FUDCon:Bid for Olin 2012
Proposed: January 21-23, 2012 (Sat-Mon)
Olin residence halls open Sunday January 22 at 5pm, and classes begin on Tuesday January 24, so a Saturday-Sunday-Monday FUDCon would give us full use of facilities, overlap with the energy of the local student community, and be reasonable for the schedules of people traveling from out of town.
One format to consider might be doing a slight shuffle of the past FUDCon order.
Saturday: Unconference Sunday: Hackfests Monday: Half-day hackfests, half-day unconference track (to present hackfest work, etc).
This would allow area students to more easily participate in both the hackfests and unconference portions, and let people who need to leave early / arrive late to see both parts of FUDCon.
Needham is a suburban town almost directly west of Boston, accessible via bus, commuter rail, and the MBTA green line trolley. For more about Needham, see the wikipedia page.
The City of Boston hosts over 12 million annual visitors from across the country and around the globe. This vibrant, thriving city is renowned for its cultural facilities, world-class educational institutions, champion sports franchises, as well as its place at the very forefront of American history. Tourism is one of New England's largest industries; as the region's social and commercial "hub", Boston is willing to accommodate and entertain you as few other cities can. --City of Boston official visitors' site
Boston is the capital of and largest city in Massachusetts, and is one of the oldest cities in the United States. The largest city in New England, Boston is regarded as the unofficial "Capital of New England" for its economic and cultural impact on the entire New England region.
The city has a number of ornate theatres, including the Cutler Majestic Theatre, Boston Opera House, Citi Performing Arts Center, the Colonial Theater, and the Orpheum Theatre. Renowned performing-arts organizations include the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Ballet, Boston Early Music Festival, Boston Lyric Opera Company, OperaBoston, and the Handel and Haydn Society (one of the oldest choral companies in the United States). The city is also a major center for contemporary classical music, with a number of performing groups, some of which are associated with the city's conservatories and universities. There are also many major annual events such as First Night, which occurs on New Year's Eve, the annual Boston Arts Festival at Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park, Italian summer feasts in the North End honoring Catholic saints, and several events during the Fourth of July period. These events include the week-long Harborfest festivities and a Boston Pops concert accompanied by fireworks on the banks of the Charles River.
Because of the city's prominent role in the American Revolution, several historic sites relating to that period are preserved as part of the Boston National Historical Park. Many are found along the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a red line of bricks embedded in the ground. The city is also home to several prominent art museums, including the Museum of Fine Arts and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. In December 2006, the Institute of Contemporary Art moved from its Back Bay location to a new contemporary building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro located in the Seaport District. The University of Massachusetts campus at Columbia Point houses the John F. Kennedy Library. The Boston Athenaeum (one of the oldest independent libraries in the United States), Boston Children's Museum, Bull & Finch Pub (whose building is known from the television show Cheers), Museum of Science, and the New England Aquarium are within the city.
Major Local Airports
Boston Logan International Airport (Airport Code: BOS) is the major airport servicing the greater Boston area.
The following airlines have flights going in / coming out of Logan. For a more complete list of regional airlines, please see Wikipedia. Note that international arrivals generally happen at Terminal E, whereas international departures may also occur from other Terminals (for example, a flight from Boston to London marketed by Air France might depart from Terminal A instead of Terminal E, if it is operated by Delta Air Lines).
- Terminal A:
- Alaska Airlines
- Continental Airlines
- Delta Air Lines
- Terminal B
- Air Canada
- American Airlines
- Frontier Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
- US Airways
- Virgin America
- Terminal C
- AirTran Airways
- JetBlue Airways
- United Airlines
- Terminal E
- Air France
- British Airways
- Porter Airlines
- SATA International
- Southwest Airlines
- Swiss International Air Lines
- Virgin Atlantic Airways
Transit to/from airport
We are investigating the cost for setting up an hourly airport shuttle to/from Logan and the Olin campus. The student government at Olin was able to do this for $10 per passenger at a loss of only a few hundred dollars overall, running shuttles to/from campus on the hour for multiple days in a row.
For those staying with friends in the city, Logan is readily accessible via the Blue and Silver lines of the MBTA (Boston's metro rail).
