Earlier this month, I was at YAPC::NA in Madison, Wisconsin. It was my ninth YAPC! I'm still something of a newcomer compared to a lot of the folks I talked to, who have been YAPCing since 1999. Still, I feel like YAPC::NA is a regular part of my year, these days, and I was looking forward to it. I enjoyed it, too!
I gave two presentations, neither of which is yet up on the web. Probably the videos will be up on the YAPC::NA YouTube channel before I get slides up, as I'll wait until after OSCON for that. The talks were both about Perl 5 itself. One covered the most likely-to-be-used changes made since 5.8, and the other discussed the way Perl 5 is developed and what we might expect to see in future Perl 5 releases. Both talks went pretty well, although I think the OSCON versions may be significantly improved from the YAPC versions. I ran long on both at YAPC, which is a bit of a problem, since I'll have 10 minutes fewer in Portland.
I also went to a bunch of good talks. I was more interested in more talks this year than I have been in the last few, and I was not disappointed. I'm also looking forward to catching up on some more on YouTube once they're up. Probably the talk I'm most happy to have seen was Jeffrey Ryan Thalhammer's Pinto. We'd exchanged a few emails about it in the past, and I'm really hoping we can use it at work to replace a similar system that we built but never quite finished. Even if it can only replace most of our code, it would be a great improvement.
Brock Wilcox gave a talk about generating bleeps and blorps with Perl, which was a lot of fun, even if there's nearly no chance that I'll ever be able to use what I learned at work. I saw a number of talks about Unicode, and am starting to feel like I can really call myself pretty educated on the topic. These days, I go to those talks to see the questions, not the presentation.
I got to meet a bunch of people whom I hadn't met before, including Karl Williamson and Brian Fraser, our intrepid Unicode-taming Perl 5 core hackers. I also got to see lots of people I only see about once a year: Larry Wall, Steffen Müller, Abigail, Jesse Luehrs, Stevan Little, and... will, just dozens of others. I better stop now or I'll just be typing names.
The bits of the conference unrelated to the hallways and presentations were good, too. I skipped the TPF party to run some D&D, which was fun. I ran another game the next day at Game Night, which was also fun. I'll write more about those games another day. The YAPC dinner, atop the Pyle building, was great, too. We didn't need to take seats, so everyone was able to freely mingle over the course of the evening. The free beer was also a plus. There was no auction, which made me very happy, and I was extra happy because I felt like I could take just a small fraction of the credit for that change.
I hadn't planned to attend the arrival dinner, but it wouldn't have mattered anyway. Geoff Avery and I were traveling together from Philadelphia, and our flight was delayed. We ended up being rerouted through Chicago and arrived five hours late, around 22:00. The flight home was much less troubled, and arrived only a few minutes late. Even better, there was a huge group of people from YAPC on my flight, so we hung out and chatted in both the Madison and Chicago airports. We also got Breno to try root beer for the first time. Although he was very hesitant, and seemed to think we were trying to pull his leg, he liked it. Breno and Schwern split a huge burger with a bratwurst on top, but I just watched. I was still full from excellent BBQ at Smoky Jon's that I'd gotten with Andy Lester and his daughter Quinn. Andy (incredibly, to my mind) drove back to Madison for lunch and very generously also gave me a lift to the airport. We had a great lunch, and I got to introduce Quinn to Scribblenauts. Every kid should play that game.
I'm looking forward to next year's YAPC, wherever it may be, and I hope that I can run another D&D game and give a more technical talk. I miss doing technical talks, rather than just the sort of high-level stuff I did this year. Maybe by next year, I'll have a talk on Moonpig ready...