It will also be the first time doing some other things, as sleeping away from my son (now he is 3 years old and he will spend these days with his grandparents), or giving a public talk in English (well it will be only 5 minutes but in 5 minutes many mistakes can be done!).
I have prepared my tiny speech using some slides made with LaTeX Beamer package (I will upload them here soon) and I have trained a little bit recording my voice with Rehearsal Assistant (which is free software for Android, available in F-Droid of course!).
Many people helped me to write the article (which will be available soon too). Gregorio Robles helped me a lot with his advice and review, and completing some knowledge gaps that I had. He had a lot of patiente reading and answering my long emails with lots of maybe stupid questions. He set up the framework for delivering the paper as much “open, reproducibility research” as possible, which is always the intention of Libresoft people and I also support that style of work (in other post I will talk about the OER -Open Educative Resources– “mini-crusade” that I am planning to work on).
But many other people helped me too, directly or indirectly. I remember when I started the MSWL subject about “Communities” last year, when I said to the teachers Daniel Izquierdo and Felipe Ortega: this subject’s name should be “Data mining about Communities”, but if it had been like that, I wouldn’t have chosen it! I think it was the harder subject for me to pass, but at the end I looked back and saw that I had learned very much: a bit of statistics, a bit of R and refreshed my SQL skills, a bit about data visualization, and a bit of how the free software communities are, based on empirical facts, not on opinions or vaguely ideas. I felt like when you play Mario Bros. and eat the mushroom, getting bigger and with “extra power”, with the difference that in Mario Bros. that situation is temporary and in my case that knowlege and power (big or small) will stay with me for the rest of my life (well I’m sure that from time to time I will need training for not forgetting and recycling but that is small detail). In addition to this, we had the opportunity to meet two guest teachers (and researchers): Daniel Germán, from University of Victoria in Canada, and Andrea Capiluppi, from University of East London in UK (he will also attend to MSR conference, to present his paper “Developing an H-Index for OSS Developers“). From both of them I perceived the same as from all the LibreSoft teachers, researchers and sysadmins: that they really love the work that they do, and they explain it with passion, having also good teaching skills.
Before than that, it was also last year when I attended to MSWL Case Studies I subject, and Israel Herraiz came to give us a talk about “how to write research papers”. Unfortunately I could not attend that class (I arrived very very late so I stayed the last 15 minutes outside, looking at the slides from the small window in the door, and trying to hear something!). I heard something about the MSR Mining Challenge, he said it was an opportunity to try to write our first research paper. That year MSR Conference was in Hawaii and I thought: “This man is crazy, we are suffering here to write small student reports in English, with references taken from Wikipedia (with all my respect to Wikipedia), and struggling to have some free time from job, family etc for attending a class 4 hours a week, and he is suggesting us to write a scientific, research paper, and travel to Honolulu!” But I was listening from outside the class and I had already lost most of the talk so I said nothing and waited for the video of the class to be uploaded to the Blip tv MSWL channel. Unfortunately, they had some problems with the video recording and I definitely lost that lesson 😦
This year Israel Herraiz came again to give that talk to the new students. I already passed that subject but I thought I could try to come to that class to listen and learn something. However, it was the last class of the year, and it was scheduled the same day I was travelling to visit my family for Christmas. I prayed that this time the video recording went well and it went well, so I could watch and download the class at least. And my expectations were fulfilled: it was great! I learned very much from that talk, it really worths waching it. After watching the talk and thinking a little bit about it, and watching it again, and thinking that I already studied many subject in my Master and passed them, and supposedly I had the required tools to try to write my first research paper, I decided to accept the MSR Mining Challenge this year, which dataset was the Android source code and issue tracker history, and mine them a bit to learn how localization is done (and then, completing some work I was going to do anyway for my Master Thesis about translations in libre software).
And here we are… I will tell you about my adventures in MSR Conf. From time to time these days I think I should be 100% concentrated on my Master Thesis (which I expect to deliver before June 15th) but I didn’t want to go to Zurich without explaining my feelings about it and thank all the people that helped me and supported me in this great experience (including the people that I didn’t mention here!).
And if you are thinking about trying the “research path” or test yourself writing a research paper for once in a lifetime, I encourage you to do it, it is a hard work for some months but it really worths it.