- Silver Line connects to the Red Line, which goes to Alewife Station (at which point a shuttle to the hotel would be arranged by organizers and the hotel; there is an existing hotel shuttle running to/from this station).
- Blue line connects to the Green Line, the D line of which runs to the stop closest to Olin.
Local Mass Transit
Boston is served by the Metro Boston Transit Authority (MBTA) and also has local bus lines.
Needham is somewhat less accessible via public transit. The two best options are:
- Commuter Rail to Needham Center (2 miles from campus, easy to arrange rides to/from)
- MBTA Green D line to Eliot; a taxi is $20 (including tip) from this point. This would also be a convenient shuttle ride for organizers to set up, as the drive to campus is 15 minutes or less.
A single ride on the subway is $2. A one-day pass is $9; a one-week pass is $15.
Organizers can purchase and put MBTA passes into the attendee packs for pre-registrants ahead of time, if desired and if budget allows.
More available at http://www.yelp.com/c/needham-ma/restaurants - there are more excellent restaurants around within driving distance, including many with vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and other dietary options. Ask Mel Chua for more opinions on food; she lived in/near Needham for about 7 years.
Sit-down Restaurants (aka, Finer Dining)
- Sweet Basil (Italian, $$)
- Masala Art (Indian, $$)
- Not Your Average Joe's (contemporary American, $$)
- Stone Hearth Pizza (Upscale pizza, $)
- Lemon Thai (Thai, $)
- Friendly's (American diner, $)
- McDonald's (self-explanatory, $)
- Domino's (pizza, $)
- White Mountain Creamery (ice cream, $ - but yes, January in Boston...)
- Aloft Lexington: $99 per night (no breakfast, but breakfast is available for purchase)
- Element Lexington: $119 per night (with breakfast)
Sebastian is in negotiations with the hotel. We're looking into getting their meeting rooms as hospitality suites, too. Mel and Sebastian are willing to confirm the awesomeness of both hotels.
Estimated Hotel Costs
Transit to/from FUDCon
Need to look into setting up a hotel-Olin shuttle bus. Transit time between location is approximately 30 minutes in moderate traffic. Here are some options we are looking into.
Black Tie Limo- 1800-624-9990 www.blacktielimo.com Largest and most diverse fleets in Boston area From Limousines to 55 passenger Coaches Call for pricing Corporate Limousine- 1 617-864-4801 www.corplimousine.com Limousines to 14 passenger vans Call for pricing Local Motion of Boston – 781-535-6344 From 10 Passenger Bus to 55 Passenger Motor Coach Call for pricing Boston Common Coach – 617-723-3833 13 Passenger Vans, 47 & 55 Passenger Coaches Luxury Coaches; adjustable foot rests, Reclining Seats, DVD & Monitor Call for pricing Boston Chauffeur – 866-570-5466 Info@bostonchauffeur.com Mercedes and Hybrid Sedans Escalade and Hummer Limousines 14 – 55 Passenger Shuttle/ Coaches Call for pricing Harrison Transportation – 781-863-2626 Taxi Services Sedan and Town Car Ford Fusion Hybrids (less $$ than sedan or town car) Limo and SUV Services Executive Van 10 – 14 passenger Prestige Transportation – 617-816-8509 Full range of transportation services The Coach Transportation www.thecoachtransportation.com Logan/ Lexington Fare: $72 One Way, $144 Round Trip Prices include tolls, taxes, and gratuity. Hourly: $50/hr Minimum 3hrs, does not include tax or gratuity
Transit to/from Boston
For FUDPub and other social events in Boston, there is a shuttle from the hotel to Alewife (a major stop on the MBTA red line). Ride time estimate is 15 minutes.
Room Capacities and Configuration
Two meeting rooms, one per hotel (the two hotels are separated by a courtyard; it's about a 15-second walk between buildings). Each meeting room has large whiteboards, wireless internet, and a huge table with chairs around it; the setup is for approximately 20 people per room by default, but more chairs can be added if needed. These would make great hack rooms and/or board meeting spots.
Free high-speed wireless internet with multiple access points on each floor. Good, strong connections throughout building; tested on multiple visits.
Alternate Venues for Meeting (not in a hotel)
Olin has classrooms and meeting rooms. We'll be getting some classrooms as part of the space, and these work well for meetings too. There are smaller hallway nooks and areas on campus where small student teams traditionally hold meetings; we can map these out and mark them so that FUDCon attendees can take better advantage of the space.
