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jdavidb (1361)

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J. David Blackstone has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Engineering and nine years of experience at a wireless telecommunications company, where he learned Perl and never looked back. J. David has an advantage in that he works really hard, he has a passion for writing good software, and he knows many of the world's best Perl programmers.

Journal of jdavidb (1361)

Wednesday June 26, 2002
01:05 PM

YAPC day -1: arrival

[ #5964 ]

My flight went off without a hitch, about ten minutes late (which is pretty good). My rental car company, on the other hand, confused me to no end. I finally got a car and headed off toward WU or my hotel, whichever came first. I impressed myself by taking a slight wrong turn and going a different way from how my map said to get there.

WU is a beautiful campus. The trees are beautiful, and the buildings are beautiful.

While I was registering a man came through who was addressed as "Jon," and who looked an awful lot like the pictures of Jon Orwant I've seen on the net. I was walking behind him on my way back outside when I remembered I didn't get a parking tag and went back. When I finally got to the door on my way out the second time, I was awed and stunned at what I found on the other side: I was looking straight at the back of Damian Conway's head. Then I recognized Simon Cozens and Larry Wall.

This invalidated a private theory I've contemplated for a while: that the entire Perl community actually consisted of artifically intelligent bots written by Larry. It's easy to think such things when your only contact with people is text, either on the net or in books. Here they were in the flesh, so I must have been wrong. (I'm sure some people are bots though. Just wait, I'll prove it.)

I took the opportunity to introduce myself and got as far as Damian, Larry, and Simon, before my brain kicked in and said, "Get out of the way, stupid. They were probably talking about something before you interrupted." So, with a quick "See you tomorrow," I headed off toward the parking lot, feeling privileged to have finally met some of the people who help me so much in my job every day. I was disoriented enough I didn't even really look around the group to see who else I might recognize. But there will be three more days to hopefully get to know everyone.

We got a nice looking goodie bag from O'Reilly. Included were the printed proceedings of TPC4, a catalog that seems to be different from the most recent O'Reilly catalog I received, a 20% discount coupon.

The YAPC proceedings book is a bright orange spiral-bound volume over an inch thick. I thought at first slides for every presentation were in there, but it turns out there's an abstract for every presentation and slides for some. The vast majority of that book is slides for MJD's presentations. Among these is "Mailing List Judo," which just happened to be the first spot I turned to. I hadn't planned on attending this talk because I didn't know before what it was about. It turns out it's about P5P mailing list judo, that is, ways to get along and get your patches accepted in the amazingly contentious world of P5P. There's good material in these slides, and I'll bet the presentation will be real interesting. Nice going, Dominus; as if it wasn't already hard enough to decide which talks to attend!

When I received my name badge I was flattered to learn that they didn't mess up my name. You'd be surprised how many permutations of "J. David" there are. (I routinely tell solicitors who ask for "David J." that there's no one present with that name.) Someone made a comment I didn't quite understand about my badge being sorted by that name. I thought at the time she meant my name was sorted by the "J." At the back of the YAPC book tonight I found a list of all the attendees. "Great," I thought, "my name will be in everyone's copy of the book. Maybe some day I'll write some code someone uses and they'll remember me from the conference." But I couldn't find my name. Turns out the names were sorted by the second component of the name instead of the last component of the name, so I was sorted under "D" instead of "B," while folks like "Nai-sowah Edward Anyetei" are in the wrong spot also. Even "Lawrence K. Hixson" is at the top of the K's. Looks like someone used [2] when they should have used [-1]. I'll have to find out who that is and razz them about it. :) First lesson learned at YAPC.

I was worried I wouldn't be able to find all the things I usually enjoy in St. Louis. For example, I've heard Dr. Pepper isn't as common in the rest of the country as it is in my area. I saw DP, but the new "Dr. Pepper Red Fusion" drink was nowhere to be seen. If you live in a part of the world where this drink is not available, you need to take a trip to Texas. I was hoping for Red Fusion, but since it wasn't there, I went with last year's model, Mountain Dew Code Red, instead. It's nice having a fridge in the hotel.

Similarly, I was worried I would miss my Tuesday night shows. I only watch television regularly two nights a week (although I hit and miss some other nights). The first is Saturday, the District. The other, more recent, addition to my viewing habits is WB's Tuesday night shows The Gilmore Girls and Smallville. They were on here, channel 11 in the Best Western, so I'm happy. Later I caught Voyager and a little Cartoon Network while playing a little more with my Stratego program (since I had the time) and writing this journal entry.

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