The Story of Perl Today with Pictures
I brought the idea of making Russian Wokrshop from Vienna’s YAPC. So there was less than two month to think out and prepare everything. There was a possibility to flux into InfoLinux event which was going in the end of October. Otherwise we should wait some other chance to get free (for us) venue.
It was me and “Linux Centre” who are the main organizers of the event. Editor-in-Chief of IBM DeveloperWorks Russia made a meeting with Pavel Frolov, the director of LinuxCenter, where I got a proposal to take one day out of InfoLunux event for my workshop. So the workshop is a part of InfoLinux days which in turn are held within annual InfoCom exhibition. At the other side the workshop is a separate event with its own web-site, registration, budget, attendees, speakers etc.
I'd like to thank people from YAPC::* who explained me how such events are to be organized: Jim Brandt and Jose Castro (Cog) who detalized the understanding of the process. Also I got a remarkable help from Alex Kapranov of Rambler.ru—another guy from Russia attended last YAPC in Vienna. There was a help from Dan Makarov of deeptext.org—he filtered and answered e-mails from people and companies. ActiveState sent me 120 promo-CDs. Open source geek from Nixp.ru helped with some promotion of the workshop among Linux community, and “System Administrator” magazine promised to publish the photo-review in the forthcoming issue.
Workshop took place in the very centre of one of the halls at the CrocusExpo area—this is a huge complex of buildings specialized on hosting various exhibitions. InfoLinux had a place with tables and desktop computers on them. Funny for everyone was that the venue has only one wall and was surrounded by people walking through the exhibition. It was loud enough but the sound system inside InfoLinux was good and we even had a separate microphone for people asking questions. Another funny moment was the “Voice from the Heaven” as Alex said—the voice making announcements of what is going on in other parts of the exhibitions. We had to make pauses while such announcements.
Note: these and other pictures are free for publishing.
The venue. This place is in the center of one of the rooms at the exhibition.
The only wall serves as the screen. There is another touch screen on the left.
This photo: Alexander Chuvilin.
Although it was not an isolated room everyone could see and hear the speakers. Note the people at the back—they are not registered attendees of “Perl Today” but are able to view everything.
There was great issue we even could not think about: every sound went on-line via net-radio SunRadio.ru. The technical director of Mandriva.ru told me later that the peak number of broadcasting stream was 18 (this number is not the number of listeners but the number of parallel branches from SunRadio translating the sound content). Unfortunately we have no records of it (we hope to make them next time). By the way, sound is more useful than broadcasting video: listeners might work parallel with listening and we could reach more people because the internet channel for voice have to be much much narrower than for video. I think that next time we could think out something for translating static slides and presentations together with voice. Again, it is better than video because low-resolution video always disturbs the slides (which are simple text).
Some attendees recorded home video.
The registration on the web-site was closed two weeks before the date of the workshop. 180 people registered. 12 of them later refused, several registration were duplicates. So there was about 160 people remained. I had no idea of how much of them really come but personal badge was made for everyone of those 160. Exactly the half (80) really showed up. 8 of them were girls. Most was from Moscow and Moscow region (up to 140 km), and there were some from Saint-Petersburg and one from Kiev (Ukraine). Many people did not register and just stood around.
Speakers and Talks
We had 6 hours for the whole: start at 12 a.m., stop at 6 p.m. Due to the location of CrocusExpo (on the border of Moscow) and due to traffic jams some people appeared with a delay. I opened the workshop and the registration at about 12:15. Later we had three breaks of 5 to 20 minutes so that people can reach buffets (breaks were coffee-less because an event is no-cost). There were two additional registrations during those breaks.
Papers and presentations in PDF are published on front page of the conference web-site.
We had 6 talks made by four people. I made three talks and a foreword, and it was a bit “much of me” :-) Unfortunately there was not enough time before the event to call for more speakers. Anyhow time was fulfilled and we ended at 6 p.m. as was expected.
I take it into a separate paragraph because it was the most amazing thing among the workshop. Every attendee received a personal attendee ID and a link to the page where his/her name was accompanied by unique ID and (bang!) bar-code (as are appeared at a supermarket). People were asked to print that page and bring it to the workshop. My colleague and I wrote a simple web application run on localhost on my macbook. Onsite registration process looked like buyings in the shop: people showed there barcode, we “beeped” it with a barcode scanner. On the screen we could see the name of a person, his status (paid or not) and the information whether a person is attempting to register twice (nobody tried). We than looked for an envelope and gave the goodies bag (paid and VIP users received the bag from a separate box because I was afraid to run out of bags if too much people show up).
The game with barcodes gave another advantage: the venue was loud enough so if we were asking everyone to pronounce her/his name we would spent more time to “hear it out” and type it in. Even if there were no speakers and talks at all it worth to make the workshop because of a process with barcodes :-)
Example of a confirmation page.
Scanner and envelopes.
In the venue there were installed about 40 desktop computers with Mandriva Linux 2008 operating system. On every we installed Pugs 6.2.13. Fortunately I found the rpm-package for Mandriva and therefore we were lucky to install Pugs in seconds on every machine. For those who was going to bring his own laptop I sent instructions on how to install Pugs and Parrot on Windows, Linux and Mac OS X. People had several days to configure/make/make install all that. There were AC supply, cable and wireless internet as well.
Pugs on the screen. The venue was equipped with 40 desktop computers connected to the Internet and with Pugs installed on it.
Every attendee (either paid or not) received two things: an envelope with a newsletter and personal badge and the “bag” (plastic case with logo) in which was “Perl 6 introduction” 30-page brochure, CD from ActiveState, CD with Linux Mandriva 2008 distribution, an issue of “System Administrator” magazine and some advertising materials. Unfortunately I had no time and money to make CDs with all the materials (presentations, software etc.) of the event.
Boxes at the door of my home.
Box with goodies bags.
As I ordered more bags than people showed up we allowed to take extra ones for people walking along the exhibition. Look at the photo where two are “hidden” inside the glass desk of the neighbouring exhibitor:
Andrew Shitov (email@example.com)
29 October, 2007