Parking at Olin is ample and free.
Room Spaces and Costs
For a photo of the building we'd be in, click here.
We're currently looking at getting an entire floor of the Academic Center building, which would give us access to 5 session rooms, each with:
- multimedia projector and drop-down screen
- moveable tables and chairs
- ample power strips around and throughout the classroom floor (in many cases, built into the desks)
In addition to this, we would get the auditorium (capacity ~300) for session pitching and the State of Fedora address, plus access to the dining hall and hallway spaces for lounging and eating.
The buildings are unlocked during the day, and students have 24/7 card access, so admission to the building should not be a problem.
Remember, this was a campus designed in 1997 (construction was completed in 2003) for 300-600 engineering students and faculty. Things like "access to electricity and internet" were high-priority.
Olin has a guest network. High-speed wifi is available throughout the entire campus and supports 300+ students and 40+ faculty who use laptops and connectivity extensively; we're fairly confident that 300 Fedora hackers can't possibly use any more of the network than 300 Olin students could. Sebastian has discussed this with Olin's IT department and confirmed that network resources will be sufficient, and that access can be set up well ahead of time for guests.
Food and Catering
See #Local Restaurants - most if not all of them also do catering.
Check with Mo where FUDCon Boston shirts have formerly been printed.
Transportation to Event
Flight estimates from kayak.com. February 2011 has been checked since flights in Jan 2012 are not available yet, but cost should be comparable.
Costs from RDU (Raleigh, NC)
- Friday, February 18 - Monday, February 21 = $109 as of 1/18
Costs from ORD (Chicago, IL)
- Friday, February 18 - Monday, February 21 = $179 as of 1/18
Costs from LAX (Los Angeles, CA)
- Friday, February 18 - Monday, February 21 = $289 as of 1/18
Costs from JFK (New York, NY)
- Friday, February 18 - Monday, February 21 = $99 as of 1/18
Or take a Chinatown bus for $15-30 each way. Some buses (Bolt Bus, etc) have wifi.
Costs from LHR (London, UK)
- Friday, February 18 - Monday, February 21 = $555 (one layover) or $652 (nonstop) as of 1/18
Flat Top Johnny's
Flat Top Johnny's is the Cambridge joint, where we had the last Boston FUDPub. Easily accessible via shuttle + subway from the proposed hotel locations.
You can see FUDPub at Flat Top Johnny's in a number of photos taken by Mo Duffy of FUDCon F11 in January 2009:
- The Fedora gang symbol. And pool tables.
- The effects of a little too much Fedora...
- Fedora-themed pool!
- Setting up a shot.
- Ooo, fancy!
- ...and taking one. Here's another! Notice happy people in the background! So many pool tables!
- I have no idea what these people are doing.
- Fedora goggles.
- Live long and prosper!
Bring FUDPub to the hotel
Alternatively, we've talked with the hotel about hosting FUDPub at the hotel - there's a funky/hip lobby space that's used for parties with outside vendors bringing in entertainment (arcade/video games, carnival food, etc) that would be quite appropriate, and a bar. If the bid is successful, we'll contact vendors to do a cost comparison between the two and see which one wins out.
Thinking of bringing your family to Boston? There are tons of activities to do.
- Boston Children's Museum
- Boston Museum of Science
- MIT Museum
- Duck Boats - a tourist attraction where boat/car hybrids take audiences on a guided tour with humorous commentary, traveling over land and cruising down the Charles river.
- Harvard Square - aside from the school it's named for, Harvard Square has many quirky little shops (including travel shops, curio shops, and a tea shop) and restaurants.
- Massachusetts Avenue - a great walk between MIT and Harvard with tons of coffeeshops, book shops, independent restaurants, and street musicians along the way.
- Boston Common - a central public park in the middle of the city and a famous landmark.
- Shopping - Lots of unique and geeky stores here, from the MIT Press Bookstore to MicroCenter and You-Do-It Electronics. (Others who shop for less geeky things may wan to list them here as well.)
Out of Town
- New Hampshire - White Mountains
- Skiing (MBTA-accessible, including one right next to the Westford Red Hat office)
About the Organizers - Previous FUDCon Experience, etc.
