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darobin (1316)

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Journal of darobin (1316)

Tuesday July 30, 2002
12:11 PM

OSCon -- a quick summary

[ #6769 ]

It would be quite impossible for me at this point to recall everything that happened in detail. OSCon this year was a long blur of fun. It was much better for me this year than last as I knew more people better, which makes things a lot easier.

Flying Sucks

Getting the bad stuff out of the way to being with, my trip there was really bad. I already had a rather sucky flight with 3h30 waiting in Chicago but it turned out into a 25h stream of trouble. At some point I figured that riding a dromedary there would be better than flying.

The 3h30 stop turned into a 6h one because the AA plane we should have taken couldn't pressurize the cabin. The guy sitting behind me said that that had happened to him three times in two months, on the same flight. So we had to wait for another plane to be setup, at which point we learnt that it would be impossible to land in San Diego because the airport closes at eleven (note to self: never ever again take a flight that arrives late). So instead they flew us to LA, from where they put us on a 2h30 bus ride to SD airport. We arrived there at some time around 4am. The fun part of course was that there was no AA stuff to help us there, and that it's rather difficult to spot a taxi or a shuttle at a closed airport (to say the least). Thankfully some people had cell phones so that they could call cabs for us. However it does take a while to taxi 150 people out of an airport, especially when you're young and alone and there are elderly people and couples with young kids being prioritized (it's only normal, but it did mean that I had my cab over an hour later). I finally crashed at my hotel little before 6am on monday morning.

People Rock

However all that was quickly made up for when I started meeting the people that attended the conference. It would be impossible to describe all the interactions, the fun, the drinking, the talking, the laughing, the eating, the do-nothing-by-the-pooling, the wander-aimlessly-along-corridors-to-see-who-I-bump-intoing, etc that took place. Needless to say I'd forget at least half of it, if not more. As for last year, even though the sessions I went to see were great by far the best part of the conference is the people you get to meet or see again.

Most of that happened in the patio -- where one can drink, eat and smoke -- which probably explains why I'm having trouble knowing on which precise day which getting-together happened if it happened there (the drinking part doesn't help much either). For instance, I'm not sure which night it is that Kip decided to drown James, Heather, Matt, Antoine, Geoff, and I (there may have been other people dropping by at times, I'm listing people based on the pics at this point) under an endless stream of kamikazes, but it sure was a great evening.

Parts I can specifically place because they had a setting less constant than that of the patio were Matt and Heather Sergeant's party on friday which involved a lot of good drinks and of good people; and the car trip to the sea and the desert with Antoine, Matt, and Heather on the next day.

Writing this is kind of unblurring a lot of other moments but now laziness is taking over ;-) To all the people that I had a chance to talk to: thanks a lot, it was a wonderful week.

Staying at the conference hotel also helps. Last year I was at a youth hostel rather far away, and I started this year's week at the Best Western that's rather close but still not within reasonable walking distance (if anything is in SD). Thankfully Nat had Antoine and I switch to the conference Sheraton which is indeed a lot better. You're more relaxed when you can get drunk knowing you only have a lift to ride to your room, and it's also easier to walk around barefoot when you know that you can quickly jump to your room if you need your shoes. Many thanks for that.

Talking is nice

I was scheduled to talk on thursday about Perl Content Management Systems (slides available as soon as AA ships me the luggage they lost on the way back). I think the talk went well, but of course I'm probably the wrong person to ask. I had quite a fair amount of interesting questions at the end, and after it was over a dozen people came to talk to me to ask more specific questions or offer comments. Also during the two days that followed I had the "hey robin, great talk" fuzzy feeling several times. I'd like to see those as three indicators that at least ~15 people liked the talk (even though of course perhaps the entire rest of the attendees thoroughly hated it).

At any rate attendance was high -- they had to switch me to a bigger room to fit all the attendees -- which is definitely an improvement over last year where I had 4 people turn up (plus Edd that had to because he was chairing that track).

Listening is even better

The quality of the talks I attended was great. I like being surprised when going to listen to a talk just out of curiosity (eg Ken's Machine Learning) and walking out of it with tons of ideas for things I actually need or want to do. That talk is just an example of course, there were many other excellent ones.


The conference was incredibly great, thanks to all that attended and helped organize it. Those that weren't there, do come next time! ;-) I'm very much looking forward to the next edition, and can barely wait a year.

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