December 7, 2022

For me, the road to EuroBSDcon Vienna started in July of 2022, when I started quizzing board
members for details on the conference location and shopping around for rental equipment with
the help of the other stream team member. While the details on the conference space were
scarce, I kept at it, quizzing mailing lists and web-sleuthing my way to contacts at the Technical
University of Vienna. I was very excited to see everyone in person again and it was well worth
the effort.

Dev Summit: Rental gear and streaming service setup
The first day I landed I met a few conference speakers in the hotel lobby, dropped my things
off, and ran to meet the rental equipment company representative I had been working with
remotely thus far. We reviewed the equipment list and walked through the layout of the gear
and played with the Blackmagic Windows client for tweaking the streaming units. With the BM
client and some research into the technical details on tweaking an XML file to add your own
streaming server, I got to work prepping for using the equipment we had arranged to rent.
I spent my first full day in Vienna further reviewing the BlackMagic software, finalizing the
rental equipment list (that ran three single spaced pages!) and other prep work. I also created
the “hold music” pre-stream video, complete with a nice rendition of “The Blue Danube” and
did some more tweaking of the ScaleEngine setup to get us ready for our first streams the next
day. Using the rental equipment on these smaller dev room would be overkill so I relied on the
“streaming-system-in-a-backpack” collection of gear I have been building while streaming
NYC*Bug meetings over the years. Little did I know at that time that this collection of HDMI
adapters and laptops would be a cornerstone of the EuroBSDcon streaming and recording

FreeBSD / NetBSD Summit: Day 2 streaming
FreeBSD Dev Summit and NetBSD Summits were streamed with the equipment I brought with
me. I like to use these summits to test the streaming links and streaming servers as a whole.
They all worked well, and I was glad to stream both FreeBSD and NetBSD Summit community

Setting it all up for the main show:
Friday evening after I streamed the FreeBSD and NetBSD summit events, I was given the room
assignments for the presentations. Next, the EuroBSDcon board members and I transported 2
carloads of rental gear into the University and I started the process of putting together the
three rental streaming systems for the presentation rooms. That evening, surrounded by
countless road-cases, I had two unexpected and unpleasant surprises. First, I got a call from the
only other member of the stream team informing me he would NOT be coming to Vienna to
help with setup or streaming the conference; and second, that the captive portal we were
working with over WiFi was also being used for Ethernet throughout the conference talk
spaces. So, my prep work for streaming from the rental BlackMagic devices went out the
window. I was not going to be able to stream a single word of the conference with the current
setup plans. I had 12 hours to figure out how to get all this gear to stream via a different route
and with the last minute cancellation, I was doing it alone. Or so I thought.

My wife always gives me the best advice and this instance was no exception. Her advice was
simple and very effective. “This is a community, ask for help.”

I knew the BlackMagic streaming equipment could be used as a webcam via OBS, so I went that
route of least resistance. Only problem was that solution would need three total Windows
laptops, and I only had 2! I turned to Kristof with a far-out request: “I need a windows laptop to
use for streaming and I need it tonight”. Sure enough, dch came through. I got a message that
he was “doing a final backup of my laptop and you can nuke it!” I was never so happy to hear
his familiar Kiwi accent as he called for drop-off. That FreeBSD laptop plus a trusty Ventoy
thumbdrive with a Win10.iso and I was away! (Thank you Kristof, dch, &
I opened up Threema where I had been monitoring the pre-conference excited chitchat and
every request I made was answered. Help carrying gear to each of the rooms; done! Random
bits of gear that would make it all work, provided! Food to keep me from collapsing, procured!
The community came together to help me out of a jam and I could not be more grateful. One
conference speaker even left a social gathering, bringing both his friend and his girlfriend, and I
had the delight of explaining that the gear he was helping me load was going to be used to
stream his talk in 12 hours’ time. With their assistance setting up the hardware and cables in
the talk rooms I was able to babysit a fresh windows install, then piece together three working
streaming systems with recording; both locally and over at I had to cobble it
all together using the gear I had carried in with me, the rental gear and the borrowed pieces
bridging the gaps. Once I got the first room confirmed streaming, I knew we would be OK.
There were a few more surprises, such as some of the cameras were set up in German,
natürlich, but I got a working system out of it and by 3:30am-ish I had three rooms ready to go
for the next morning.

I ran back to the hotel, requested a 7am wakeup call, and sent off an update email to board@
and hit the sack. After a quick but very refreshing rest and a hotel breakfast, I was back at it.

The Main Show:
When I spoke to the facilities people at the University, I was told we would have an AV engineer
on hand during the conference to provide a XLR feed for our streaming system in the big room
of track 1. But that did not happen and so we were left scrambling for a backup audio feed. The
answer came in the form of a RCA cable from John Baldwin and Manuel Wiesinger. Much
appreciated. Michael Dexter took time from prepping his very informative talk to organize
volunteers to help run the streaming stations, and I would like to take a minute to thank him
and the volunteers: Roller Angel, Michael David Ketchen, and Micha Peters of
OpenBSD.Amsterdam fame. I think we can all guess why Micha requested to help with the
OpenBSD talks!

Many have covered the splendid diner at the Vienna’s Rathaus in previous reports. I thoroughly
enjoyed the group walk over where we listened to all the familiar voices of conference
members only heard via Zoom calls over the last two years.

The second day of the conference was a bit of a blur after all the setup, and before I knew it, it
was time for the closing session and the announcement of next year’s location. Portugal! As I
started to pack up I heard my name called and looked up to see @FiLis of #RUNBSD fame with a
crowd behind him asking what needed to go in road-cases. What took me all night to setup on
Friday was packed away and ready to go in under an hour. The three pages of gear went back to
the rental company the next morning thanks to dch and the EuroBSDcon board, just before I
left to catch my plane home.

My Thank You list:
Pizza, volunteered and delivered: Paul de Weerd
Late night gaffer tape drop-off: Yan Ka Chiu
Loan of a better webcam for streaming, volunteer wrangling: Michael Dexter
Loading gear into road-cases in the last hour before catching his train: @FiLis and friends.
Vienna general knowledge and last minute late night tape run: Albert Dengg
ScaleEngine setup and streaming advice and IRC commiserator: Andrew Fengler