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pjf (2464)

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I run Perl Training Australia [].

I help with Melbourne Perl Mongers.

I spend an awful lot of time talking about Perl, and have had my picture in the Australian newspapers with a camel. That's rather scary.

Journal of pjf (2464)

Sunday August 22, 2004
07:51 PM

A week away at SAGE-AU

[ #20509 ]

Two very good friends were married this weekend, and jarich was the matron of honour. A good time was had by all, and I put my geek toys to good use by burning CDs with 300+ photographs for the couple and their family at the end of the day.

One amusing part of the ceremony was when the celebrant asked the groom to vow that he would be a loving and faithful wife.

SAGE-AU, 15th August (Day 0)
Arrived in BrisVegas and spent some time playing around with trains and busses to finally reach the conference centre. It seems very nice, albeit a little bit out of the way, so it looks like I'll be dependent upon the bus in order to gain access to the city and other features of civilization. The whole compound has a "camp" feel to it, and the instant coffee is absolutely dreadful.

Having arrived in Brisbane, I've also realised a few things that I've forgotten. As I'm giving a full-day Perl tutorial, a few books on Perl (like the camel) would have been good. Instead the reading material I brought with me were three books on mathematics, one on social engineering, and one that interestingly covers both.

I love how much smaller Brisbane is than Melbourne and Sydney, and I can completely understand why so many people come here to retire. The weather is warm, Brisbane has most of the advantages of the larger cities, but the property cost is much less.

There's an informal SAGE-AU pre-dinner that's being organised, and normally I'd jump at this (another chance to socialise, hurrah!). However, I'm also quite aware that I'm presenting a full-day tutorial on Tuesday, on new material, and I really do need to finish my preparation. I know my chances of doing that after meeting any of the conference delegates is slim to none.

SAGE-AU, 16th August (Day 1)

Spent the whole day in tutes, and stayed up late. Delighted to find that I'm running my tutorial on Wednesday, not Tuesday as I somehow previously thought.

SAGE-AU, 17th August (Day 2)

A full day talk from Phil Kernick on IPSec. Phil is an excellent speaker, and clearly knows his work. The course was quite an eye-opener for what sort of problems are reasonable to solve with IPSec, and which ones are not.

In the evening I spent some six hours talking to the bedside lamp, rehersing my timings and refreshing my memory of the content I'd be presenting the next day. As such I went to bed feeling confident, but later than expected.

SAGE-AU, 18th August (Day 3)

Today I had the honour of presenting a full-day tutorial on Perl Security, the first time that I've been able to complete the course in full, rather than only the content of a chapter or two.

The overall time available for presentations is six hours, although I covered the core material in about five and a half. This ended up working quite well, as I was able to grab some of my older, shorter presentations as 'bonus material'. The feedback forms that were handed to me had rated me at four-star or five-star for the tutorial, so I must have done a few things right. ;)

In the evening Jacinta arrived from Melbourne, and the SAGE-AU trivia night was held. I was shamed by not being able to identify every flag on a page of fifty, although our table scored very well on the Monty Python questions -- and there were quite a few. Another late night.

SAGE-AU, 19th August (Day 4)
I found myself wishing I had brought along my camera, as it's a rather unique experience to walk into the conference foyer and be presented by a sea of laptops.

The conference opened by JD "Illiad" Fraser, of User Friendly fame. The talks at the conference were overall very good, although all were quite high-level. That's not surprising, as a broad appeal is important for conference talks.

During the evening dinner was held at the Australian Wool Sheds, which have been converted into a resturant and entertainment area, and from the photographs is apparently a popular destination for tourists who want to cuddle koalas. The night started with an impressive whip-cracking demonstration, and I had my own chance to try and crack a whip, but only succeeded in publically humiliating myself through some accidental self-flagilation.

I was much better at the mechanical bull, and managed to escape with only minor injuries. During the evening I even managed to find the chance to squeeze in a business meeting with one of the other conference presenters.

Overall, a very enjoyable day, and another very late night.

SAGE-AU, 20th August (Day 5)
The last day of the conference started quietly. It was quite clear that many people had a later night than I, and were conspiciously absent from the first few presentations.

The day was supposed to end with a presentation from Randal Schwartz, but unfortunately everything didn't go as planned and we did not have the pleasure of Randal's presence this year. Arjen Lentz instead provided an excellent presentation on the upcoming features of MySQL instead.

In the evening we all went to the Brisbane Perl Mongers dinner, which had been conveniently organised to occur that evening. This was good all around -- not only did I get to meet a number of local Brisbanites, but some of them got to meet each other for the first time.

Another late evening.

SAGE-AU, 21th August (Aftermath)
Slept in. Wanted to sleep in more, but the free breakfast stops at 9am, and the free breakfast is really quite good. Checkout was at 10am. Caught a bus and train to BrisVegas airport, and made friends with a local who was doing her PhD in chemistry. Apparently computer geeks are cool people to talk to in these modern days.

I'm looking forward to getting home, and spending a whole week in Melbourne before flying to Perth.

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  • I really wanted to go this year, because it's the first year that SAGE-AU has been in an actual warm place, instead of successively colder places (Adelaide, Melbourne, Tasmania). Oh well, maybe next year.
    • Randal L. Schwartz
    • Stonehenge
    • Odds are that the next SAGE-AU will be in a colder place, with Perth and Canberra being the two most likely locations. I suggested Vanuatu as a suitable location, but there seems to be an unreasonable expectation regarding the AU in SAGE-AU.

      Strangely, it seemed that some attendees were more dissapointed by your absence from the trivia night than any other event. ;)