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Matts (1087)

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I work for MessageLabs [] in Toronto, ON, Canada. I write spam filters, MTA software, high performance network software, string matching algorithms, and other cool stuff mostly in Perl and C.

Journal of Matts (1087)

Wednesday July 31, 2002
08:19 AM

OSCon Overview

[ #6793 ]

Whew, what a week...

I'll do a quick run through, since most other people have already covered the details.

Monday: AxKit Tutorial - well attended for a small room, some good questions but I thought the tutorial could have been better written. Such is life.

Tuesday: POE Tutorial - surprisingly only a few people there (I thought more people would be interested I guess), but I was competing against Damian, so I'm not bitter. I think it was a good tutorial, despite a lot of my demos not running (must get those fixed if I want to do this again).

Wednesday: Why SOAP Sucks, Why SOAP Rocks. This went awesomely well. I was given what was later dubbed "The Jinxed Room", as it seemed every talk in MarinaII had way more attendees than it could fit... It's a room for about 50, but I must have had 200 people trying to attend. There were people sitting down at my feet, standing against the walls, and several people listening outside. At the end I got a really loud round of applause, and no complaints from the two SOAP implementors in the audience (including Sam Ruby). After that I gave my "101 Damnations" talk - AKA "Why I have over 50 modules on CPAN". Unfortunately I went *just* over time, and didn't get to the most important part of the talk which was to thank all the various people responsible for various key parts of perl and CPAN. Plus nobody recognised my horribly doctored baby picture at the end. See if you can work it out (slides link in previous entry).

Thursday: Exceptions talk. First thing I noticed was that Larry Wall was in the talk. This is either a really good thing or a really bad thing depending on how you look at it. I think this talk went really well too, and had the entire Grand Ballroom A filled with people. When I gave my "$SIG{__DIE__} Considered Harmful" slide, a small voice piped up "Sorry!". I'll let you guess who.

Friday: Unscheduled spamassassin talk. I think ORA expected more people to go to this, but it was fairly quiet considering the topic. Lots of factors contributed to this though so I don't feel too bad about it - it was Friday after lunch so people are going home or all conferenced-out, it wasn't in the program, and the only place it was actually displayed was on the conference updates hand-outs. Still, I hope I gave a good overview. The highlight for me was saying that you probably don't want to use RFC-Ignorant as it's a bit heavy handed, and then at the end of the talk someone came over and introduced himself as the guy behind RFC-Ignorant. Oops ;-)

After that I was done. Exhausted from too little sleep and not enough time just relaxing I skipped the Town Hall thing and just went straight to the pool where a few friends joined in a swim.

Two real highlights of the entire conference for me were: 1. Receiving the ActiveState Programmers Choice awards for both Perl and XSLT. That was a big shock - so much so that I had already decided I hadn't won, so went out to a lovely Thai dinner with my wife and Geoff and Cindy Young. Apparently none of the winners were there at the presentation! Ah well, dinner was probably more fun ;-) and 2. Getting given an iBook so that I can port AxKit to OSX. It's not every day someone hands you an iBook for free. Spiffy!

Anyway, that's all for now. Overall it was a great conference, especially in that I got to know friends that I talk to every day via IRC much better on a personal basis, and that's always nice - you just can't do that via IRC. I do wish it wasn't just once a year we all get together.

Next year I'd like to just do 45m slots (assuming I can persuade my employer to pay for my trip). As you can see above I think I'm probably better at those than I am at the 3 hour tutorials - as MJD says (and he's right) a 3 hour tutorial is a terrible way of learning anything, so the most important thing is to keep your attendees interested and entertained, and I'm just not quite the best at that. Still, I shall study the master, and try harder next year ;-)

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