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
Day 3 : 20th September 2002
The day began late, and I managed to shuffle into the end of Dan's talk.
Dan Sugalski - Inside Parrot
Having missed the introduction I ended up listening to some more technical details of Parrot. My understanding had been sketchy at best previously, but it does seem a pretty cool thing. It's basically a Virtual Machine that runs bytecode. It's primarily aimed at working with Perl 6, but hopes to work with any language compiled to bytecode.
Jos Boumans - CPANPLUS: Beyond CPAN.pm
Having been an advocate of PPM for the last couple of years, something that can use the same kind of style on Linux is a good thing. PPM has it's faults, but it does have some good stuff too.
More info at: http://cpanplus.sourceforge.net
Alejandro Juarez - Security in Perl Scripts
Security in perl scripts, particularly CGI scripts, should be the top of anyone's list when writing code. However, many obvious security leaks get overlooked. Alejandro covered alot of ground as to what are some of the obvious problems, and what can be done to prevent them. A good talk, leaving you with alot to think about if you hadn't already come across these issues.
Slides can be found at: http://www.gwolf.cx/seguridad/seg_scr_perl
Larry Wall - The Science of Perl
Larry's talk took on a similar style to his State of The Onion at The Perl Conferences in the States. Also as YAPC conferences have famously promoted the idea of lightning talks, this half an hour slot became six 5 minute lightning talks. Taking the article content listing in an August issue of Scientific America, Larry proceeded to use the analogies of the articles to Perl 5 and the future of Perl 6.
A very clever and interesting talk, or set of talks.
Damian Conway - Quantum Superpositions
How to blow your mind in one easy lesson. It's diffult to explain Damian's lecture, as the only way to describe it is to see it! Suffice to say there is a lot there to confuse you and not alot that is actually useful in real applications, but then Damian would probably beg to differ.
Damian is a fantastic speaker. He manages to get the right level of entusiasm to keep you entertained and interested. With a talk like this it's easy to go over the heads of the whole audience, but Damian, in is own engaging style, manages to keep the jokes flowing in and out of the serious stuff.
Just go see him, next time he's in your town.
See Damian's online abstract : http://yetanother.org/damian/seminars/Quantum.html
Leon Brocard - The Acme:: Modules
Various individuals had been doing their best to catch Leon out with his talk, by uploading new Acme modules throughout the day. He covered how the Acme namespace came to be and took a look at some of the modules. Some are very silly, some are interesting, and some are actually quite useful.
Schwern - Tales of Refactoring
This was a great talk about very aspects of refactoring code and systems. I wished I had made notes, but was enjoying the talk too much. Much of the talk was to do with the experience in rewriting part of MakeMaker. Seeing as it was written a long time ago, had been added to by many people and much of what was there nobody really knew what it did or whether it was ever used anymore, it proved a very good example of what refactoring was about.
The slides, if you can follow them without Schwern's presence, can be seen at: http://magnonel.guild.net/~schwern/talks/Refactoring/slides/
Worth a look if only for the pictures he manages to add to his slides. Great stuff.
The auction, as always, was very well attended. Greg once again took command in his unique style, and managed to persuade, cajole and intimiate money out of the audience. Much of the conference is funded by the sponsors and YAS, but the shortfall is always helped out by the bizarre array of auction items. This year was no exception.
Last year the talk of the auction was London.pm bidding against each other for the right to hold their meetings on a specific Thursday of the month. This year had a Parrot op-code, the colour of the London.pm website, the colour of the T-shirts for next year's YAPC::E if Paris.pm are the hosts, arm wrestling for 2 Perl 6 op-codes (which ended up being Damian vs Schwern, Damian won), Schwern's pants and shirt (which he duly took off and signed there and then, thus had to walk back to the hotel in his boxer shorts and t-shirt), among many other items. As Larry, Damian and Dan were all here, Greg had taken the opportunity to get then to sign various items too.
With that array of items and the donated books, the auction raised a fantastic 2,800 Euros (just under £2,000), which far surpassed this year's YAPC::America::North.
The conference was finally brought to a close by Richard Foley, with various thank yous to the sponsors and more importantly to everyone who help to organise the event, especially Norbert Gruener.
This year's conference had more to offer in the way of talks, partly because of the Perl luminaries who attended, but also because the conferences are gaining more credibility. I really look forward to see what next year has to offer.
After a quick return to the hotel to dump stuff and a quick change, Richard Foley organised a group of us to go for a meal. I was disappointed that they only sold Weiss Bier (alright if you like lager) and not Dunkel Bier, but the food was good and the company was great, so that was alright.
