Send-a-newbie, the report
I arrived in Pisa in the afternoon of the day before. After settling in my hotel it was soon time for the pre-conference meeting at a typical Italian piazza near my hotel. Fortunately for me the bunch of unfamiliar perl hackers were recognizable as such from a distance. I ended up meeting a lot of people, including some familiar names. It was also my introduction to drinkers.pm, the ad-hoc perl monger group assembling on evenings around Perl conferences ;-).
A busy day! I had to get up early to be at the venue on time, despite not having slept as much as I would have liked to. Once I was there and had registered it was time for Larry's keynote presentation. It was very funny and typically Larry. The rest of they day I followed lots of interesting talks &endash; on dynamism, CPAN Testers, XS++ and one not about a troll at all. I was kind of busy preparing my own lightning talk though. Despite Open Office's resistance I managed to present it and I think it was well received. After the daytime program there was the dinner. I had a really good time there but I do have to warn the next generation of newbies: Tim Bunce is a great guy but sitting next to him makes your todo list grow rapidly. And of course the evening ended with meeting of drinkers.pm.
I visited talks on syntax plugins, OP-tree parsing, Perl 6, DBIx::Class, database support in Perl 6 and migration strategies as well as a set of lightning talks. I was pretty tired during the day due to the previous days. Afterwards there was the London.pm meeting, which looked rather much like the drinkers.pm meetings: what a surprise.
The final day. With talks on a language implementation, large platform architecture, Moose, and the Perl community and more lighting talks. After that followed the White camel awards and the auction. The auction was done in an entertaining way, but it did take rather long. In the silent auction I managed to get one book I wanted to buy for less money than I expected to pay for it and it even turned out to be signed by one of its authors. Even nicer was that as this year's newbie I got to choose a book for free at the O'Reilly stand. My first choice was already sold out on the first day, but I found a good alternative. I did manage to get the author to sign it though. You can probably guess by now what happened in the evening
Zzzzzz. I was planning on doing some sight-seeing before my flight, but I was exhausted and that didn't happen. In fact I fell asleep in the plane before it even took off. I had no idea a conference could be this exhausting.
It was awesome. Really, it was. Both the official program and the unofficial one. The latter gets less attention than the former, but meeting other perl hackers and having the time to talk with them and getting to know them is just as important.
Anyway, thanks to EPO for organizing Send-a-newbie and thanks to everyone who donated to make this possible.