Back from Montreal

This trip to Montreal went much better than I expected, even tough it did not started on the right track. I tried to use the web check-in system from Air Canada and I could not figure out why it did not work. Then, I had some things to do before leaving home and I arrived late to the airport. I got there 35 minutes before my flight. I tried to use the automated check-in counter but it did not work either. After a while, a person from Air Canada told me I had to do the manual check-in. I waited in line and when I arrived to the counter there were 25 minutes before my flight and the person in the counter told me that I could not flight because I was too late (at that time I missed West Jet, their personnel always try to help you instead of making it hard for you). Well, I paid the CAD $ 150 for the change and went through security. After security I noticed that they were calling for the general boarding of the flight I was supposed to take. I waited patiently and ask one of the persons at the Air Canada counter whether the flight was full and she told me that it was not. I ask her whether I could take the flight and told her what happened to which she simply replied that it is Air Canada policy, I have to check-in at least 30 minutes before the flight or they simply do no let me flight. I guess there is only room for only one Airline like WestJet in Canada where the passengers are priority number 1.

Anyway, I arrived in Montreal and went to the Residences of the University of Montreal where I was going to stay. Everything was ok with the room. On Sunday morning, I went to the conference venue and attended several talks: the opening talk by Prof. Zadeh, the father of Fuzzy Logic, a talk by my previous supervisor, Prof. Pedrycz, a world-expert on Granular Computing, and some others. At noon I had a chance of having lunch from a couple of representatives from Decyde Inc., they are using fuzzy rules based system for automating the decision-making process in different areas.

During the afternoon, I attended a second plenary talk and I was surprised to know that my paper was selected as one of the top-five students papers. So I was invited to the banquet to receive my award (a nice certificate and a US$ 100 check). Later that afternoon, I gave my talk and it was well received. I had lots of questions and people wanted to continue commenting and discussing our approach 😉
In the evening, I went to the Ubuntu release party at the Cafe L'Utopik. I met really nice people, several employees from Canonical (the organization behind Ubuntu) and Fabian Rodriguez from FACIL (a group that promotes Free Software in Quebec). Fabian invited me to visit the FACIL headquarters and I agreed with that. Unfortunately, I had to leave early because I had to attend the banquet (remember, to get my US$ 100 cheque 😉 ).

I went to the banquet and sit with a Prof. from Regina and one from the Canadian East Coast. The dinner was great and the company was too.

After the banquet, I went back to the residence to rest and prepare for Monday. Monday morning, I went to the conference again, attended a couple of talks and then I went to meet with the Venezuelan General Consul. We talked about Free Software and what we are doing in Venezuela to promote it. The General Consul is a person really committed to help Free Software becoming part of Venezuela's reality. His radio station is the one you can see in the video Free Software: Venezuelan Chapter that I promoted some time ago. After meeting with the General Consul, I had a meeting with one of the Consuls and I had lunch with him. These guys at the Venezuelan Consulate really understand Free Software and the social implications of it.

After my meetings at the Venezuelan Consulate, I went back to the conference venue. There, I attended a couple of talks and later I went to meet with the people of FACIL. I had a wonderful time thanks to Marc Angles and Fabian Rodriguez. They did a small interview in which I explained what is happening in Venezuela with the discussions for the new Free Software Bill.

Fabian gave me a ride back to the residence around midnight.

On Tuesday morning, I came back to Edmonton. I arrived in the Afternoon. And I have been spending most of the time trying to find accommodations in Europe where we go this weekend. Wish me luck!


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