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Archive for the 'YE2008' Category

YAPC Signs

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

One thing that often gets neglected at YAPC conferences are signs showing the attendees where the venue is and where the relevant rooms are inside the venue.  This year at YAPC::Asia they had the best signs I have ever seen at any conference.  They were placed at the entrance of the university and in front of each building that was being used.  They were large, full colour, professionally printed, and contained a map of the venue and the conference schedule.

Signs used in YAPC::Asia 2008

Signs used in YAPC::Asia 2008

(Image copyright HisashiToday)

At YAPC::Europe, however, it was difficult to work out what building the conference was being held in.  I did eventually notice the following sign on a piece of A4 paper stuck to the inside of a door.  I really hope it’s the last time I see a hand drawn sign like this at a YAPC conference.

Sign On Door of YAPC::Europe Venue

Sign On Door of YAPC::Europe Venue

(Image copyright Jon Allen)

YAPC::Europe – Lightning Talks On The First Day?

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

When I first saw the schedule I wasn’t sure that lightning talks would work well on the first day.  A lot of them rely on humour and I had thought that they would work better later on in the conference when the attendees are more relaxed and have more of an idea what to expect from the conference speakers.

But they are about to start so I will soon find out if this works or not.

YAPC::Europe – Lunch Time

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

I have noticed that YAPCs are starting to provide more food for the attendees.  I am surprised by how much they are able to do considering the low cost of attending the conference.  The lunch bag contained a bottle of water, salad, two rolls and a small yogurt based dessert.  It was very nice and it was good to not have to go outside to try to find somewhere to eat around the venue.

YAPC::Europe – Opening Day 1

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

At the start of every conference I think it would be a good idea to blog more.  What usually happens is that I end up with lots of unfinished posts in my draft folder.  I still haven’t finished writing up YAPC::Asia and I think that took place in May.  I have an idea that I might use my YAPC::Asia material and write a comparison between the three YAPCs that I have attended this year – but who knows if I will actually get this finished.

YAPC::Europe started this morning in Copenhagen.  I didn’t have any problems getting to the venue as I travelled with JJ and Barbie and Barbie had taken the time to work out how to get there.  I am really glad that I didn’t need to find it by myself as it wasn’t that clear which building the conference was taking place in.

I had already registered last night at the pre-conference event so didn’t need to do that this morning.  Not that it would have been a problem as the organisers looked very well prepared and the opening of the conference has been very smooth.  The wifi has been much easier to connect to than the one at YAPC::Asia or YAPC::NA.  In Asia there was quite a complex registration process to go through.  In America the login details were not obviously available and I had to ask Yaakov what I was supposed to do to connect.

The conference is about to begin as Jonas is calling for the first speaker.  So far so good.

Visiting Copenhagen

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

I’ve had mixed feelings so far regarding my Copenhagen trip.  I didn’t enjoy my arrival into Copenhagen.  The airport was chaotic with five different flights having luggage on the same belt as the one my flight was using.  I had to wait over 40 minutes to collect my luggage and then queue to get out of the airport.  I have had to wait this long to collect luggage before but never have it done it with so many people cluttered around the belt and with such uncertainty about whether or not it would ever arrive.

Yesterday I wandered around the city and it is quite beautiful.  I really liked the area around The Little Mermaid though the statue itself is not that special.  The weather is not great but it makes a nice change to have cooler, wetter weather.  It reminds me of Tokyo in early spring.

Food and drink are really expensive.  For lunch yesterday I had a chicken burger, chips and a large sprite.  This cost 150 DKK (around £15.00; 3,300 円).  In Tokyo I usually spend a third of this on lunch.  Actually, if I eat Japanese food in a restaurant close to the train station where I live I spend less on my main course than I did buying a soft drink in a restaurant here last night.

London.pm Social Meeting

Friday, August 8th, 2008

Last night I managed to drop in to the London.pm 10th Anniversary social meeting.  When I planned my trip to YAPC::Europe I hadn’t realised that I would be arriving in London on the same day as that meeting.

It worked out surprisingly well as I was concerned that I would be much too tired to go and see anyone.  But the flight was good and I had arranged to meet up with Dean before going to the meeting as I did think I would be too tired to cope with a whole crowd of people for too long.  It took me longer to find Dean than he expected.  He had probably expected me to have more of an idea of where exactly I was in London.  He also didn’t know that asking me things like “are you on the south side or the north side of the river” may as well have been in a foreign language as I am never going to know the answer to that.  He was lucky I had even noticed that there was a river at all!

I was pleased that I got to catch up with some people who won’t be going to YAPC::Europe this year.

Visiting the Dentist

Tuesday, August 5th, 2008

Today I made my first visit to a dentist in Japan.  I have had a lot of pain in an erupting wisdom tooth since the middle of last week.  This happened to the same tooth a couple of years ago.  I went to see a dentist in Northern Ireland and at that time I was told the tooth was fine and that it was normal for this to cause a lot of pain.

This morning I woke at around 5.30am with a fever and decided that I would need to go and see someone about the tooth.  I had no idea where to go so I did a quick search for “English speaking dentists in Tokyo”.  Luckily for me one of the top results was a surgery in the building Marty works in.  Going to the dentist can be quite a traumatic experience.  I have never really understand what dentists do to make people feel so uncomfortable.  Today I didn’t feel nervous but that was mainly because the fever made me feel sick and I was in quite a lot of pain – I didn’t really think anyone could make me feel worse.

I turned up without an appointment just after the surgery opened.  I was told that I would have to wait for an hour.  I was thrilled with this.  When I had the problems in Northern Ireland I found it really hard to get an appointment at the dentist.  Even though it was considered an emergency, because of the pain, I still had to wait for two days until a dentist could fit me in in their lunch break.

I was impressed with the surgery.  It was really clean and peaceful.  The dentist made me feel comfortable and took time to explain everything that was going to happen.  It seemed more efficient than any dentist I have been to in Northern Ireland.  The dentist who analysed my x-ray and looked at the tooth didn’t do any of the mundane things like taking the x-ray or cleaning my gums.  He had a dental technician to do this for him.

Although the visit went well it turns out that I have a problem with my tooth.  The dentist wanted to schedule surgery to remove it at the start of next week but I will be in Europe as I am going to YAPC::Europe.  It’s haven’t felt well in days and it’s possible that I am going to feel awful throughout my whole European trip but I don’t want to cancel.