Waiting for Summer

Monday, January 9th, 2012

Perl Oasis takes place in Orlando this weekend.  I had hoped to attend but I decided in November that I probably wasn’t well enough to attempt the journey.  I have been once before and I really enjoyed the workshop.  Actually, I’ve enjoyed all of the Perl workshops that I have attended.  They tend to be smaller than the YAPC conferences and while I am happy that more people are attending YAPCs I’m not fond of crowds.

At the minute it looks like the first conference I’ll attend this year with be YAPC::NA in Madison.  Looking at my travel schedule I should have been able to make the German Perl Workshop in March but I only noticed the dates of that workshop yesterday.  It’s too late for me to change my plans but it’s a bit annoying that I will arrive in Europe on the day the workshop ends.  I am flying to Ireland but I could easily have stopped over in Germany.

I read so many things about Perl every week but I haven’t found a good way to know when Perl events are taking place.  The other summer conference I’m hoping to attend is  YAPC::EU but there are no dates for this conference yet.  I hope they are available soon as my other commitments are beginning to need attention and may eat up my summer.

Ada Lovelace Day: Jacinta Richardson

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Ada Lovelace Day is an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.  Since I am involved with the Perl community it seemed natural for me to begin there when trying to decide who to write about.  I found it quite difficult to pick one woman.  At times we bemoan the small number of women in the community but every one that I have met has been impressive in some way.

Last year I met Jacinta Richardson at YAPC::EU.  I had heard of Jacinta’s work.  I knew that she had been awarded a White Camel award, I knew that she was a successful Perl trainer, and I knew that she wrote Perl Tips.  Last year I got to see that she is also a great conference speaker, and to see first hand why she was given a White Camel.  Not only is she technically brilliant but she also has a desire to bring out the potential in other people.  She really wants to see improvement in the Perl community and is willing to work hard to see that happen.

Even though I have only known her for a short time Jacinta’s impact on the Perl community has affected me.  Without Jacinta’s support and encouragement I would never have been a keynote speaker at OSDC Australia last year.  Being given that opportunity is making it easier for me to prepare for this year’s conference season.  Thank you, Jacinta.  I look forward to seeing your future achievements.

Tissue Paper Man

Friday, March 5th, 2010

A while ago I joined the Perl Iron Man Challenge to motivate me to write more regularly about Perl.  I’m not sure how successful that has been.  I was reading Leonard’s post about how he finds it hard to come up with a topic every week, but he has managed to do this for eight months.  I think the longest consecutive run for me was eight weeks.

I should have things to write about as I am working on a variety of community projects.  But lots of what I do isn’t overly exciting and I find it hard to be inspired to write about it.  Even when I am really pleased about something, like Dave Mitchell’s grant being accepted, I can’t think of anything much to say.  Maybe someday I’ll get better at this.

Summer Travel

Monday, February 8th, 2010

I’m not back in Tokyo yet but I have already started to arrange my summer travel.  It needs to be done, because I want to travel using airline miles, but at this point I feel like I never want to travel again.  I’m out of luck though since at the minute I’m sitting at the airport waiting to board a 15 hour flight.

Registration has opened for YAPC::NA and I do plan to attend.  I have also been trying to work YAPC::EU into my travel plans.  That’s proving a lot harder as I have visitors this summer.  I’m trying to decide if it will be worth attending even if I only make the last day.  I really do want an opportunity to meet up with the European Perl Mongers.

$foo Interview

Saturday, January 30th, 2010

The new edition of $foo magazine has been released and it contains an interview on the current state of The Perl Foundation.

“Nach 2008, 2009 gibt es jetzt zum dritten Mal ein Interview zum Thema “State of TPF”. Für diese Ausgabe stand neben Richard Dice auch Karen Pauley für das Gespräch zur Verfügung.”

An English version of the original interview has been published on the $foo site.

This was the first time I have ever been interviewed and I found it difficult. I worry if answers are too short or too long, too glib or too detailed, or just too boring.   I probably worry too much.

Perl Oasis++

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

There are times I wish that the world was a smaller place or that I lived closer to the conferences I want to attend.  Getting to Orlando took a long time.  I was flying from Tokyo via Seoul and New York.  The detour to Seoul added about 5 hours to the trip but it did mean that I was able to fly in business class.  I am willing to trade the extra time for the ability to sleep on the plane.   It was a bit horrifying though to fly over Tokyo 10 hours after I had left my apartment that morning.

I also wish that travelling was more pleasant.   To travel you have to be willing to queue for hours and to allow people to go through your luggage.  You have to be prepared to remove your shoes and belts and to let a stranger run their hands over your body.  You have to be pleasant while someone asks you questions about your intentions and takes your picture and finger prints.  And you have to be prepared to put up with whatever silly security precaution the airports are going to run with next.

