Lullaby of London

Posted on 21st December 2013

The 2013 London Perl Workshop Conference Survey results are now online.

Although percentage wise the submissions are up, the actual number of respondents are just slightly lower than previous years. Though it has to be said I'm still pleased to get roughly a third of attendees submitting survey responses. It might not give a completely accurate picture of the event, but hopefully we still get a decent flavour of it.

Two questions, which I plan to pay closer attention to in future surveys are; 'How do you rate your Perl knowledge?' and 'How long have you been programming in Perl?' Originally the age question usually gave some indication of how long someone had been using Perl, but from experience, I now know that doesn't work. As such, these two questions hopefully give us a better idea of the level of knowledge and experience of attendees. Perhaps unsurprisingly had a lot of attendees who have been around the Perl community for many years, particularly as it was the first non-US Perl Monger group. However, we do still see a notable number of people who are relatively new to Perl. It will be interesting to see whether these numbers change over the years, as although the community doesn't appear to be growing radically, it is still attracting first-time attendees.

Looking at the list of suggested topics, I was intrigued to see "Testing" in there. Apart from my own talk and Daniel Perrett's, there wasn't anything specifically about testing. I don't know if its because the older hands are more weary of giving test talks, or whether everyone thinks everything has been said, but I do think it's a topic that worth repeating. We regularly have new attendees who have never seen these talks before, so hopefully we'll see some more submitted at future workshops and YAPCs. There was also a lot of interest in practical uses of web frameworks. Although Andrew Solomon held a Dancer tutorial, seeing how to solve specific problems with web applications would be valuable to many. Having said that, the diverse range of subjects that was on offer at the workshop, was equally as interesting. I just hope Mark and Ian are so inundated with talks next year, we have an even greater choice from the schedule.

Thank you to Mark and Ian from organising another great Perl event, and thanks to all the speakers for making it worth attending. Also to all the attendees, especially those who took the time to respond to the survey, and for all the talk evaluations. I know the speakers appreciate the evaluations, as I've had a few thank yous already :)

Enjoy the results.

File Under: community / london / opensource / survey / workshop

London Calling

Posted on 7th February 2012

London Perl Workshop 2011 Survey - Results Now Online

London Perl Workshop 2011 Survey Results

I'm please to say that the survey results from the London Perl Workshop 2011 are now online. Slightly delayed due to Christmas and my new job, but worth the wait I think. This is the first time we've had a survey for the London Perl Workshop, so I was interested to see how the results differed from YAPCs. The attendees for the workshop differ from YAPCs, as although around 40% of attendees are well know within the Perl community and have attended YAPCs, most of the sttendees, like attendees for many other workshops around the world, don't have the resources or availability to attend a 3-5 day conference event. However, a one-day event, and especially a free event, makes a workshop much more accessible.

It was a shame that we only had 27% of attendees responding, but having said that while my personal aim is always to achieve more than 50% response, 27% is still a great response. As I've said previously, anything more than 10% is a good result. However, now we've done one, hopefully we can encourage more to respond this year :)

The demographic responses interestingly followed what we often see for YAPCs. I guess that may be because most of the respondees are YAPC attendees, but we still had several responses from those who have only attended London Perl Workshops, or for whom this was their first major event. The balance of Perl knowledge, although slightly weighted towards the more experience developeres, was also very pleasing to see with several beginners attending the event. Every year we have been looking to encourage newcomers to these events, as well as into the Perl community. After all, those learning Perl now are the Perl community's future. It was also great to see people being nominated or recommended to attend by colleagues and managers. The promotion of these events is obviously having the right effect.

I was intrigued to see that of all the respondees, 65 of them weren't speakers, with 30 willing to consider being a speaker in the future. Again this is something we should be encouraging, as newer speakers often have a different perspective on a subject, and can bring something new and fresh to the event. It was also encouraging that primary motivations for attending are to get together and meet other Perl developers. Events like The London Perl Workshop are a great way to introduce yourself to other developers you may have spoken to online, or are collaborating with on projects. They are a great way to promote your project, or get to know more about other projects.