Primary owner: Sebastian Dziallas (student at Olin College). Sebastian has organized open source events before (LinuxCon Education Mini-Summit). He attended FUDCon Berlin 2009, Toronto 2009, and Tempe 2011, and has spoken and represented Fedora at LinuxTag 2009 and 2010 and LinuxCon 2010, among other events. He now handles all event organization and logistics for the Teaching Open Source community; if you think wrangling open source events is tough, try coordinating multiple professors going to multiple academic conferences with multi-stage submission deadlines up to a year in advance of the actual event.
- Mel Chua (alumni of Olin College, current Red Hat employee in Raleigh NC) - Mel has organized an open source event at Olin before (OLPC Game Jam, June 2007) and was one of the organizers of the Toronto FUDCon in December 2009. She also attended the Boston FUDCon in January 2009 and the Tempe FUDCon in January 2011. Mel not only co-wrote the "how to organize a FUDCon" documentation, she organized the FAD at which that document was written. She spent 7 years living either in Needham while going regularly to Boston or in Boston while going regularly to Needham, and knows all the transit tricks and places for excellent cheap food.
There have not been formal deadlines set by any of the parties we've explored contracting with. However, we'd suggest the following:
- Nailing down campus logistics and room access agreements before May 13, when the current Olin school year ends.
- Nailing down financial logistics with Olin before the start of June, which is when their fiscal year rolls over.
- Having hotels, transit, and FUDCon scheduled no later than September 15 (but preferably in May or June as well).
We have good connections with multiple professors and academic institutions in the area (RIT, Western New England, Worcester State, U of New Hampshire, etc) within road-tripping distance, and will be working extensively with them - hopefully within Fedora - during the 2011-2012 school year. FUDCon would be an amazing mid-way nucleation point for all these groups and bring a new surge of energy into the Fedora community by having a group of well-trained and skilfully-guided not-quite-new-but-still-excited contributors around, and if we know this in advance of the school year we can work towards FUDCon as a milestone for these students throughout the spring semester, potentially having them help organize some aspects of it.
This is something I've felt we haven't taken much advantage of in the past, even if the vast majority of FUDCons have been hosted by educational institutions. These student groups can:
- Cover the event (photos, articles, liveblogging, interviewing developers, taking session notes etc - don't underestimate this as a way of documenting an event while involving new contributors in a very doable way!)
- Present their work - I'm thinking of asking students from one school to coordinate an informal poster session so we can line the hallways with Awesome Fedora Stuff.
- Help with local promotion and logistics. "You folks... you're in charge of figuring out lunch on Saturday - your budget is $X, go!" "You are in charge of making sure all sessions are transcribed - here are some suggestions, here are your resources, have at it."
- Serve as staffers for the #Firsttimer festivities helpdesk for walk-ins who may be new to FOSS and Fedora.
If FUDCon is at this location, this stuff will all be happening anyway as a result of the work I and many other Fedora contributors are doing with the http://teachingopensource.org community. --Mel Chua
Coming to your first FOSS event can be an overwhelming thing, especially when you walk in and it feel like everyone knows everyone else and you don't know anybody - or any of the social norms, or really what to do.
- A staffed "helpdesk" for newcomers throughout the event
- A roster of "event mentors" - people who've come to FUDCon before and are willing to be matched with a few first-time attendees over lunch, etc to field questions (helpdesk can help pair)
- Scheduled tours-of-FUDCon orienting people to cultural norms, processes, etc. and coaching them on how to participate, for the slightly shy who need a bit more help just jumping in.
- An optional "it's my first time" sticker new folks can wear, to alert others that they might need some encouragement
I'm volunteering to coordinate this. --Mel Chua
Pros and Cons of Proposed Location
- Engineers from the Westford office are close to this location, saving on travel costs. Mel Chua 18:08, 18 January 2011 (UTC)
- Suburbia means less distractions for the folks who make it in - sometimes I've felt like it's too easy for people to just walk in and out of a hackfest. Mel Chua 22:10, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
- I know, I know, Boston is cold in the winter. Mel Chua 22:10, 8 April 2011 (UTC)
- Public transit access isn't the best, which means folks will have to arrange rides and such ahead of time.