December 10, 2002

Conferences Do Matter

In responding to Dave, I see that Scott's down on conferences. I have to disagree. It's not just about innovation. Some conferences matter a lot--at least to me. Here's why.


In the last couple of years, I've made the transition from attendee to presenter. When I go to technical conferences, I'm usually there to present something as well as to learn from others. In fact, the only tech conference I attended this year that I did not present at was the O'Reilly Mac OS X Conference. But I did participate by blogging it.

I presented at the PHP Conference and four times (1, 2, 3, and 4 is not on-line) at the O'Reilly Open Source Convention. I will be presenting at next year's MySQL Conference as well. I seem to present twice a year at work, like this. And I've even talked at the local Perl Mongers.

(Okay, my horn is all tooted out now...)

The point is that I help to teach other people about the technology that matters to me. Conferences are a great way of doing that. I know because attendees will frequently tell me that they enjoyed my talks and learned from them.


I get to meet people I might not otherwise meet. Sometimes there are people who I can chat with via e-mail, but it's not until we spend some face to face time that ideas really get flowing. And I've even managed to stay in touch with some of 'em.

Several times now, I've taken the opportunity to talk with the MySQL folks about ideas I've had. I do it in person because it's a lot easier and faster. Discussions that might normally take days or weeks only need 15 minutes in person. Conferences are great for that kind of stuff.

Diversity of Ideas

I see and hear things at conferences that I wouldn't otherwise pay attention to. Often times they inspire me to try something new, learn a new piece of software, or just think differently about a problem.

It sort of reminds me of being back in College. There's a good diversity of ideas and a passion for them at the conferences I attend. That helps keep me going. It gives me a boost a few time a year.

Posted by jzawodn at 11:03 PM

Back on Track

Thanks to a bit of a reminder from Kasia, I've cleaned off the weight bench again. Am I'm even thinking about spending a couple hours a week in the gym at work on the bikes that don't actually go anywhere. Hm. Maybe I could motivate myself if I got an iPod to use when ridding.

I only suggest that because my insurance kicked in and paid off a bunch of dental bills, so I'm getting about $500 back in a few weeks. That's just about what I'd need for a 20GB iPod. And, by some stroke of luck, I have almost exactly 20GB of MP3s in my collection.

Posted by jzawodn at 10:19 PM

Credit Reports

It looks like Don is having some bad luck with a credit agency. I know what that's like. I hate those companies. They're such idiots and they're always on the side of the company, not the consumer. Always.

Posted by jzawodn at 05:55 PM

Brandt's Blog

Well, after a bit of harassing from Dan, I registered the domain and setup MovableType so that our friend Brandt could have a blog named Soup is Good. Brandt is a funny, cyanical bastard that I've known since college. We lived together for a year and also had a really, really, really bad roommate in common.

Hopefully he'll talk about his radio show (sorry, no link handy) and rant about whatever happens to be pissing him off. He's good at that. He'll need a bit of time to tinker with MT, templates, styles, and so on. But give his blog a read. I suspect it'll be entertaining.

Posted by jzawodn at 04:22 PM

Kernel Mode Linux

Well, you've heard of User Mode Linux, right? It allows you to run Linux on Linux in a sort of VMWareish way. Well, now we have Kernel Mode Linux. That's right, you can run normal processes in kernel mode.

Open source never ceases to both amaze and amuse me. :-)

Posted by jzawodn at 04:17 PM