I Got Six (YAPCs)

[This is my sixth YAPC / TPC—technically, my first TPC.  If you like, you can read about my other YAPC experiences: YAPC 2011, YAPC 2013, YAPC 2014, YAPC 2015, YAPC 2016.]

After missing a year last year, I came back to attend YAPC this year.  (Yes, yes: “The Perl Conference,” now.  But it’ll probably always be “YAPC” to me.)  And I actually spoke again (second time), this time on dates and my Date::Easy module.  If you missed it and are interested in watching it, the video is up.

This year was in Salt Lake City again, and, while I normally don’t like repeating cities (mainly because I like visiting new places instead), I do have to say the Little America Hotel is every bit the excellent venue that I remembered.  Plus it’s just barely close enough to where I live that I can drive there and take the whole family, and do a sort of “conferenscation.” Which is what we did.

My highlights from this year:

  • I think the most exciting thing I heard about at the conference this year was Test2.  I was able to attend Chad Granum’s first talk on it, although I missed the second talk (but I will definitely watch the video as soon as I can, now that it’s up).  There’s a lot of very cool things I want to try out for both my personal projects and at $work.
  • The keynote this year was from VM Brasseur, and it was on the importance of inclusivity and diversity in our community, and how we really needed to do better.  I gather some people weren’t pleased to hear that we had so much room for improvement.  I personally was glad someone was bold enough to stand up and point out our shortcomings.  Plus Vicky always gives a great talk.
  • As a counterpoint to the above, it at least seemed like the conference is getting more and more diverse.  Just by gut feeling, I felt there were more young people, more women, more people of color, and so forth, both at the microphones and in the audience, than in years past.  Which felt good.
  • There was a bit of an update on Stevan Little’s efforts to get a MOP into core.  I enjoyed this, but I wasn’t sure how much new material was in the talk since the last time I saw it (which would be at YAPC 2016).  Certain parts sound very promising, but it definitely needs something at least vaguely Moose-like to sit on top of it and make it a bit easier to use (which, to be fair, is why he refers to it as a “MOP” and not as an “object system”).
  • Ansible got mentioned several times.  Our company is still on Puppet, but it sounds like Ansible may be a more popular option.  Perhaps we should consider switching.
  • I also got to have that weird experience that is not that uncommon in our community: I met someone for the first time that I used to work with.  In this case it was Chris Nandor (a.k.a. Pudge), who was at Slashdot while I was at ThinkGeek.  Ostensibly we collaborated on my upgrade of TG’s database rearchitecture, although I think said collaboration was primarily limited to a few email exchanges and maybe one conference call.  But, still, I had (and still have) a great respect for the folks behind the Slashdot DB (i.e., Pudge and Jamie McCarthy), who kept that site up and running under conditions that would have driven many lesser minds insane.  Chris was the “room moderator” during my talk (meaning he got to hold up the signs letting me know how much time I had left; if you see me giving a thumbs-up a few times during my talk, that’s Chris I’m giving it to), and we also went out to lunch on the final day.  He’s truly a great guy and I really enjoyed meeting him (finally).  Also, he gave an insanely awesome lightning talk, which you absolutley must watch.  Right now.
  • I bought a stuffed Camelia for my daughter.  She won’t technically be a seven-year-old girl for another 9 months or so, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to get her an early start.
  • Things from lightning talks that I want to investigate further when I have some time:
  • Bad Movie Night was just as amazing as always.  This year Dave Adler and DrForr (a.k.a. Jeff Goff) organized an outing to see the live RiffTrax of Space Mutiny, and I brought along the eldest two of my children, and a few other intrepid Perlers joined us.  That was great, and then we came back to the hotel, where even more bad movies were already in progress, and watched the tail end of Starcrash (David Hasselhoff saves the universe!), and then the RiffTrax of I Believe in Santa Claus, after which I think might have to stop believing in Santa Claus, because, if he were really that annoying, nothing would ever get done on Christmas.  Ah, but who am I kidding?  Of course Santa rescues kidnapped French parents from African warlords!  Two-timing Mrs. Claus with that spunky fairy godmother was a bit of a shock, but I don’t judge.

Things I learned:

  • Geez, does EVERYONE work for ZipRecruiter?
  • Paradox is real, because our government bureaucracy is both wildly inefficient and amazing at routing around government bureaucracy.
  • Elk like to nibble willow trees.
  • Tonal languages are way harder than I thought they were.
  • There were 42,786 chainsaw accidents in 1994.  Unclear how many were related to juggling.
  • Abigail is responsible for Sawyer’s sanity, but is apparently not doing a very good job.
  • study does the same thing in Perl 6 that it does in Perl 5.
  • NY.pm is a drinking group with a programming problem.
  • You have to smoke a lot of weed for Stevan Little’s brain to make sense.
  • I am a David enthusiast.
  • We all have a lot more in common than it seems.

I also would like to thank the folks who work very tirelessly (and closer to thanklessly than they should) to organize and run this event.  Lena Hand in particular was always working her butt off every time I saw her, but all the folks did a magnificent job.  Whatever problems I noted were fixed very quickly, and certain things went more smoothly than one would have thought possible.  For instance, a lot of the videos of talks went up less than 24 hours after being presented!  That’s pretty amazing turnaround.  And we had our own network, so bandwidth was never an issue (which it nearly always has been in the past).  I can only imagine how much work it takes to pull off this event, and it amazes me that you see many of the same folks as organizers year after year.  Kudos to them all.

Overall, I was very pleased to see some old friends and learn some new bits of Perl.  I hope I have the opportunity to go again next year.

1 Comment

Thanks for sharing your experience. I have never come across any other conferences where the talk video is up in 24 hours time.

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About Buddy Burden

user-pic 14 years in California, 25 years in Perl, 34 years in computers, 55 years in bare feet.