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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)

Thursday August 07, 2008
06:04 AM

Memoirs of an OSCON rockstar, Day 1 (Perl Security)

[ #37118 ]

Memoirs of an OSCON rockstar, Day 1 (Perl Security)
I wake up and go to Damian Conway's tutorial on programming vim. After a mere 10 minutes I've already learnt a huge bundle of new tricks, and have additioanl goodies added to my .vimrc file. After 30 minutes I realise that I can't stay. I'm tired, and I can't stop thinking about the tutorial I'm giving in the afternoon. With great reluctance I excuse myself, head to the Speakers' Lounge, ingest coffee, and hack on slides.

At this point the Speakers' Lounge may as well be called the Aussie Lounge. There's Adam Kennedy, Pia Waugh, Laura Thompson, Luke Welling, Anthony Baxter and Stewart Smith all there. Jokes are made about 'OZCON'.

I keep encountering new people at the Speakers' Lounge. They're all famous, but I have to work on my slides. Three hours is a lot of presenting, and I'm really trying to make a good impression. It's my first time at OSCON, and my first time in front of an American audience.

When I present my tutorial, I find my audience is huge. I've got 80-100 people! My presentation ends up being "okay", even though I'm handing out chocolates for anyone who asks a good question, or comes up with a good answer. I'm not happy with my pace (too quick), and fear some of my topics may have not fully sunk home with my audience.

The 3 hour tutorial format is hard. People naturally get learning fatigue, particularly if they're doing theory for a long time without doing practical exercises, or getting up for a break. That's why lectures at University are usually an hour or less, because that's about as long as you feed an audience theory before it stops being absorbed.

One thing I misjudged is how many questions I'd receive. I figured going to OSCON I'm going to have an entire contingent of extremely smart, extremely vocal, high-profile hecklers who'll quiz me on difficult topics. This never happened; I don't know if it's because my audience was polite, or because my hecklers didn't arrive; I suspect it's a combination of both.

Despite the fact that I really thought my tutorial was luke-warm, I found that throughout the week I have plenty of people actively seeking me out and telling me how much they enjoyed the talk. Thank-goodness for the +2 aussie bonus. For those who are curious, I received a 4.55 average rating across 40 evaluations, which isn't too shabby at all.

In the evening I went to have sushi with the Moose and Best Practical crowd. From there, back to the hotel, where Andy Lester catches me and asks if I want to meet at the DoubleTree hotel to help him work on his tutorial the next day. Apparently there'll be beer, and since I'm exhausted from my tutorial, I figure I could really do with a beer.

When I arrive at the DoubleTree, I find there's a big contingent of drinking Australians, along with a decent number of Python people, who, as usual, are all famous. I join the table, swap stories, admire tattoos, and discuss various topics. Andy arrives, but proclaims that he won't be upset at all if I finish another beer or two, so I don't actually help him with slides at all. Oops!

Eventually, I head back to the hotel knowing that I have the rare luxury of not giving a presentation the next day, and can relax a little.

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