Archive for the 'YAPC' Category

Missing Conferences

Friday, September 18th, 2015

I don’t get to attend all the Perl conferences I would like to go to.   I was sad to miss YAPC::EU in Granada, and I’m going to miss the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop, that is taking place in October.  I am actively involved in the Perl community, but not as a programmer.  Conferences are the perfect time for me to meet people and hold meetings.  I love the hallway track as the energy generated by the people attending the conference helps to motivate me.   The community aspect is more important to me than the technical content, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to hear any of the talks.    I’m still not sure what I think about live streaming during these conferences, as I know it’s very expensive, but I am glad when the talk recordings are posted after the event.

I’m watching talks from YAPC::EU.  I’m starting with the keynotes as I enjoy talks with a broader theme and would absolutely have attended these if I had been at the conference.  I’ve already listened to Sawyer’s State of the [Art] Velociraptor‎ and today I’m listening to Ovid’s Turning Point.

I will also miss the London Perl Workshop.  That one is slightly more annoying as I will be flying through London about a week after the conference – so it will be a near miss.  I’m going to try to attend YAPC::EU next year as I would like to meet the members of  I love their cute little vampire logo and the combination of getting to meet the European Perl community and reading Dracula in Transylvania appeals greatly. Facebook Banner

My Favourite Perl Monger Logo


YAPC::Asia 2015

Sunday, August 30th, 2015

Last week I attended YAPC::Asia in Tokyo.  I’m always impressed by how much work the organisers put in to make sure that the conference runs smoothly.  I have been to 10 YAPCs in Tokyo and every year they get bigger.  Back in 2006 there were around 320 people attending and this year there was 2130!  That’s amazing growth and a headache for conference organisers unless you successfully scale every aspect of the conference.  Just thinking about the wifi requirements alone makes me shudder.  There is no doubt that Maki-san and his team should be proud of everything they have achieved.  It was a great conference.

The venue is so important to holding a good conference.  Last year I felt that the venue for YAPC::Asia was too small but this year it was perfect.  It was large enough to be comfortable, but not so large that you felt disconnected from the other attendees.  The main room was beautiful.  It held around 1000 people, but since it seems that only about half the conference at most will attend a plenary session it was a good size. Given how many attendees there were I didn’t get to see everyone I know.  This is always a problem when a conference is large and if I had not been jet lagged I probably would have been more proactive at trying to meet up with people.

I have attended many conference and I dislike how organisers who are intimately involved with the conference forget that the rest of us have not spent months contemplating the venue and the rooms.  I have joked that for some conferences it’s a quest to find the clues to work out where the entrance to the venue will be and how to find the talks.  Thankfully at YAPC::Asia this is never a problem.  There are always beautiful signs, printed material, and even a video showing how to get to the venue from the train station.  It was wonderful that I could feel confident about getting to the venue.  I really don’t want to keep the keynote speaker who is staying with me late for the opening because I can’t find out where to go.

YAPC::Asia is the only conference I attend that it not in English.  There were a number of foreigners speakers who spoke in  English.  At earlier conferences I did notice that the English talks were not overly well attended but now they are simultaneously translated into Japanese, which really helps.  It would be amazing if the Japanese talks could be translated into English but it’s not cost effective to do that given the number of non-native Japanese speakers in attendance.  My Japanese is not good enough for me to easily enjoy a technical talk given in Japanese so I mostly went to hear people speak in English.

I enjoyed Rik’s talk and would recommend it to anyone who is interested in the current release of Perl 5.

While the conference has its roots in Perl – YAPC stands for Yet Another Perl Conference – there is no doubt that the content of this conference has been expanding for years now making the “P” more polyglot than Perl.  I did hear a number of Perl talks but I heard an equal number of container talks.  I enjoy hearing talks from speakers I don’t know and on new subjects, but I do like more Perl in my YAPC.

I could write more but Maki-san has already written a great post on the conference.  I’m sad that this will be the last one, but I’m hopeful that something new will spring up in its place.


Perl Travel

Friday, September 13th, 2013

Next week I will be attending YAPC::Asia in Tokyo.  It’s going to be the biggest YAPC that’s ever been held with 1000 people attending.  When I tried to buy a ticket in August it was already sold out so I’ve bought a ticket off a friend so I can attend!  The conference is mostly going to be in Japanese but there will be a few talks in English and I’m looking forward to hearing Rik’s keynote.  My Japanese has improved in the past year but I will still find it difficult to understand the talks and it’s tiring concentrating on Japanese so I won’t be able to listen to a whole days worth of talks in the language.

