Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Travel

Life is full of opportuities and distractions. I'm finally getting back into the regular routine after two very full weeks of travel.

First to Baltimore for the Summer 2005 SEPP Conference. As usual, I was in the thick of it. Several presentations and discussion groups to manage. I attended others and contributed where meaningful. The theme of this conference was governance -- how will Sakai run itself in the future? People are starting to wake up to the fact that it's a community and that we all need to contribute to the best of our abilitities. The board will continue on as it current does, though some of the members will likely change. Beyond that is anyone's guess at this point.

I was home for 24 hours and then boarded a plane for Armenia. USAID invited me to organize and deliver a 3 day workshop on developing Sakai tools. The workshop was set up as lectures in the morning and hands on coding exercises in the afternoon. Forteen people worked through a series of exercises that culminated in a simple JSF-based tool to manage notes. In general, it was a success, though some things could be improved.

Armenia is a country at an interesting point in its history. Emerging from the Soviet influence and a terrible earthquake several years ago, the economy is starting to blossom. Tourism is up. Capital is starting to flow in. There are many construction projects in Yerevan (the capital city). People are busy, well-dressed, and seem happy. Wander outside of the city and you see a very different story, however. The country is very poor. There is no industry, only agriculture. While the land is fertile and there is water, I have to wonder how the properity of the city will be shared by the outlying villages.

We have meeting next week in Cambridge, an all-hands Sakai meeting. These meetings tend to be group status communication, high level coordination, etc. It's hard to get any real work done, but the breakout sessions allow for some of that. The Sakai Architecture Team (of which I am/was a member) is scheduled to meet, which is strange in a way. Charles Severance has largely disbanded this group in favor of a Sakai Developer's Meeting to be held at Yale next month. No doubt we will find things to talk about, but there is no real process, IHMO.

The Discussion Groups are getting active. The Enterprise Group had another call yesterday and seems to be moving ahead in figuring out how to integrate Sakai in enterprise environments. They have a lot of work ahead of them and it's good see some action. The Content DG needs to be revived. The previous leader stepped down. We have a new volunteer, but nothing has happened yet.

No travel planned for July so far. That's fine with me. I can use some home-time.

- Mark

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