Alex’ First Visit to LinuxFest Northwest

For those whom I have not had the pleasure to meet yet, my name is Alex Moses! I am a freshman studying Finance at the University of Washington Seattle campus. I began my internship with The Mifos Initiative a little over a month ago and they are already sending me off to conferences!

For the first weekend of May I traveled north to Bellingham, Washington for LinuxFest Northwest with a previous Mifos intern, Drew Fass. The event was graciously hosted by Bellingham Technical College and introduced me to an array of interesting and inspiring individuals.

Drew and I conducted a booth where we spread the social mission of Mifos and informed the attendees about the work of Mifos. The attendees of the conference asked insightful questions and were eager to grab our paperwork to learn more about the Initiative. Additionally, we met motivated individuals seeking to contribute to our mission through volunteering.

A great feature of LinuxFest are the classes held throughout the day. Almost every class I saw was filled to maximum capacity! The classes cover a wide range of topics and are held by expert speakers.

I wandered into a classroom Saturday afternoon with pen and paper ready to take detailed notes on the lecture. However, five minutes into the talk I noticed the writing materials were tucked under my left arm and I was using an application on my iPhone to take notes! It turns out that this action was very fitting for the class…

I had the pleasure of attending the class, “Cashless Society : A credible death threat to society”. The class was taught by the financial activist Skye Elijah. Elijah explained how the inevitable transformation to a cashless society has already begun. She spoke on the great movement in the financial technology sector towards digital and automated systems. A cashless society will increase mobility, stamp out black market activity, and make it unable to avoid taxation. A cashless society is in great interest for corporate, because it is extremely beneficial for them to have control and information over all transactions. However, all this information holds a threat to privacy. Censorship is an issue that a centralized cashless society is vulnerable to.

If you are interested in watching this session:

 

For our breaks, Drew and I were spoiled with the delicious cuisine of old town Bellingham (quite possibly the best chicken sandwich I have ever tasted). And as tradition we ate dinner Saturday night at the Teriyaki Bar, even equipped with a drive-thru!

Overall, LinuxFest Northwest is a great annual event that truly allows the amazing works of the local communities to be showcased. I would like to give a thank you to all the volunteers (mostly students) who sacrificed their weekend to help put on the event. This was our fourth straight year attending, and expect to see us again next year!

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