In The Clouds

Posted on 1st July 2008

My photos are finally online from the YAPC::NA Conference in Chicago. Although many of the outdoor photos have come out well, many of the indoor ones haven't. For the conference itself, the main room was too dark on stage to really catch the speakers well, and all though the other two rooms were well lit, the speakers always seemed to move at the wrong moment. I think it might have helped if I';d have used my tripod a bit more, but I really do need a good digital SLR.

I did want to add lots of tags and things to all the photos, but that's just going to have to wait until I have more time. In the mean time, enjoy.

For those that only want to see the conference related photos, these are they:

For those who just want to see the sights of Chicago, then you'll more likely want to see these:

As an added bonus I'm piecing together some of the photos I took during the Speakers Party, where we were able to get a grand view of the city. At the moment I have only uploaded 1, but hope to get the other two sorted soon.

File Under: chicago / community / conference / opensource / people / photography / sightseeing / yapc

Sweet Home Chicago

Posted on 23rd June 2008

Last week I was in Chicago for YAPC::NA. It was great event and a great city. I was there 2 years ago for the conference, and got to see some of the city then, so this time around I opted to find some other places to discover. I've still left plenty to discover, so next time I return I plan to finally get to go up the Hancock Tower and do the Ganster Tour.

The conference itself was at the IIT, on the south side of Chicago, and a short walk from the L. On the first day I gave a talk entitled "Understanding Malware", during which David E Wheeler thankfully caught me on camera, so at least I have one photo of me speaking :) On the second day I gave my "How To Be A CPAN Tester" talk, which seemed to go down well. I'll write more about the conference on my use.perl blog, but over the next week I hope to get my photos up online. Unfortunately the quality of the photos hasn't been as good as previous efforts, as I seemed to struggle with focus and light most of the time. Looking at some of the guys taking pictures throughout the event, I dearly need a DSLR. Hopefully this time next year my wish will come true.

My thanks to Theory for allowing me to include the photo he took of me at the conference here.

File Under: chicago / conference / yapc

Route 66

Posted on 7th March 2008

As mentioned in a previous post, I'm planning to attend YAPC::NA in June. I've now submitted my talk proposals for Understanding Malware and an updated version of How To Be A CPAN Tester. The deadline for proposals is next week, so hopefully I'll hear fairly soon whether they have accept either talk. I'm also planning to host a CPAN Testers BOF for testers, authors and interested parties to meet and discuss issues and/or the future of CPAN testing.

File Under: chicago / conference / opensource / perl / yapc

Obscured By Clouds

Posted on 21st January 2008

The John Hancock Building from Sears Tower

The John Hancock Building from Sears Tower

The other day I was looking up something about tall buildings. I got sidetracked and started looking up some of the tall buildings and towers that I've been too. Then I discovered there are also several that are under construction or in the planning stage.

I've always loved climbing up really high and looking at the view. When I was a kid I climbed a sand derek at a disused sand quarry near Brereton in Cheshire, now known as Brereton Heath Local Nature Reserve. It was probably about 100ft high and swayed when you got to the top. We shouldn't have climbed up and the area should have been more protected from curious kids than it was, but as far as I know there were no incidents.

Since then I've been fortunate that two locations for YAPC::NAs I've been to, Toronto and Chicago hold the title of tallest tower and building (including antenna) respectively, The CN Tower and Sears Tower. The views are incredible. However, since the current tallest buildings (minus antenna) are in places where it's unlikely I'm going to get to any time soon, it was quite intriguing to discover that Chicago, hosts of the 2008 YAPC::NA, is in the construction of The Chicago Spire, expected to open in 2011. All being well I'll be in Chicago during this summer and I plan to visit the construction site. Not sure how much I'll get to see, but it'll be interesting to get photos now and return in a few years time to see the end result.

File Under: chicago / sightseeing

Rockin' the Paradise

Posted on 25th May 2007

The Sears Tower, Chicago

The Sears Tower, Chicago

In June 2006 I attended and spoke at the YAPC::NA Perl Conference in Chicago. It was great to meet up with several people I'd met in Toronto, but it was also a bit odd discovering that I wasn't as anonymous as I was last year. In Europe more people recognise me as I've been to every YAPC::Europe Perl Conference and have been involved in several other activities where people have got to know me. But apart from my appearance at OSCON in 2000 (when nobody bar the guys knew me), I wasn't expecting to be so easily recognised. It was good to put a number of names to faces though and it was a very enjoyable conference.

There was one downside though. On the morning of the last day of the conference I got called by work. Seeing as I was part of the CPR team, I was oncall 24/7 regardless of the fact I wasn't in the UK. Thankfully I didn't have to worry about it conflicting with my talk as I'd already done it. However, it did mean I had to disappear for a while as I set up jobs to go and do the task I needed to do. I'm rather glad that firstly I used screen and secondly that I'd got all the jobs running that I needed to. As while getting up to plug in the power cable, my laptop got knocked on the floor. Had I powered down and shut the laptop, it might not have been so bad, however, it was open and running. I managed to truly trash the laptop, as later investigation seemed to indicate the bus connector to both the DVD/CD writer and the hard disk drive had been damaged beyond repair. Despite swapping the HDD to another laptop, it also appears I complete wrecked the connectors to the HDD. There wasn't enough on the drive (apart from the photos I'd taken over the first few days) to warrant paying for it to be scanned professionally, so it got binned.

At first I thought that I'd now lost all my photos from the conference and was a little downhearted. As a consequence I didn't take the camera to the speakers dinner event that Josh and Heather had laid on after the conference, and I didn't bother taking any photos the following day either. Thankfully, JJ gave me a program to recover image files from portable media, and got back pretty much everything bar the first day of the conference, which unfortunately are now lost due to me writing over them with pictures from the last day. The lesson I've learnt is that to use multiple media to record photos and don't write over anything until you've had a chance to back them all up safely.

The conference was great though, and I did enjoy wandering around the city. On the first day Cog and I went up to the Skydeck of The Sears Tower, walked down to see The Water Tower and visited The Apple Store, where we caught quite a cool band, called The Ruse. For the Early Arrivals Dinner, we ended up near Wrigley Field, where the White Sox play, while the conference itself is close to ? where the Cubs play. Didn't get to see a game, but I do plan to revisit the city again. I never even took the time to check out any blues clubs, so I owe it to myself to go back really ;)

This year's conference is in Houston, so I'm hoping I can go and visit the Saturn rocket at The Lyndon B Johnson Space Centre while I'm there.

File Under: chicago / conference / perl / yapc

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