The night ended with a bar hunt through Munich. As the Oktoberfest was due to start the following day, the city was full of jovial revellers. However, we decided to search the backstreets for somewhere quieter and found a nice little bar, which we then subsequently took over. Many hours later and much alcohol consumption we finally decided to call it a night. I do remember Ranguard and Essau roping me into a Monkees Theme Tune walk and vaguely remember getting back to the hotel
Day 4 : 21st September 2002
The morning started with a few goodbyes to new friends and old, while others arranged to meet later. I awoke to discover I'd lost my laptop power supply, and began a search for anyone who had Richard Foley's number. Today was the first time I got to use my U-Bahn pass, which had cost me 20 Euros. It was only to the Englischer Garten so we could have walked, but then it probably saved us 10 minutes, which obviously meant more beer
The bar/food hut by the Chinese pagoda was our destination. Several London.pm'ers had started early and we'd just missed Casey's legendary down-in-one experience, but we did get to see the evidence! Beer was good, food was great and the entertainment was second to none. Stowe was on form, getting a couple of street serenaders to perform and dance with him. I only wish I'd brought my camera along. After several hours people made their way back to prepare for Oktoberfest. The one thing about the beer garden here is that to stop you walking off with the beer glasses, they give you a little red token, which is then redeemed for 1 Euro. As the few that remained sat and finished the beer, one young soul was walking round swapping the tokens for money. He swapped ours and went off leaving several London.pm'ers (and Belfast.pm'ers) with 1 Litre beer glasses in their hand and their money back. I'm sad to say we were very naughty, and all walked off with a keepsake.
Prior to Oktoberfest, many needed food. A nice little Italian around the corner was our target. Seeing as Stowe had been lost en-route, Evil Dave took on the roll of Stowe, to great applause. We did wonder where the original had gone, but were quietly confident he would find his way home. Meal over we set off for more beer.
Unfortunately some decided to get a taxi, others were already there and we decided to take the subway. Bad idea. If you ever go to Oktoberfest, remember to agree a meeting point and stick to it. Difficult if you've never been there, but it helps. Oktoberfest is massive. I estimate the size of Birmingham city centre alone. Half made up of beer kellers and the rest the biggest funfair I've ever seen. We had a wander, bumped into loads of people we didn't know and eventually stumbled into a beer tent to get beer. The house band started up with Sweet Home Alabama, many Americans were singing along, much inebriation was in sight, along with the odd ruckus (usually with women bizarrely enough), but no empty table
Apparantly there were several Perl people who came along to Oktoberfest, but we didn't see any of them. I was particularly hoping to see Richard Foley to retrieve my laptop power supply before I left. Alas without beer and no-one else around, we headed back. It had been fun and perhaps next time we might organise ourselves better to actually all meet up together, but then again this is London.pm.
Day 5 : 22nd September 2002
The remanents of the conference were waiting in the foyer this morning, including Stowe (so he did survive). All ready for the journey home. However, Silke and I were only just preparing for our sightseeing tour of the city. With nowhere in particular to go we just ambled along chatting and enjoying the scenery. We managed to stumble upon the end of one of the parades, which looked fun. Unfortunately I couldn't get close enough to take some decent pictures, but it looked good.
The rest of the day was spent enjoying the eateries, beer and the lovely company. Silke and I don't get to see each very often, so it was nice to sit and drink and chat for the rest of the afternoon and evening. Then all too soon the evening came and we said goodnight.
Day 6 : 23rd September 2002
Silke and I took a final look round the city and had a bite to eat back at the Augustiner. It was nice to come back full circle to where I'd started nearly a week before. Silke then decided to do some book shopping before we headed off to the airport. I'd already gathered we were running slightly late, but Silke carried on regardless. When she finally realised what time it was, we then had a mad dash to collect our bags from the hotel, head for the station and miss the train!!!!!
We ended up catching the slower train, and getting to the airport with minutes to spare. I ended up standing behind several germans who didn't quite know where they were going, when we discovered I only had 5 minutes before the gate was closed. Thankfully Silke politely explained to the Germans ahead of me, who very kindly let me queue jump.
Big hugs and kisses, before we both had to dash off to our respective flights. I managed to catch the plane, even though security insisted I take off half my clothes cause I failed the metal detector. All becasue of my steel top-capped boots. That'll teach me.
Finally back in Birmingham and home.