Since mid August I am living in Huntsville, Alabama as a part of Kosovo Youth Exchange Program.  I will be here till the school year ends. I am taking classes at Huntsville High School.

I was very lucky to come this year, Huntsville City  Schools which is in charge for all schools in Huntsville decided to switch to laptops for all it’s 23,000+ students. The laptops are HP and all of them run in Windows, knowing that Internet Explorer doesn’t work as good as other browsers, and the student were having problems with the textbooks etc in  the test phase. They decided to switch to Firefox, as a better and more stable alternative to Internet Explorer. Is a big thing for the Mozilla Community, to get 23k+ users at the same time in a single day, they update Firefox regularly and students didn’t have any problem so far.

Today I got a new 320GB HDD and right fresh installed Fedora 16 with GNOME 3.2 using the Live DVD. I have a Dell Vostro A180, it has 2GB of RAM. I used Fedora with Xfce before because was disappointed with GNOME 3.0 at the beginning for it’s low-speed but now got it deserved love back! :) It’s so fast and stable.

Thanks to FUDCon’s Planning Team I got sponsored for my first FUDCon ever in Milan, Italy including my flight and hotel room. I spent almost 5 unforgettable great days in the beautiful city of Milan from Thursday till Monday early morning.

I left Prishtina International Airport (PRN) in Thursday midday, had my parents sending me to the airport. I flew again with Austrian Airlines to Vienna International Airport (VIE). Unfortunately when I landed in the other part of the airport the boarding for my next flight started so I had to run from one corner of airport to the other to catch my flight and not having the possibility again to go to Starbucks like last year. I arrived at the Malpensa International Airport (MXP) around 17:00, went straight to the Train station located in Aiport which I had to wait my train about 40 minutes but I spent the time by grabbing some very delicious sandwiches nearby. The *express train* took around 40 minutes to get to Milan Centrale and the station itself was big, or at least for me. After that I had to take the subway which actually was my first time getting in subway and feeling that speed and wind with all those newspapers floating, like seen on TV :D. The station I got off was very near my hotel (UNA Hotel Mediterraneo) I was staying. I arrived at the hotel around 18:30 of all 7 hours where I met with Jared, Dennis Gilmore and Peter Robinson. That night I also met with Christoph Wickert whom just arrived that night at the check in. We later catched up with Jeroen van Meeuwen and his girlfriend Lydia and went for Dinner, I had a very delicious steak with an unknown sauce :)

The first night I had to sleep at Jared Smith’s room because room were booked from Friday to Sunday, a thing I didn’t know before Joerg Simon booking my flight. But there wasn’t any problem at all! I was a good boy *that* night.

Friday, was a free day without any schedule. Mee and Jared after we had breakfast we headed to the city centre for sightseeing, we visited Piazza del Duomo where while we were taking photos of the Duomo and buildings around a guy came and started to give corn and pidgins jumped in hour hands, they kept giving us corn for a minute or so and in the end they asked as for money :). After that we got inside of Duomo and I was amazed by it’s great architechture. It wasn’t enought for us so we decided that we should go in the top of Duomo but the classic way which was also cheaper but it was a long trip until we arrived on top because as geeks we are we had to make many stop en route :) The view was amazing, Milan is a great city. After we went down we met up with John McDonough and his daughter, we got to get a couple of mobile SIM’s and after that we went for some nice Italian coffee in front of the piazza. While we were sitting there Jared came with Gelato, and I also had to have some, it was my first one and I loved it. We had a short chat there then left because we got a sms from Dennis saying that more people came at the hotel and they are asking for Jared. After coming back I had the chance to meet the arrived community and had a long chat with everyone while waiting for my roommate Bert Desmet to check in our room. That night we went for Aperitivo which you have to pay a little extra for your drink but you get free food. I had many kind of drinks and foods which didn’t help me that much in something it happened to me later. After aperitivos we went for some beer (at last).

After having breakfast on Saturday morning we headed to the University of Milan for the FUDCon to start, everything started at 9:30 AM as planned with the welcome talk by Jared, our Fedora Project Leader. Then everyone proposed their talks in barcamp-style. I went to many talks including Jared’s talk on “You could be the next Fedora Project Leader”, Nicu’s workshop on Inkscape, Dennis’ talk on “How Fedora is built” etc. During lunch I had the chance to chat with other contributors that I didn’t meet before. The FUDPub in the evening was amazing, we went at Troppa Pizza where I had a lot, a lot of Pizza, different kinds but mostly Vegetarian :) I had also beer but switched later to Coke (I was a good boy that night). After pizza we went again to the bar we had beer in Friday but again I had just water :)

The next day started the same, more people came again and proposed their hackfest sessions or talks, I visited many of them but I joined the discussion at the Ambassadors one which I think it was a  productive session and there will be solved things coming up soon.

I had to leave the hotel at 4AM in the Monday morning so I booked a taxi before which was very expensive :), I departed Milan at around 7 am to Vienna then Vienna to Pristina, my grandfather with my father were waiting me at the airport. I got home safe and I continued school as always.

P.S. My laptop’s battery charger died during the trip to Milan, that’s the reason I couldn’t blog daily but I will try to make an general blog post here.

You can find my photo album here:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/gentthaqi2/sets/72157627832671204/ But you can find more photos online I guess which tell more :)


After nearly two months I finally managed to get the Fedora Media (330 DVD’s) from our customs in Kosovo together with a expensive fee of 330.00EUR in total which I am waiting to get reimbursed in cash at FUDCon Milan because we are not being able to transfer money internationally to Kosovo’s banks. The reason why it was stuck in the customs is that we declared the package value of 330EUR, we had to pay 27.6% + shipping cost + freight forwarder.

Lessons I learned from the shipping regarding to the customs are that never forget to add a name above the address, the customs will consider it as the owner, in our case it was in FLOSSK’s name and FLOSSK wasn’t a registered to import packages and that took us time until we found the solution. The other thing is that always try to put a very low value so you won’t have to pay a lot for it, in Kosovo every package above 22 EUR is obligated to pay taxes to customs, with that comes together the shipping price and the freight forwarder.

In a nutshell next time we should prepare 2 weeks before asking for shipment, in order to get it safe,fast and cheap.

Thanks a lot to Joerg,Christoph and Fedora Project.

 After sent by Christoph Wrickert a couple weeks ago it finally made it through many customs and I am very happy that finally I am going to have my Polo to wear in events I present Fedora Project, together with mine also Ardian Haxha got one. (both ambassadors from Kosovo). I will also have the chance to wear it at FUDCon Milan this year.

I am really excited because this is going to be my first FUDCon (Fedora Users and Developers Conference), thanks to FUDCon’s Planning Team I got full sponsorship for my airfare and hotel room. The conference starts on the 30th of September this year until 2nd of October, it gathers Fedora Users and Contributors from around the world. This is also going to be a great chance for me to meet other contributors I met online over mailing lists or irc and even meeting again with the guys I met at FOSDEM this spring.

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