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Video A Fun Slashdot 15th Anniversary Get-Together in St. Petersburg, FL (Video) 47

A lot of people in a lot of places celebrated Slashdot's 15th anniversary by getting together with other Slashdot readers in person. In the Tampa Bay part of Florida, a small and humble meeting was sponsored by an open source company called Fextel at their St. Petersburg HQ. The catering was excellent, and it was a fun group of 12 or so who showed up, about half of whom knew each other from the Suncoast Linux Users Group (SLUG). So we had good food and good people. What else did we need? Remote control helicopter battles, of course! In retrospect, we now believe remote helicopters crashing into each other should be required at any event with a Slashdot theme. We may may just be saying this because we live someplace where the NFL won't let us watch any home games, so we are more entertainment-deprived than most Americans. Then again, maybe helicopter wars are just plain cooler than watching football, and the USA should have fewer NFL games and more Slashdot-based parties.

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Slashdot: These are what longtime Slashdot users look like around here. Notice that nobody is wearing a tie. And yeah, somebody is actually playing a really old video game.

[Yum yum yum yum, food]

Slashdot: Who are you and why are you flying helicopters crazy?

Party Attendee My name is James Pearson and I fly helicopters to make it easier to help support users and deal with them without doing all the things I want to do to them.

Slashdot: Okay. And you work where?

Party Attendee I work for a company called VICIdial. My primary role here is Director of Hosting. It pretty much means, I do infrastructure as far as the actual hardware, server, datacenter infrastructure goes. I also deal with carriers; more specifically SIP carriers as far as placing phone calls from the internet. Yeah, one of the other things I do is, scaling of the software that one of my co-workers develops and writes.

Party Attendee: My name is [Matt] and I’ve been on Slashdot for a longtime. You can see by my shirts. I was at the 10th anniversary five years ago, which I believe we had at Harvey's 4th Street Grill here in St. Pete. Can see my nose hairs there? Yeah? Oh, back of the shirt, can’t forget the back of the shirt.

So, in the last five years, I have actually founded an open source call center, phone PBX software company, [Fextel], which is where we are having the party this year and we decided to cater it. And you can see there is nobody in this room, but the two of us and there are a whole bunch of people in the back avoiding the camera, because as soon as this camera came out, it’s like geeks are a lot like vampires in the sun, geeks and cameras; run, avoid the cameras.

[multiple speakers]

Party Attendee: Hi. My name is Dylan Hardison. I’m a software developer for a smallish company, about twenty people out of New York. We’re all telecommuters. I do Perl things. I do some other stuff too, but mostly Perl. We’re a Perl shop.

Personally, I have open source interest. I have a couple of patches in the Moose code based switches and object system for Perl, like a couple, I mean, like one, my boss and other coworkers maintain that. They’re pretty cool.

Locally, I am the President of the Suncoast Linux Users Group, which would be about half maybe of the people here are members of. I think, may be little less than half at the Slashdot 15 party in St. Pete.

I have been addicted to Slashdot since I got interested in computers. When I first read Slashdot, my opinion was, “Oh wow, that’s just for those Linux nerds,” and then the next year I was a Linux nerd. And I was like, “Oh wow, Slashdot, that’s interesting,” and then I was like, “There is too many Windows users on Slashdot.” That’s actually my progression of thought, because when I first read Slashdot, I said, “Wow, these Linux users are weird. They do things in the command line,” and I was one command line user I turned into, but I didn’t like apparently; funny how that happens.

So, when we arrived here, there was a man that was flying, James, I believe, is his name, he works here, and he was flying a helicopter and we pulled in the parking lot and I found a helicopter, a QuadCopter and I was like, “Wow, this must be the place.”

Party Attendee: I’m [Probo]. I’ve been on the internet since 1983 and Slashdot since 2000. It’s kept me up to date on all the whacky things going on in hardware and software and on the people who bake hardware and software. It has been very interesting.

Slashdot: Do you have a user ID?

Party Attendee: I have got a couple that I’ve forgotten and a couple that I have now. But, yeah, I’ve been on there at various forums since 2000 and the first time I was on there was with a university dial-up connection going through links to decrease my bandwidth and to decrease the costs since the university lets you on for a much lower cost.

Slashdot: What university?

Party Attendee: That was UCLA and then followed by UC San Diego, when I was there as a fellow. So, it was fun.

Slashdot: And you are where now?

Party Attendee: I’m here in Tampa now.

Slashdot: What kind of work you do?

Party Attendee: I work in electrical engineering, medical and surgical type of stuff, and consulting. So, fun things, hardware mostly.

Slashdot: How does Slashdot help you in your job? Or does it?

Party Attendee: I’m not sure it helps me in my job, but it keeps me up-to-date with what’s been going on in hardware. I’m not a software guy who sits at the computer all day, so I can’t check the site all day. I’m more of a hardware guy, so I tend to check it two or three times a week. And so, I’m the kind of guy who has to hit the back button and see what’s happened in the last two or three days because I’ll miss a story otherwise. Every now and then, there is probably even a gap of two or three weeks when I get caught up at work and I don’t see Slashdot for a while, so then I miss the amazing stories.

Slashdot: Okay. What should we do in the next 15 years?

Party Attendee: Well, you probably need more crossover topics and somehow get more people who are really interested in tech back on there. The last couple of days, the really good software and hardware stuff, the story is about building new processors that Watson talked about. The stuff about the Arduino. They had 20 or 30 posters on it after 24 or 30 hours. And a lot of the political stuff sometimes gets hundreds, but I want to see more of the tech. I mean, that was what got me really excited in 2000, was to see stuff about different CPU architectures, different parallel processing architectures, the hardware specifically. And I’m seeing that. You see a little bit of the excitement, but I’m not seeing a concentration of that. So, I don’t know if it’s because there is more of a general population that sees it or the people who are interested in that aren’t there as often. But I’d like to see more of a concentration on that.

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A Fun Slashdot 15th Anniversary Get-Together in St. Petersburg, FL (Video)

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