London Perl Workshop 2010

Just got back from my first visit to the London Perl Workshop. Thanks East Coast Railways for not only cancelling my train to London (and making me sit on the train at York station for an hour for nothing) but also for cancelling the one back from London. I'm ashamed to be English when people travelled to the workshop from out of this country in less time than it took me to travel 200 miles by train.

I thoroughly enjoyed the whole weekend. It was great to put some faces to the people I've had contact with on the Internet (in particular ribasushi, timb, tux) and the talks were most enlightning. I have to pickout some highlights for me although I obviously did not see all the talks:

Paul Evans' (LeoNerd) talk on IO::Async was very interesting since although I'd heard of it I'd not thought of how I might use it. Since the talk (and a useful chat in the pub afterwards) I'll be looking at it for a few projects I'm working on with Arduinos connected via USB. Just a shame I missed his Continuations and CPS: A different flavour of 'return'‎ talk in the morning.

It's a small world / You're doing it wrong by James Laver (‎ElPenguin‎) pointed out all the mistakes people tend to make supporting timezones, localisation/internationalisation, address handling and character-sets on web sites. Some interesting ones to think about he mentioned were people with no firstname (or given and family names the opposite way around to what we in the UK are used to) , places which don't use individual addresses (like Carmel where apparently everything is delivered to the post office and collected), places with no ZIP/postcode (e.g., the Middle East), leap seconds (you do know what they are - right?), currency and formatting and languages written from right to left or from the bottom up. I'd hit some of these before but not all. All presented without notes or slides and literally straight after he got here off the tube.

If you are still battling with Unicode then Mike Whitaker's (‎Penfold‎)
Perl and Unicode - in search of the Holy Grail‎
(see link to slides) will put you on the right track.

The lightning talks and bingo were played out to a packed house. By this stage, the long travelling and late night drinking was starting to take its toll on me so the lighthearted talks attracted more of my attention. Zefram's Perl Golf and Mike Whitaker's Why Your Slides Suck certainly had me laughing and Matt Trout's style, sheer speed and 65 slides in 5 minutes was bewildering. The ultimate winner David Leadbeater and "Unwarranted Chumminess with Compiler", showed ingenuity with humour and a demonstration how some crafty use of Pack and a few other tricks can be used to circumvent taint mode. If you are reading this David (and I hope you don't mind me mentioning this) but when you introduce yourself suggesting I probably won't have heard of anything you've done you do yourself a disservice and certainly not something you could say now.

Many, many thanks to Mark Keating and everyone else involved in organising, promoting and sponsoring the event. I'm not sure who sponsored a great deal of drinking in the Kings Arms later (or is it that I just can't remember) but my heart thanks you and my head hates you. Oh, and to all my new Dutch friends (first in the pub Friday night - hmm), Liz, Wendy, Martin and Merijn, thanks for making a London workshop newbie so welcome.