In response to the question "What aspects of the conference do you feel gave value for money?", I was actually quite surprised to see comments along the lines of "Since it was free, I do not understand what "gave value for money" means." For those attendees who wondered that, how much did it cost you to attend the event? If you think your answer would be "nothing", consider the question beyond the attendance fee. How did you get there, did you walk, get the train, drive? What about your time, what would you have done that Saturday if you hadn't have gone to the event? Just because the event had no attendance fee, doesn't mean it cost you nothing to attend. Also think about what value it has given you in terms of enhancing your knowledge. Did you see talks or meet people that have inspired you, or given you a better understanding of something you were working on. There are lots of ways "value" can be interpreted beyond any monetary value.

It took a lot of people a lot of time and energy to put event like the London Perl Workshop on, not just Mark and his minions, but also the speakers and the sponsors. From their perspective it is good to know their efforts were appreciated. Thanks you to all those who did respond, and of those that didn't, hopefully we can encourage you to contribute your thoughts this year :)

File Under: london / perl / survey / workshop

Achilles Last Stand

Posted on 13th September 2007

So Led Zeppelin are reforming for a special tribute concert for Ahmet Ertegün. Following my rant last week about the ticket prices, I was a little disappointed to see all the tickets would be £125, but seeing as this is a one-off gig and all proceeds are going to support charities in Ahment's name, it is a little different.

I would love to go, but seeing as the gig is on Nicole's birthday (26th November 2007) and ticket prices is really a little more expensive than I would like, I probably won't. However, I am rather pleased to see an event like this being handle pretty well when it comes to tickets. Firstly they are being distributed by public ballot, which is likely to mean the real fans actually get the tickets. Harvey Goldsmith has also warned that anyone found selling their tickets on eBay will have them cancelled. It seems the promoters have thought about this with a little more care than some other concerts, where the tickets have sold out in seconds and largely to touts in the know, large corporations and those lucky enough to get through on the phones.

I would love to see the band, as I never got to see them back in the 70s. I only started going to gigs 8 months after John's death. Oddly enough the only member of the band I have ever met is John Bonham! But that's another story. A friend who was a few years older than me, got to see them at Knebworth in 1979 and recalled an amazing gig. One thing that did cross my mind about the forthcoming show is that they are being supported by several other acts. This is likely to mean you're only going to get about 60-90 minutes worth of Zep. For many who have never seen them this will be cherished, but back in their hey days, it wasn't uncommon for them to do nearly 3 hour sets.

For those of us that can't get to see the event, I'm really hoping it gets filmed and released in its entirety. If they ever do decide to tour though, I really hope that I can get to see them, as even all these years later, I'm pretty sure they are going to put on an amazing performance.

File Under: gigs / ledzeppelin / london / music

Where's Captain Kirk?

Posted on 6th June 2007

I've just seen the unveiled logo to promote the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Hideous is one word to describe it, although there are several more I've read. It does amaze me how companies and organisations place so much trust in marketing and advertising companies, when their own staff or the general public are often only too willing to help and suggest much better alternatives. The Daily Mail has a gallery of reader logos and in the paper there are several more that are far better than the official design.

I'm actually quite surprised that this wasn't opened up to a public competition, perhaps run by Blue Peter who have a history of helping to create classic images for this sort of thing. It would have been cheaper for a start, a prize of a few thousand pounds would have been far less than the £400,000 spent on the effort a "professional" company could produce. I'm off to sign the petition at, not that'll do any good, but hopefully someone will see sense and realise that such a bad wave of criticism is not good, and will likely mean a distinct lack of support from the very people who are supposed to be benefiting from the event, the British people.

The other thing that gets me, is that it is now unlawful to use our capital's name and the year the Olympics will be held there, together in anything that consistutes public material (e.g. a website). Read their rules to see how far they take absurdity. Technically then I cannot legally promote the games, mention the website or even link to it. So maybe I should remove that last link and hope you can find it! Idiots. I can understand why the branding should be for the sole use by the sponsors for merchandising, promotion and to label products, but to say that unless I gain the permission of the committee I am not allowed to mention the name or use the logo to link to the official site is just too daft to mention. But then again I'd not want to advertise the current logo anyway :)

File Under: design / london / olympics / rant

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