool trivia: IBM was responsible for the “Peace, Love, and Linux” ad campaign scandal in San Francisco, Coraid’s storage platform was used in the production of the film “Hoodwinked”, and the next input device Inkscape plans to support is the Wii guitar controller. At Game Night, the winners of the poker contest were announced. Unfortunately, the full house we managed to get was not the highest combination, but nevertheless it was still a fun experience.

The second day was more relaxing, so Annie and I attended some of the talks hosted on the second floor. We dropped in on “Pop Culture in OpenSource” by Ruth Suehle from OpenSource.com. She was a very enthusiastic speaker and did a wonderful job connecting various well-known pop culture icons such as Nine Inch Nails, Harry Potter, Disney, and Project Runway to explain the key principles of open source to a general audience. I learned that comic book Iron Man was actually using KDE 3.5 inside his battle suit. Talk about safe and secure!

Iron Man the movie, according to Ruth, is the classic example of classic prototyping: fast development of technology in a cave, enemy stealing technology and making a better model, and then main protagonist develops a final revision of prototype to beat enemy. Classic.

Overall, SCALE was exciting and fun. We met lots of BSD fans and made some new ones. It’s time to go back to headquarters and prepare for the next one!