Heaven, Hell or Houston

Posted on 3rd July 2007

YAPC::NA 2007

YAPC::NA 2007

Last week saw me attending the 2007 YAPC::NA Perl Conference in Houston, Texas. Well not just attending, but speaking too. I did 3 regular talks, hosted one BOF and took part in another. You can read the full gory details over on my technical journal.

The conference is a grassroots affair, and is now traditionally hosted annually by the local Perl Monger user group. This year it was a joint effort by Houston.pm and BrazosValley.pm, and was an admirable effort considering that none of the organisers had been to a YAPC before. A number of people had said they weren't attending because it was Houston, but seeing as the town is famous for Lyndon B Johnston Space Center and ZZ Top, I couldn't believe it was that bad, and indeed it wasn't. Though I didn't get a chance to wander around the town, as the University is quite a distance from the town centre, and the local transport system consists of taxis.

I have lots of photos to get through, including a trip to the Space Center, which I'll be posting soon, and I'm getting better with my camera. I seem to have taken several good photos, but having said that there were the fair share of blurred or out of focus ones too. At a conference like this, it gets frustrating when I think I've taken a good shot, then later view it on the laptop and discover it isn't as good as I thought. You never get a second chance. But I am getting better at holding the camera still and taking some nice closeups.

YAPC::NA 2007 This Way

YAPC::NA 2007 This Way

Since I bought a 2GB xD memory card, I can now take 30 minutes worth of video. It meant I was able to video a few talks, but it also meant I discovered more of the limitations of the camera. The camera's main function is to take pictures not video, so some aspects are understandably lacking when taking video, such as being able to zoom in/out. Although you can adjust zoom before videoing, once you press record it's fixed. I assume this is because the problems with auto-focusing. Still it did mean I got to watch the talks again later :)

While Houston was hot, it was pouring with torential rain when I arrived, and did so during my stay there too. The humidity was high and occassionally felt like I was breathing in water, but for the most part we were inside in the air-conditioning, so it wasn't really that much of a problem. Apparently the cockroaches are much more of a problem, though I only saw a few on the pavements. Those staying in the dorms seem to see them at every turn. We even joked that Jose was taking a family home with him. What I saw of Houston I liked, but had they had a decent local train or bus service I might well have visited more of the town.

The conference itself was good, and I got to speak to several people, both familiar faces and newcomers. It meant there was quite a difference in the expectations and the response to talks. I think most got something out of the event, but I can't help think that the beginner type talks were a bit thin on the ground this year. I'm going to see whether I can change that and plan to work on some new material to have a go at for next year. If nothing else, it'll provide plenty of material for the 2008 Birmingham Perl Mongers World Tour :)


YAPC::NA 2007

I'm glad you enjoyed the conference and our often times rainy and/or scorchingly hot city. It's too bad that Houston gets a bad wrap on so many counts, it's really not a bad place to live/work/play. And while I'd rather let the record stand that none of us [organizers] had attended YAPC before, the truth is that both Jeremy and I attended YAPC last year, a first for each of us. So, considering that we only had 2 collective year's (or is it weeks?) experience between the 5 of us, I still think we did a pretty good job :) Most of the recognition goes to Jeremy and Wade, they did an outstanding job of pulling the conference together!

Posted by Will Willis on Thursday, 5th July 2007

Great Job

Jeremy corrected me too about you and him attending Chicago. Either way, you all did a fantastic job, and I really enjoyed myself. It was a shame that some didn't come Houston, but I still enjoyed visiting the city, and will definitely be back again in the future with the family.

Posted by Barbie on Friday, 6th July 2007

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