It’s two days to OSCON, but it seems like the conference has already started. I’ve iChatted with some of the people already at the conference hotel, I’ve been deluged with press releases since I am on the press list, and Randal Schwartz and I are already making plans for tomorrow night.
Tonight I have to pack. For the past month there has been a large box in the corner of my office that has gradually filled up with the things I have to remember to take to Portland. At the bottom are some goodies I brought back from Iraq as presents for the kind people who sent me things while I was deployed. There is a lot of Stonehenge Consulting stuff in the middle: my Stonehenge ball cap, polo shirts, and “Ask me about Perl Training” button). On the top is all of my airplane reading (Apocalypse 12, anyone?), my online check-in plane tickets, a hard copy of the conference schedule with notes by the things I want to see and question marks next to the things I probably should see.
I figure I should bring along BUGS in Writing, which I’m reading now at Nat Torkington’s suggestion, or bring Refactoring by Martin Fowler which I want to read again and more carefully this time. However, I know those books will end up as ballast, especially since I am staying at Randal’s house in the woods. For the same reason, I probably won’t bring any DVDs with me either.
My luggage is the least of the stuff I am bringing to the conference, though, since most of that stuff I am not even bringing myself. FedEx should deliver a big box of The Perl Review which people can get from me or one of my guerilla distributors (hopefully for a small donation so we can pay the authors). I have some new audio equipment somewhere in the UPS pipeline because I want to walk around with a microphone recording people talk about Perl for my new audio Perl anthropology project. I’m sending some other stuff ahead too, and I have a page full of phone numbers and tracking numbers that I’m checking each day. Somehow these things always end up being a last minute deal.
Although I am going to talk to a lot of Perl and technology people, these conferences are the chance for me to meet lots of behind-the-scenes people, like the editors and publicists for the books I want to review in TPR, or the nice people at O’Reilly who make the conference work (shout outs to Nat, Vee, Gina, and Angela) or put up with my never-ending requests (Suzanne, Denise, Betsy, and Marsee).
It will probably be the same story this year though: they’ll roll their eyes when I try to pitch my idea for an O’Reilly Bookshelf: not a collection of books, but actual shelves with little brackets you could slide onto the edges to demarcate the green books from the blue ones from the magenta ones. The sides of the shelves have actual etchings of the pictures on the cover. Imagine buying a ready-made library: just take off the cardboard of the shipping box and you have a complete collection of O’Reilly books (Unix, Windows, or Mac flavors) already sorted and shelved. I know the technology for this exists, because there is at least one company that does it for school libraries. Okay, so maybe you think it’s a dumb idea too. :)
I won’t actually start making a plan for the conference until I get on the plane, but I’m not going to try to hard at that because things change. I know I will be at the Stonehenge party (which I think is Wednesday, but I don’t know where), and at the Dyson lectures (just to say I saw three generations of Dysons), but beyond that it’s probably me wandering the halls talking to people.
I might try to keep a moblog, which means I should set up email on my Nokia 3650. What would really be interesting is a audio moblog since my phone also takes dictation. Hmmm… as usual, I’m setting myself up for too much at the conference. I always want to do too much.