YAPC is as much (and for some folks, more!) about the social aspects as about the technical aspects. It is a community conference as much as it is a technical conference. It is therefore appropriate that I tell you about YAPC by telling you about the meals that I had while there.
Tuesday evening, I had dinner at The Olympia, a nice Greek place a few block from campus. I had a wonderful gyro and some retsina. We talked about software testing, the origins of retsina (no, it does *NOT* taste like pine sol, thank you very much) and the business practices of ISPs. In attendance were Deven Corzine and his brother Scott, Amagosa, Geoffeg, and Ken Rietz, all of whom, with the exception of Deven, had driven down together from Louisville. We also had some of the specialty of the house, fried cheese, presented at the table with great ceremony by setting it on fire. Flaming food is a Good Thing.
On Wednesday, I had dinner with a group of authors from the various subsidiaries of Pearson Education - formerly known as Macmillan Publishing. Why companies throw away name recognition has always been beyond me. Even when I did it myself. Among several other people, one of those present was Geoffrey Young, the author of mod_perl Developers' Cookbook. Now, I have been teaching mod_perl classes for some time. And I have been developing mod_perl applications for a while also. Geoff made me feel like I did not know much - which is to say, he was so completely knowledgeable about mod_perl that, by comparison, I felt like a beginner. His talk on Thursday was a great success in opening my eyes to some of the things that are possible with mod_perl.
Also present was Andy Lester, who talked about his ideas for a new book. This sparked a number of very interesting side-discussions, but I don't really think that I ever got a good idea of what he wanted to write about. We'll need to talk about that some day. Anyways, Andy wanted my module Apache::Perldoc to do something that seemed rather obvious in hindsite - rather than just generating the docs for any installed Perl module, it now is able to act as a content filter of sorts, converting .pod files to HTML on their way out to the client. Get the newest version!
Thursday evening, we headed out to Brent Michalski's house, where he grilled what seemed like a ENORMOUS amount of hamburgers for the 30 or so people that showed up, including the majority of the Perl 6 development team - Larry Wall, Damian Conway, Simon Cozens, Jarkko Hietaniemi, and many others. As the sun went down, we were treated to a show of the musical talent in the Perl community, with guitar, banjo, and electric guitar, and various people singing late into the night.
On Friday, about 20 of us went out for Thai food for lunch. This was really wonderful. Ordering for that many would have been a problem, so we just asked them to bring us a bunch of food. Which they did. And we ate, and ate, and ate, getting back just shortly before Damian's closing talk. Mmmmm. Thai::Food.
Then, Friday evening, I persuaded some folks to go with me to an Ethiopian restaraunt, which later got changed to a Vietnamese place, and, by the time we actually go there, a Welsh Pub. Um. OK. Quite a shift. But it was very good, and the company was fascinating. I sat by Nathan Torkington, Jon Orwant, Simon Cozens, and a plethora of other folks.
No summary of YAPC would be complete without mentioning Sarah Burcham, who did most of the work to pull it all together. Sarah is wonderful, and did an awesome job pulling this conference together. As she observed today, the most important thing is that the conference happens, not where, or how far apart the rooms are, or whether there are meals provided, but just that there is the meeting of minds.