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Archive for the 'Perl' Category

YAPC::NA 2014

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

It’s that time of the year again when I need to think about conferences.  This year I am hoping to attend YAPC::NA in Florida.  The deadline for talk submissions is February 15th – which seems earlier than previous years – and I have just submitted my talk proposal.  I wasn’t able to attend YAPC::EU last year and I’m not sure if I will make it this year.  But YAPC::EU takes place in Sofia towards the end of August and the talk submission deadline is the 1st July – so I have time to decide.

 

YAPC::Asia 2013

Monday, October 21st, 2013

There is a slogan at YAPC::Asia – “YAPC ain’t over until you blog about it” – and I have been meaning to blog about the conference since it ended on the 21st September.  I rarely have time to blog at a conference as I prefer to spend my time talking to people or listening to the talks.  I didn’t even bother to bring a laptop with me on the second day as having a computer is distracting. I do spend less time talking at YAPC::Asia as my Japanese still isn’t great and it can be hard for me to communicate with the majority of the attendees.  I did talk to a few people, but it was only a few compared with YAPC::NA where I spent most of the day speaking with people.

The main language of the conference is Japanese and this year there were only four talks given in English.  My Japanese does continue to improve but I still found it difficult to understand the Japanese talks I did go to hear and it was tiring because of the amount of concentration required.  I am slowly getting better at this.

Ricardo, Karen, Keith, Shawn, and lestrrat - picture taken by Yusuke Kushii

Ricardo, Karen, Keith, Shawn, and lestrrat – picture taken by Yusuke Kushii

YAPC::Asia was yet again a very well organised conference. I read on lestrrat’s blog that they had problems with registration on the opening evening but when I arrived on Friday morning this was running well.  I was later than I wanted to be, so the registration lines were short, but I was still on time to hear the opening keynote given by Ricardo Signes, who is the current Perl 5 Pumpking.  All the videos have been uploaded so you can watch Ricardo’s talk.

The conference moved to a different part of the city again this year.  It took me a while to get there but the Japanese train system is a wonderful thing and I decided that I would spend an hour or so getting to the venue rather than staying at a hotel in the area.  I really liked the venue.  All the talks were given on the same floor of the building, so the rooms were easy to find.  The main lecture hall was beautiful and had great acoustics.  There were some issues as the rooms were a little on the small side.  At times there was standing room only but it is always very difficult to work out which of your streams will have the most popular talk in any given time slot and for the most part this worked well.  The smaller rooms had desks and each desk had power built in.  Although I think that laptops are over used at conferences it was great that people could have power without the ridiculous strings of power blocks that are usually strewn all over the floors at conference venues.

The wifi was excellent and was run by a team of 12 people.  I’m always astounded by the number of people involved in a Japanese YAPC.  We tend to use much smaller groups of volunteers at the European and American conference.  But then YAPC::Asia is by far the biggest YAPC in the world, with other 1000 attendees this year,  and it does appear to run like clock-work.  I think that this year as well as the network team there were about 30 other volunteers involved.

The venue also contained food – as there was a convenience store, a coffee shop, and an English pub in the building – and was very close to the train station and lots of local restaurants.  I do prefer conference venues that are close to food.  It sounds really obvious but there have been quite a few times that I have ended up at a conference venue feeling hungry with no easy way to get food without having a car.

There were a couple of things that I liked that I think would be useful to have at the other YAPC conferences.  There was an official photographer at the event and it does mean that they end up with a set of good pictures of the speakers and the event.  I know that I would have found it useful for marketing purposes to have similar pictures taken at YAPC::NA.  The other thing that I liked was that the wifi information was posted in many places around the venue making it incredibly easy to find.  This was posted on the back of some of the chair and I think that it would be useful at other conference to post the wifi information like this and maybe also the schedule for the room.

I am never that keen on conference swag, probably because it just gives me more things to carry and I already try to carry too much stuff with me.  But I do think that the phone stand we were given will come in useful at some point.

YAPC::Asia Swag

Conference Swag at YAPC::Asia

I was sad to hear that the main organisers of the conference – @lestrrat and @941 – will no longer be running this conference.  They have been running the largest YAPC in the world for quite a few years now and we will miss them as they have done a fantastic job.  Hopefully a new team will come forward to continue their legacy.

Bear With Me

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

I have arrived back from America.  I’m jet lagged and my todo list is horrifying.  I really want to find time to write about YAPC::Asia, the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop, and the Perl community events that I attended but I need to tackle my email first.  I have been working on Perl Foundation (TPF) email related things for about 7 hours so far today and I still have 65 messages that need a response and 110 messages that I need to follow up on.  I have blog posts to write for TPF but there is something wrong with the blog and I will have to wait until that gets fixed.  I don’t want to think about the new email that I need to write in case my brain turns completely to mush.

At least today has been productive even if email is never-ending.

Talk Proposal

Thursday, September 19th, 2013

I have a love / hate relationship with public speaking.  I often think that it’s a great idea to speak at conferences but as the events approach my fear of public speaking kicks in, I feel overwhelmed, and can’t understand why I ever thought that speaking was a good idea.  My stage fright begins weeks before the event and it makes it very hard for me to rehearse my talks or to even think about them in advance. As I am aware I have this problem I usually complete all the required work on putting together a presentation months before the events start.  But I’ve messed up.

I’ve been trying to write a talk proposal for the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop for days now, but since the event takes place in about two weeks I feel anxious about a talk I haven’t written and that hasn’t even been accepted for the workshop!  I know I can get past these feelings but it’s difficult and I can surprise myself with the lengths I will go to avoid working on the talk, lengths that include writing blog posts instead of writing talks.

