Leader of Birmingham.pm [pm.org] and a CPAN author [cpan.org]. Co-organised YAPC::Europe in 2006 and the 2009 QA Hackathon, responsible for the YAPC Conference Surveys [yapc-surveys.org] and the QA Hackathon [qa-hackathon.org] websites. Also the current caretaker for the CPAN Testers websites and data stores.
If you really want to find out more, buy me a Guinness
The Birmingham.pm World Tour of UK Perl Monger user groups continued last week, with a visit to Belfast.pm. JJ, Brian and myself met at New Street station and headed to the airport. Despite a bit of confusion the flight wasn't too bad, however, the confusion became painful the following day. Upon landing, we were cheerfully greeted by Andrew, who had graciously come along to pick us up and drop us at the hotel. The evenings haunt was just around the corner (I could actually see it from my room), at Robinson's Bar. Karen, Tony and Andrew were the main contingent from Belfast.pm, although their oldest member, Joe McCool, did turn up for a little while. We adjorned to some comfortable chairs after having something to eat, and continued our discussion on life the universe and everything. I can only vaguely remember bits of conversation now, but I do know I had good time. Marty was unfortunately abscent as he was looking after Richard Stallman, who was to speak at BelFOSS the following day. The night finished quite late, and we all headed for bed, ready for the conference the following day.
It wasn't until i got back to my room that i noticed that my work's mobile had a text message waiting for me. It turns out that the airline had cancelled my flight home due to the confusion at checkin. I had originally booked a flight out and a return that was at 5pm the following day. I was going to change the return, but was told that the company (who had agreed to pay the flight) wouldn't accept my booking and had to do it themselves. So I had two flights book, the same going out but different times coming back. When I got to checkin they asked for the reference number so they could book me against the right one. In the middle of getting my laptop out to check the number, the girl behind the desk spoke to a supervisor on the phone, and said its alright and booked me one of the tickets. Unfortunately it was the wrong one, and the airline automatically cancelled the right one, because the outbound came up as a no show. I spent a considerable amount of time on the phone (mostly on hold) to them the following day to get the later flight. It cost £136 to change, compared to the £30 it would have cost had I changed when I was originally going to. Seeing as there was no incentive for me to cancel my original tickets (I would have got no money back), I didn't. However I still consider it the airline's fault for not letting me tell them the flight reference number. I spoilt the afternoon at the conference as I missed a couple of talks in the process of phoning
Thankfully I did get to see the good bits of the conference. Bruce Perens (Sourcelabs) was a very entertaining speaker and raised a few thoughts about software patents in particular, that were very engaging. There were a few interesting questions from the floor too. After a short break, Zaheda Bhorat (Google) talked about how Google use and support Open Source, including a few slides about the Google Summer of Code. It was going fine until she got to the slide about the licenses they use, when Richard Stallman took issue with the versions of the license they were using. It was a valid point, but came at an inappropriate time in her talk, as it threw her train of thought a little. The next two talks I missed, but apparently the one by Les Timms (Open Source Academy) was very good, and seeing he comes from Birmingham we might even get him to do a talk at one of our technical meetings.
The afternoon was taken up with Richard Stallman's presentation. Apparently he only uses a couple of speeches, but seeing as many have probably never seen him before, it didn't really matter which he used. He talked about the FSF, Free Software and the new GPLv3. Well he mentioned a link to the GPLv3 for further discussion. He took quite a number of questions from the floor, some which Bruce Perens helped to answer too. There was no heated debates, as the audience were largely there to support the movement towards using Free Software and Open Source Software. It certainly seemed there was a large amount of discussion going on between the audience in the breaks.
Karen noted later that Bruce Perens had arrived in Belfast the previous night and had had no-one to greet him at the airport. So he had made his own way to the hotel and spent the evening without seeing anyone related to the conference. It occurred to me then that perhaps we should have advertised the Belfast.pm meeting a little more, so anyone travelling from out of town, would have somewhere to go and meet like minded geeks. It would have been really cool to have had Bruce Perens join us. Oh well, next time
I managed to get the right flight home, although the "business class" vouchers were exactly up to much. However, I did get a double Baileys out of it.
We have a couple of weeks break now, and then we head off to see Nottingham.pm and Edinburgh.pm next month. We've been invited to an advocacy night with the Nottingham guys, as they have a joint meeting with the Nottingham LUG. I'm also looking forward to the trip to Edinburgh, as I haven't been up there for 15 years, and I'll also get the chance to meet my co-writer for CPAN-YACSmoke at last.