I’ll be travelling to America towards the end of September and I’m hoping to catch up with Perl Mongers in New York, Philadelphia, and Atlantic City.  I am also hoping to speak at the Pittsburgh Perl Workshop so it would be useful if I actually managed to write a talk proposal for this…

In November I will be in Europe where I should manage to catch up with my friends at  I’m not going to make it to the London Perl Workshop though as I had to fly back to Japan before that as I have a Japanese exam on the 1st December.

Missing YAPC::EU

Monday, August 12th, 2013

For the first time since I started attending YAPC::EU in 2001 I’m going to miss the yearly conference.  I’ve been watching the tweets and status updates of people arriving in Kyiv with mixed feelings.  It’s expensive getting from Japan to Europe.  I’ve been lucky that in previous years there have been family events in Europe around the same time as the conference making it easier to justify the expense.  But Ukraine is quite far from my family and not convenient to get to from Tokyo.

I’ve been living in Tokyo for nearly 7 years now and whilst I really enjoy YAPC::Asia it doesn’t feel like my home conference to me.  I imagine that’s because I see YAPC::EU as an opportunity to catch up with friends.  One of my friends called it “the family reunion” aspect of YAPC, which is incredibly important to the people who attend these conferences regularly.  This year I’ll read about the conference from a distance and miss my friends.

José at YAPC

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Being at YAPC::Asia has reminded me that I never got round to writing about YAPC::EU.  I don’t have time to write today so instead I’m going to post one of the pictures I took at YAPC::EU.

José Castro: Man of Magic

José Castro: Man of Magic



Perl 2010

Saturday, January 1st, 2011

I have been thinking about 2010 and the different things that happened in the Perl community.  I’m not a good writer, nor do I have a lot of time to write, so I’m going to create a list:  a list of the things in the Perl world that I thought were great in 2010.  The following are in the order that they came out of my brain:

1. The release of Perl 5.12

Jesse Vincent and the release managers gave us not only a new stable version of Perl but also a new time-based release cycle for future versions of Perl, so we will have Perl 5.14 to look forward to this year.

2. The release of Rakudo Star

Giving me hope for the future of Perl 6.

3. Dave Mitchell’s Perl 5 Bug Fixing Grant

Dave has been doing amazing work with this grant having spent just over 500 hours in 2010 to close 127 bugs.  I’m delighted that this grant has been extended and that Dave can continue this work into 2011.

4. GSoC and Google Code-In

Jonathan Leto and his team did a great job of getting The Perl Foundation and The Parrot Foundation involved in Google Summer of Code and the new Google Code-In.

5. Matt Trout’s State of the Velicoraptor Talk at YAPC

I really liked hearing Matt give this uplifting talk at YAPC::EU and YAPC::NA.  I enjoyed hearing about all the positive things that were happening in the Perl world and think that all our conferences need a positive keynote like this one.

6. CPAN Testers

I read just the other day that CPAN Testers has just passed 10 million test reports!

7. Events Group

A group of volunteers decided to set-up Perl booths at a number of non-Perl conferences including FOSDEM and CeBIT.

8. Modernisation of Perl Web Sites

This year many of the major Perl sites had a face lift, including,, and

9. Send-A-Newbie program

The Enlightened Perl Organisation took over the send-a-newbie program that provides financial support to first time attendees of YAPC::EU.

10. Miyagawa

I know, it might seem like a strange thing to write, but when I think of Perl I think of people.  And I’m always astounded by the amount of work that Miyagawa does and I’m certainly looking forward to what will come out of his brain in 2011.

2010 was a great year for Perl, let’s hope that 2011 is just as excellent!

Another Day, Another Delay

Saturday, June 20th, 2009

I’m still in Chicago.  My 9:30am flight yesterday morning was cancelled because of the bad weather.  I had seen the news about the storm system, before I left for the airport, but there was nothing listed on the airport’s website to suggest any problem.  The airport was chaotic when I arrived around 7am.  Hundreds of people were queuing for check-in.  It’s almost as if United hadn’t realised that people were going to turn up to fly.  It was under-staffed and the staff who were there spent their time walking up and down the lines yelling instructions at passengers that were hard to understand.  They even started to yell at people telling them not to miss their flight because they were waiting in line – but they didn’t tell them how to check-in without queuing.

