Reboot All The Things - My thoughts on this years YAPC::NA

There is an old saying that "distance makes the heart grow fonder", and watching Matt Trout talking at YAPC::NA this year filled me with the mixed emotions embodied within that saying. I am simultaneously sad that I was not there to correct Matt's swiss cheese memory of past events and happy that I wasn't around to witness his sad excuse for a beard. But alas, this blog post is about much more then Matt's physiology.

Nothing makes me miss all the wonderful folks in the Perl community as not being able to get to YAPC::NA. So while I have not yet watched all of the videos, I did watch the 6 (count them, six!!!) keynotes, and I wanted to just post about my impressions of them.

Lets start with Mark Keating's monday morning keynote. As usual Mark's production values were top notch, having both music and video in his presentation. His goal was — I believe — to show with numbers that Perl is not only not dead but it is growing, and that much of the metrics out there are quite simply, ... utter crap. I think he did just that, in his always entertaining way, bravo Mark. Also it was nice to see that I wasn't the only person to have trouble with slides during a YAPC keynote.

Then came Larry's keynote — as he has many times before — he showed off some of the new and exciting features of Perl 6. It is really good to see Larry in good health and back to his old self again, the world has not yet extracted all the precious weirdness that is in his brain and it would have been far too early to say good bye to someone as interesting and awesome as him, Long Live Larry! I look forward to the many more Perl 6 Christmases to come.

After that was ... HOLY SHIT THEY GOT CHARLIE STROSS TO DO A KEYNOTE! This was the biggest reason I found myself kicking myself constantly over my choice of moving dates. I would have really loved to see this talk in person, but oh well, I guess I will just have to wait until YAPC::NA 2034 instead.

Once again Matt Trout gave his State of the Velociraptor talk, and by once again, I mean he gave like 1/3 of the talk he gave last year. Does this mean we are stagnating by 33% or did Matt just decide to slack off and drink at the pub 33% more, who knows, but it is good to see "Grandma" mst up and mobile after his hip accident.

Then, ... the joy I experienced in watching Sawyer give his first Keynote entitled the "The Joy in What We Do". I have only known Sawyer for a couple years now, I think we first really hung out at the YAPC::NA in Madison, WI, which was followed by hanging out at YAPC::EU in Frankfurt later that year, and still more hanging out in Amsterdam, very soon to be followed by daily hugs at the offices of I can think of very few people — aside from my 4 year old toddler — who have as much energy as Sawyer, and watching him express that both physically and through his talk subject was great, seriously great.

Lastly, the honorable Dr. John S. J. Anderson gave what I would have to say is one of the best talks I have seen at YAPC in a long time (if ever). I've known John for a while now and we've spent many a Perl conference hanging out and talking (and drinking and talking & talking and drinking), we were also co-workers for almost 2 years (until I had to up and quit, #dammitstevan). I know that this talk has been aging inside John's head for a number of years and I have to say this YAPC::NA was the best time to un-cask it. As John said, he was the speaker coordinator this year, and he did his best to create the YAPC that he wanted to go to. Based on the talks I have watched and the feedback I have heard, he absolultely succeeded. John's idea that we, as a community, are maturing for the better, is something I think a lot of us who have been around a while knew but didn't know how to articulate (I guess that is what a PhD buys you). I really only have one thing to say to John, and that is "Thank You".

And the last thing I wanted to mention was that last year I gave a keynote entitled "Perl - The Detroit of Scripting Languages" and this year an effort was made to revive the Detroit Perl Mongers group. I think this effort to bring back is actually a perfect metaphor for this years YAPC::NA. I choose Detroit for a number of reasons which I explained in the talk, but one in particular was that there were people who hadn't given up on Detroit, who were working hard to rebuild it. Maybe not to what it once was, but instead to something different and better.

The Reboot of, the Reboot of YAPC::NA, the Reboot of and the Reboot of the Perl community totally just proves John's point all the more, our community is mature, resilient and ready to take it to the next level.

I look forward to seeing all of you on IRC and again in real life at future YAPC::{NA,EU,Asia,etc}!

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About Stevan Little

user-pic I blog about Perl.