Last week I was at the annual YAPC::Europe conference which was held this year in Birmingham. It had been a few years since I’d been to a YAPC, but this one was so much fun that I’m kicking myself for missing the last two. In this report, I talk about the first day of the conference.
I arrived in Birmingham on Tuesday afternoon and went straight to my hotel to work on the slides for my Advanced Databases for Beginners that I was giving the next day. As I got hungry, I wandered down to the hotel lobby where I found a few Perl Mongers milling around. Greg McCarroll pointed out that as we were in Birmingham the law clearly stated that we had to eat curry, so the two of us wandered off to find the nearest curry house (about a minute’s walk from the hotel) before going on to the bar where pre-registration was being held.
In the bar, having picked up my swag bag, I settled down to socialise with the European Perl community. And ended up largely talking to Americans. It’s always a pleasure to discuss old British TV shows with David Adler of NY.pm and it was particularly enjoyable to finally meet Curtis “Ovid” Poe face to face after what seems like years of corresponding by email.
The next day, the conference started. The opening announcements were given in English but simultaneously translated into Japanese and Morse code (the language of the opening announcements having been one of the items auctioned off at last year’s conference). This was followed by Jose Castro giving a useful talk on “how to get the most out of a YAPC” (offer to buy beer for people you want to talk to), Larry Wall’s keynote and Ovid telling us about the good work done by the Perl Foundation.
After a coffee break I stayed in the main hall to hear Jose talk more about the Perl community, Stray Toaster ranting slightly about how inaccessible Perl code can be (a slightly contrary talk given that the conferences theme was “the accessibility of Perl”) and Thomas Klausner explaining how to get IRC addicts to pay attention to your talk. He basically does this by flooding the conference IRC channel with the text of his slides.
Following a quick lunch, I spent the afternoon giving my database tutorial. The room was pretty nearly full and people asked lots of interesting questions, so I think it all went pretty well.
I find giving a three hour presentation to be pretty tiring so I decided that I would just sit in the hotel bar that evening. But fortunately, it turned into one of those evenings when just about every attendee passed through the bar at some point, so I got to spend time talking with many interesting people. The party was still going strong as I sloped off at about eleven.