It took over an hour for me to get to my gate.  I got to spend a pleasant hour chatting to a friend who was travelling through O’hare that morning.  Once they left I sat and watched the “flight delayed” notifications turn into “flight cancelled”

I had to go the service desk to get re-booked for another flight.  I was lucky in that I beat a lot of the rush (later on in the day as more flights were cancelled the queue was 3 hours long), but they still told me I would have to wait 27 hours before I could get another flight.

I asked about compensation, food vouchers, hotels, but was told that there was nothing they could do.  The person I was dealing with looked quite put out and asked why I thought the weather was the airlines problem?  I told her it certainly wasn’t mine and did they really think customers who didn’t live in the city should sit in the airport for another 27 hours?  I was told I was free to spend my own money on a hotel but that they wouldn’t be providing me with anything.  The only thing they could do was put me on the standby list and maybe I would get lucky and catch a later flight.

By 5pm I knew there was no way I was getting to Pittsburgh on standby.  I was number 84 on the standby list. (This makes it sounds as if they were useful and told me what place I was on the list.  That’s not what happened.  I had to move around the airport as the gates kept changing for the flights to Pittsburgh hoping that the board by the gate would display a list.  I waited 6 hours after being put on the list to see my position on it.)

There were only two planes left to go to Pittsburgh, both were overbooked, and they only hold 66 passengers each.  I found out they were overbooked as the woman I ended up spending the day with rang the airline.  She was put on hold for more than 30 minutes but eventually managed to speak to someone who told us that the rest of the flights were already overbooked before the delays and cancellations.

Thankfully, I have travel insurance.  So instead of sitting in the airport all night, as the airline staff suggested I do,  I am at the hotel in the airport.  My new friend and I went shopping last night so that I would have something clean to wear today (the airline refused to give me back my luggage as I still want to travel to Pittsburgh).

I’m hoping that things are better today.

Perl Needs Students

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

I’ve been reading about Google’s Summer of Code.

Google Summer of Code (GSoC) is a global program that offers student developers stipends to write code for various open source software projects.

The students who successfully complete the program will receive $4500 but the experience of taking part can be worth so much more than that.

When I was at university I applied for a summer scholarship in order to get £1000 (about $1400) for 10 weeks work.  I still remember how nervous I was applying.  There were only 10 places and the university had hundreds of eligible students.  My senior lecturer sponsored me to continue working on my final year dissertation project.  This was an application for the Apple Mac written in HyperTalk that showed connecting pathways in metabolic systems.

I got the place, finished the project, and decided against a career in biochemistry.  I spent the next four years working full-time and studying at night and just before I completed my  Masters I finally got the job I wanted – Junior Analyst Programmer.  It all seems like such a long time ago but I know that getting that scholarship made me realise that I had a chance at succeeding in computing.

One of the computing related things I do now is work for The Perl Foundation (TPF). TPF is hoping to take part in GSoC this year and  Jonathan Leto has posted a request on his blog asking the world-wide Perl Monger groups to encourage students to take part.

It’s impossible to know how many students use Perl.  But there is no doubt that we want to encourage students to both use and help develop the language.

Travel Planning

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

It’s nearly 2009 and I’m starting to plan my conference travel.  I need to find a balance between conferences I want to go to and realistic amounts of travel.  I am tempted to attend Frozen Perl at the start of February.  I’ve read the schedule, looked at hotels, the city, and even checked the price of flights.  But I will be travelling in January and the conference is much too close to my return to Tokyo.  It would exhaust me to go.

I really like living in Japan but it’s so far away from most of the conferences I want to attend.  I have actually fallen asleep at conferences because I was suffering from jet-lag.  I didn’t expect it to be so difficult for me to travel when I moved here but I am going to try to be realistic in my future travel plans.

I will attend YAPC::NA and YAPC::Europe.  I will probably attend YAPC::Asia but at the minute I’m not sure when it will be or if it will be in Tokyo this year.

Music Books and Clothes Pegs

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

I have been trying to learn to play a Weber piece but I keep getting frustrated with the music book.  I have no idea why these are bound in the same manner as ordinary books.  Why can’t they use something like a spiral bind so that the pages are easy for the pianist to turn mid-piece?

And not only can I not turn the pages but I am also having difficulty getting the book to stay open. So, I have to fold the book.  It’s bending the spine badly and also ruining the pages.  For some of the pieces I need to clip the pages in place with something like a clothes peg as the pages keep closing whilst I’m playing.  But this solution doesn’t work in a piece that requires the pages to be turned.

Music Book on Piano

Music Book on Piano