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pjf (2464)

pjf
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http://pjf.id.au/
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I run Perl Training Australia [perltraining.com.au].

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 30, 2009
08:02 PM

Finding conferences

[ #39557 ]

Finding conferences
The other week my arch-nemesis, Adam Kennedy, asked how the hell do I find out about all these conferences. This was a reference to Manifest, where I did some photography and generally had an absolute blast.

I wish there was some central repository of events that was kept up-to-date, provided an API and iCal feed, and contained rich meta-data. There's none that I know of; in fact, the closest I've found is Facebook, where one can use the API and Facebook Query Language to exttract information on people and events. I would give a talk on a few practical applications, but as it depends heavily on friends willing to disclose their interests and activities to facebook, my augmented social life currently only rocks only if I'm living in Portland or Edinburgh.

The way I normally find out about conferences is still through good old-fashioned word-of-mouth. The ones I would like to attend in the coming year that I'm presently aware of are:

Technical conferences

Yet Another Perl Conference Asia (YAPC::Asia), 10-11 September 2009, Tokyo, Japan
The world's biggest Perl conference. I've never been, and I'm missing it this year due to an already full travel schedule. I'd love to attend next year.
Linuxcon, September 21-23rd 2009, Portland OR, USA
I've never been to Linuxcon, but it's in Portland, and I love Portland. Enough said.
Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, September 30th - October 3rd 2009, Tuscon AR, USA
Most of my friends and associates have probably heard me soapbox about how we have appalling gender equality in IT, and especially in FOSS. The Grace Hopper conference provides an extensive programme on women in computing, and I'm incredibly sad I won't be there this year. ;(
Open Source Developers' Conference (OSDC) - 25-27th November 2009, Brisbane, Australia
OSDC is a beautiful melting pot of developers from different languages, with healthy competition between speakers. It also features the world's best lightning talks. This year OSDC is in beautiful BrisVegas, making it the perfect place to spend a few days afterwards to relax.
Large Installation System Administration Conference (LISA), November 1-6th 2009, Baltimore, USA
LISA has been on my list of conferences to attend for years now, as apparently it's the sysadmin conference to go to.
Linux.conf.au - 18-23rd Jan 2010, Wellington, New Zealand
LCA is, in my opinion, the world's hardest conference to speak at. They have a huge number of submissions each year to their call-for-papers. LCA2010 is happening in Wellington, New Zealand, which features the world's second-best coffee, most civilised Perl Mongers (sponsored beer at the meetings), and is choc full of awesome people.
Social Linux Expo (SCALE), 19-21st February 2010, Los Angeles, USA
I only learnt about SCALE toady. Last year's speaker list contains at least half a dozen people I'd cheerfully fly across the world to see, so this has shot very high on my desired conference list.
SAGE-AU, The System Administrators Guild of Australia, August 2010
SAGE-AU was my first conference speaking experience, except that I never spoke. I was pulled in as a last-minute replacement speaker for Randal Schwartz, who was having troubles making it to the conference, but eventually made it. Enchanted by the idea that I could speak at conferences, the next few SAGE-AU conferences became the start of my speaking career. SAGE-AU also has the best conference dinners ever, which makes me super-sad I missed the conference dinner at DreamWorld this year.
Open Source Bridge, June 2010, Portland OR, USA
I missed Open Source Bridge this year, and I cried and cried, because it sounds like the best conference I've never been to. Not only is it in Portland, which I love, but it's organised by a team including Selena Decklemann, whom I love, and has a awesome list of speakers. Nothing is going to stop me from attending in 2010.
Yet Another Perl Conference, North America (YAPC::NA), June 22-24th 2010, Pittsburgh USA
I've never made it to a YAPC::NA before, but I had such a blast at YAPC::EU that I'm now convinced that I have to go.
OSCON, The O'Reilly Open Source Convention, July 2010, Portland OR (Hopefully), USA
I've been to two OSCONs now, and both of them have events that represent some of the best experiences of my life. For those of you who have noted that OSCON is expensive, then consider submitting a talk proposal (speakers get in for free), or tutorial proposal. Tutorial presenters usually qualify for travel assistance, and for me this makes OSCON one of the most cost-effective conferences in the world.
Yet Another Perl Conference Europe (YAPC::EU), August 2010, Pisa, Italy
YAPC::EU was my first YAPC this year, and I had an absolute blast. The thought of attending again just thrills me with excitement. Plus, if Italy makes coffee anywhere near as good as they make in Lygon Street, it will be worth it for the caffeine alone.

Technical unconferences
There are more technical unconferences than I could possibly poke a stick at, and I'd go batty trying to list them all. Instead, I only want to make a few special (and local) mentions here.

BarCampMelbourne - 12-13th September 2009, Melbourne, Australia
The last Melbourne BarCamp rates as one of the best unconferences I've ever attended, and I expect the next one will be even better! There are only limited spots, so now's the time to sign up.
StixCamp, Victoria, Australia
Last year was the first ever StixCamp in Australia. Grab a bunch of geeks, get them to bring tents and camping equipment, and take them out to a beautiful winery in central Victoria. Mix in high-speed wireless Internet, some amazing food, and a wonderful atmosphere, and you have an experience not to be missed.
BaaCamp aka KiwiFoo, New Zealand
An invite-only event; the running joke is this should be called FontCamp (Friends of Nat Torkington Camp). BaaCamp sports an absolutely fascinating mix of people, superb catering, and late-night Werewolf games. Plus, it's in beautiful New Zealand. I've only been to a single BaaCamp, but would love to be back for a second.

Culture
I have more enough than enough interests to keep me occupied, and many of these have associated expos, conventions, festivals, and the like. Again, there are more of these than I could possibly list, so highlights only are below.

Penny Arcade Expo (PAX) - 4-6th September 2009, Seattle, USA
PAX is a gaming festival, and I would dearly love to be there year, but unfortunately I'll be missing out.
Melbourne Pirate Parade - 21st September 2009, Melbourne, Australia
Come dressed as a pirate, yer scurvy dogs, and let's plunder Melbourne together!
Manifest the Melbourne Anime Festival - August 2010
I love Manifest. It's a huge celebration of anime culture, with the cosplay competition being the highlight of the weekend. I've been lucky enough to have a camera at at both Manifest 2008 and Manifest 2009. There's also a single-day Minifest that happens each year in April.
San Diego Comic Con 22-25th July 2010, San Diego, USA
I've never been to SDCC. I keep hearing amazing stories every year. It had better not clash with OSCON.

If you'd like to see me at a conference that I haven't mentioned above, it's quite likely because I haven't heard about it! Drop me an e-mail and let me know, especially if there's an open call for papers.

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