The new procedures for flying into America seemed pointless to me.  All my hand luggage had been x-rayed so I don’t know what they expected to find by opening up my handbag and having a quick glance inside.

Thankfully, Perl Oasis was an excellent conference and worth the time spent travelling.

I attend a lot of conferences and I’m always on the look out for the things that improve the attendees experience.  At this conference I loved the basket of travel accessories that was at the registration desk.  The organisers had put together the sorts of things that people forget to bring with them and were giving them away for free.  It’s a lovely idea and I took a packet of anti-histamine tablets as I keep forgetting the air conditioners in hotels drive my sinuses mad.

Essential Items

Essential Items

Conferences in 2010

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

I used to think of conferences as something that happened in the summer, and a northern hemisphere summer at that.  Now I know that there are conferences that I could attend in every month of the year, if I had the time, money, or inclination.

The first conference I’ll be attending in 2010 is Perl Oasis and it’s taking place in Florida next weekend.  I won’t be speaking.  It will probably take me until April to have new talks written for 2010.  I had also wanted to go to Frozen Perl, but I’ve decided that it’s a bit expensive.  Not the actual conference, it’s low-cost at $100 (US), but the flights and hotel would cost me more than $1000.  As well as the cost there is the cold.  It is being held in Minneapolis, which is expecting a low of -23°C today.  In the past this has appealed to me but I’ve already had enough travel hassle in the past month due to cold weather to make me want to avoid this where I can.

This year I’m not going to attend  I enjoyed the conference last year but the four days I spent in hospital with food poisoning after the conference has put me off, even though I know it wasn’t the conference that caused the illness.  I do want to attend some non-Perl conferences again this year but I’m not sure which ones yet.  Gabor has been organising an events team on behalf of TPF to attend FOSDEM and CeBIT but I’m going to be in America during FOSDEM and won’t be able to travel to Germany at the start of March for CeBIT.

The main Perl conferences of the year take place between June and September.  So far, there is no information on YAPC::NA apart from the fact that it will be held in Columbus, Ohio.  I’m hoping that it takes place some time in June as this year family commitments will prevent me from attending conferences in July and early August.  This means I won’t be going to OSCON and I won’t be able to attend YAPC::EU.  I’m disappointed that I will miss YAPC::EU as I’ve been to the past 9.

As for the rest of the year I haven’t decided yet.  There’s been noises made about a Vancouver Perl Workshop and I really enjoyed OSDC in Australia this year.  But I think I’ll wait until I finish my next trip before I make any more decisions.

OSDC Australia: Keynote

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

Last Wednesday was the first time I ever gave a keynote at a conference.  I have been the first speaker at a conference before, but those talks were called something else so I’m not going to count them.   As always I was really nervous before I spoke.  It doesn’t matter if my talk is a keynote or not, if the audience contains 20 people or 2,000, I always feel this way.

The talk I gave, Understanding Volunteers,  was a variant on one I had given at YAPC::EU and YAPC::NA earlier this year.  The new version is longer.  I added additional material on the need to belong and made sure I had examples of a variety of different Open Source communities.  I was able to keep in most of my Perl community examples and I imagine I would be forgiven if there was a bit of a Perl community focus.  I am, after all, the Vice-President of The Perl Foundation.

Perl in February

Saturday, October 31st, 2009

Gabor has been asking for volunteers to help out at a Perl stand at FOSDEM next year.  I attended FOSDEM in 2006 and I can’t remember hearing Perl mentioned at the conference.  This surprised me and I think it’s great that Gabor wants to change this.

Unfortunately I won’t be able to attend.  I’m going to be in America in January for Perl Oasis and I plan to stay until Frozen Perl, which happens to be the same weekend as FOSDEM.

Not Only Perl

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

I worry that I live in a Perl Monger bubble.  That the only things I hear about Perl come from a small group of people that I often refer to as the Perl Community.  To try to change this I have started to attend conferences that cover other topics along with Perl.

In November I will be attending OSDC Australia.  I am giving a modified version of the talk I presented at YAPC::EU.  I had always planned to change some of the words but today I realised that I also need to change some of the pictures.  The talk is about volunteers.  It’s a topic that’s relevant to most Open Source projects.  But the images I use are more suited to the Perl community than they would be to any other.  When I attend a Perl conference I expect nearly everyone in the room to recognise a picture of Larry Wall.  I can put up pictures of Jesse, Ingy, and Matt, and people understand my point.  That’s not going to happen at a general Open Source conference.

I’m certainly not planning on cutting out all references to Perl but I need to spend some time thinking about the audience.