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
This weekend was LUGRadio Live. This year was arguably, bigger and better than last year. It was certainly bigger and in a better venue, although the Atrium did prove a problem with the sunlight streaming through the glass roof. On the whole though the community spirit and overall fun was pretty much as it was last year. In fact if that aspect got any better, I think we'd burst. Part of the reason I go to LUGRadio is to network. Not in the way that I would at a more corporate conference, but to meet the people who are helping to create and run the community. And not just Linux communities either.
I did a Perl Mongers BOF, which although was pitted against Chris DiBona, did get a few people along. In fact I think I managed to recruit 2 new members for London.pm. But it was encouraging that there were some new faces along to see what the BOF about and who used Perl. Earlier in the day I also looked in on the lug.org.uk BOF, being run by Alan Pope. The first part of the BOF, the majority of which I missed, was more concerned with the infrastrucure of lugmasters, the servers and the like. However, they then asked about how lugs could communicate and collaborate better, which was the area of LUGs I was most interested in. Although I do run a LUG, I do participate in the 7 Midlands based LUGs. My interest was more about letting other LUGs, especially new ones, know that there are a lot of people who are willing to come and give talks if they wish to kick start any technical meetings. There were a few other aspects of running LUGs that were covered, providing Alan with lots of notes, and I think it was probably one of the most productive BOFs of the weekend.
I didn't get to see many talks, as there wasn't anything this year that had me circling as an absolute must see, but I did potter in and out of a few that seemed vaguely interesting. For Day One, I began by watched Ted Heager for a while, to discover he no longer works for Novell, a fact that had passed me by since I took SUSE off my desktop at the beginning of the year. I liked his presentation, and I'll certainly be taking a look at BungeeLabs in the future. I flipped between Alan Cox and Des Burley for the next set of talks, and I should really have stayed at one or the other. Both were good presentations and were interesting for very different reasons.
After lunch, the potentially dodgy "Adam Sweet's Gong A Thong Lightbulb Talk Extravaganza" took to the Atrium stage. It was meant to be a selection of lightning talks, but seeing as LRL has tradionally labelled 20 minute talks as lightning talks, they came up with Lightbulb Talks, which is probably a better name for them. However, as the title suggests, it feature Adam walking through the audience, respendent in shower robe (with "Sweet" on the back) to the Rocky theme. Disrobing, we were then greeted with the site that is normally reserved for the first day of a summer holiday on a Benidorm beach. But it was funny, and well done Adam for having the guts to go through with it. I can't see Jono, Aq or Ade doing the same. But then perhaps that's a good thing
Next up was the mass debate. Subjects covered several topics, although licensing (GPL in particular), DRM and the BBC seem to feature most, with Becky Hogge, Chris DiBona, Nat Friedman and Steve Lamb all fielding the questions. It was a good panel and their responses help generate some good discussions. I think the venue setting help here as it was much better than last year, and was more conducive to interaction with the audience.
After my Perl Mongers BOF, the final session of the day was the now regular finale to the current LUGRadio season with "LUGRadio Live And Unleashed", in front of the LUGRadio Live audience. It was full of all the traditonal banter and insults, but also feature two surprises. The first was a bit of sad news, as Ade has decided to step down as a LUGRadio presenter. It will be sad to see him go, as having a more server orientated background and being a Red Hat distro fan, helped to balance some of the discussions. Plus he played a key part in keeping Jono/Aq rants on track. Into his seat, comes Chris Procter, another WolvesLUG member. Later I was talking to Jono and Aq, and they revealled that even I was on their original list of possible replacements. However, I do think they've made a good choice and Chris should be a worthy presenter. The second surprise was that they've been told that "LUGRadio Live US Edition" will now happen, and that plans are afoot for the event to be staged in San Francisco. I'm quite pleased by this, as I've wanted to go back to San Francisco for some time. If things work out and both YAPC::NA and LRL-US happen during the same week/weekend, then that would be perfect. Especially as I heard a rumour that a west coast Perl Monger group were planning to submit a bid
The evening started with Ted Haeger, JJ, DGL and myself finding Pizza Hut. I later discovered that some had gone for a curry, and instantly wished we'd found that out sooner
Day Two saw me trying to get Selenium, or more appropriately Opera, working with Linux. I was trying to decide whether to just accept defeat and do the talk on Windows, but eventually decided I should just ad-lib over the demo to highlight some of the problems and gotchas to watch out for. The main part of the talk seemed to go well, and the demo of the IDE was okay. I tried to convey that although I was looking at this from a Perl perspective, it really is cross-language. However, before the talk I discovered my second live demo wasn't working properly, and I didn't have the time to fix it, so the first live demo would have to do. I'd cut the tests from 82 down to 20, but discovered to my horror that Opera still took 5 minutes. I ended up apologising and explaining that I have previous run this in IE in 90 seconds. I wish I hadn't as I ended feeling like I'd done Selenium and the talk a disservice. It wasn't the best talk I've ever done, but one guy was very enthusiastic to talk to me afterwards, and another member of the audience did say that I wasn't anywhere near as bad as I thought I was, but I'll wait until I see the video! At least it's given me some food for thought on how to improve the talk ready for YAPC::Europe in Vienna.
With my talk out of the way, I watched the remaining part of Becky Hogge's talk. It was made more interesting by Aq finding the guy who worked for the BBC and worked on the iPlayer. Although there were a few boos to begin with, Becky did remind people that he can't be all bad as firstly he was at LUGRadio and secondly that he'd agreed to come on stage. Unfortunately the decision for the way the BBC have persued DRM was out of his control, but he did explain that several within the BBC are also not happy with the decision, but that the lack of a suitable alternative, and the fact that most users run Windows has been an overwhelming factor. Maybe the DRM isue for the BBC will change in the future, but until there is something that they can guarantee to their suppliers will protect their rights, it might be some time before that change happens.
After lunch Gervase Markham gave an interesting talk about "How To Win Every Argument". He lead us through several styles of argumentative interview response styles, and showed how they put your opponent at a disadvantage. After this a large number of attendees shift enmasse to the Main Stage where Bruno was question master for "The Great LUGRadio Quiz", a fun quiz between the presenters of LUGRadio and hashlugradio. The hashlugradio guys won in the end, but not by much. There was however some confusion over whether chin or beard represented true or false, as Aq got the answer to his own book wrong
Then finally things got wrapped up. The guys said a final goodbye and it was all over. Ted and I helped to gather the crew and presenters outside the venue and took several photos. A big thanks to everyone involved, it was a great event (again), and a good choice of venue. I look to next year's event, particularly if I get to go to both