Perl Travel

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Next week I will be attending YAPC::Asia in Tokyo.  It’s going to be the biggest YAPC that’s ever been held with 1000 people attending.  When I tried to buy a ticket in August it was already sold out so I’ve bought a ticket off a friend so I can attend!  The conference is mostly going to be in Japanese but there will be a few talks in English and I’m looking forward to hearing Rik’s keynote.  My Japanese has improved in the past year but I will still find it difficult to understand the talks and it’s tiring concentrating on Japanese so I won’t be able to listen to a whole days worth of talks in the language.

I’ll be travelling to America towards the end of September and I’m hoping to catch up with Perl Mongers in New York, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City.  I am also hoping to speak at the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop so it would be useful if I actually managed to write a talk proposal for this…

In November I will be in Europe where I should manage to catch up with my friends at Birmingham.pm.  I’m not going to make it to the London Perl Workshop though as I had to fly back to Japan before that as I have a Japanese exam on the 1st December.

Missing YAPC::EU

Monday, August 12th, 2013

For the first time since I started attending YAPC::EU in 2001 I’m going to miss the yearly conference.  I’ve been watching the tweets and status updates of people arriving in Kyiv with mixed feelings.  It’s expensive getting from Japan to Europe.  I’ve been lucky that in previous years there have been family events in Europe around the same time as the conference making it easier to justify the expense.  But Ukraine is quite far from my family and not convenient to get to from Tokyo.

I’ve been living in Tokyo for nearly 7 years now and whilst I really enjoy YAPC::Asia it doesn’t feel like my home conference to me.  I imagine that’s because I see YAPC::EU as an opportunity to catch up with friends.  One of my friends called it “the family reunion” aspect of YAPC, which is incredibly important to the people who attend these conferences regularly.  This year I’ll read about the conference from a distance and miss my friends.

Enlightened Perl Organisation

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

I have just renewed my membership of the Enlightened Perl Organisation (EPO). The ordinary membership fee is £100.  The EPO is responsible for community initiatives such as Send a Newbie and has provided financial support to a number of projects including CPAN Testers and the QA Hackathon.  As a member I don’t have to do anything other than vote occasionally on how money should be spent.  It’s a lot less work than my involvement with other Perl organisations, and I do believe that all the projects it supports are worthwhile.

 

FOSS Outreach Program for Women

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

The Perl Foundation is going to be taking part in the next round of the Free and Open Source Outreach Program for Women.  I’m incredibly pleased about that.   They are starting with one intern, but hopefully the program can be expanded in the future.   And it started thanks to a tweet from Dave Cross.

 

YAPC::Asia 2012 – Tokyo

Saturday, October 6th, 2012

Last week I went to YAPC::Asia in Tokyo. One of the many good things about this conference is the amount of blogging that happens around it, but I have been finding it difficult to think of anything to write. This was the seventh YAPC::Asia that I have attended and the conferences have been incredibly consistent. Having a core group of people who are involved in the conference every year does mean that some things just work. The registration is efficient, the signs are wonderful, and the talk schedule runs like clockwork.

There were a number of things that I really liked. This conference, like the other YAPC conferences, is very cheap to attend. My “two day pass with t-shirt” cost me 5,000 円 (40 GBP, 64 USD). But it was also possible to become an individual sponsor of the conference by buying a ticket that started at 10,000 円 (79 GBP, 127 USD). I think that this is a great way to show support and help with the conference costs. These sponsors also received a special t-shirt and a conference mug.

YAPC::Asia Individual Sponsor T-shirt

The registration process was so well organised that having another category of people registering didn’t cause any problems.  Making everything look so easy has to be a combination of the experience of the organisers and also the fact that there were 43 people helping out with this conference.  I know that when I was involved in running a European conference that we maybe had 10 people volunteering during the event.  Mind you, this YAPC in Asia was a much bigger event with 798 attendees.

There was also a professional photographer at the event.  This means that there are now good quality photographs of all the speakers and of the general conference that are nice to have but can also be used in the creation of promotional material or to show future sponsors.

YAPC Day 1 - On Arrival at the Venue

It’s not the photographers fault that I was pulling silly faces early in the morning.

I do like that there are prizes for the top three talks.  I believe this year that the third prize was a set of books, the second prize was funding to attend three local Perl Monger events in Japan, and the first prize was funding to travel to either YAPC::NA or YAPC::EU.  The attendees of the conference use a web-based system to pick the best talks.

It was also the first time that I have seen a Lightning Talkathon.  My Japanese language skills are not good enough for me to have quite worked it out on my own.  I could see that a group of people were giving lightning talks but my first thought was that it was an area that allowed people to practice their talks before giving these before the entire conference.  It turned out to be a mini-conference running inside the main one where all the talks were lightning talks.  It was not as well attended as the main sessions but there were still a fair number of people involved and it is certainly an interesting concept.

Larry Wall was the opening keynote speaker, so I’ll finish with a quote from his talk:

There are many computer languages in the the world and they all they think they  are perfect.  With Perl 6 we are not trying to make it perfect, but right next to perfect, so the next generation can make it perfect. 

Larry Wall

Larry Wall, Day 2

YAPC Heatwave

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

There once was a Braga Perl man

In Frankfurt he thought of a plan

Because he was missing

Some good air conditioning

He tried to run off with the fan!

Alberto Simões