a more details review of the Plone Conference #2 in Vienna - mrtopf.demrtopf.de

a more details review of the Plone Conference #2 in Vienna

So I am back from the conference and altogether it was a very nice conference.
I’v met several people in person I just knew from IRC yet and also met many
people again which I’ve seen at previous conferences. So that’s a very nice
thing. The venue was also great and very central. So all in all we had very
much fun.
For pictures of the conference see the image galleries

But for some detail and for some suggestions in how to make it even better
next time.

Venue

The conference took place at the Voksgarten Discothek in Vienna. It’s located
at the very city center and thus all important places were fast to reach.
As the name said it’s actually more a sort of night club and thus has some
nice interior though it all seemed a bit aged and looked very much like 70ties ;-)

The talks and tutorials were held in two separate rooms and additionally there
was some sort of lounging area with a bar at the front were food etc. was served.
The audio of the talks was also transmitted into the lounge area. You can decide
for yourself is this is positive or negative ;-)

The tutorial room was a big rounded room and thus not quite like a lecture room.
This meant that from the outside seats you couldn’t see the speaker which was not
such a big problem after all as there were several video beamers installed to show
the screen around this rounding. So everybody could see at least the slides.

The talks and tutorials

I must admit that I haven’t spent that much time in the talks or tutorials
but more talking to people ;-) Thus I cannot say that much about the mean quality
of them. But some points: The first day seemed more aimed at beginners with
tutorials to Plone, Archetypes and so on. Thus it did not give me that much
tutorialwise. The talks were also more centered around case studies.
So for me this first day was not that interesting but for other people it
might be. OTOH I don’t know which main audience was actually attending the
conference but I know that Jim Fulton had a difficult task to find any
non-developer.
The next days were more for developers I would say. There was some tutorial
explaining Zope3, one explaining Five and so on (see the conference program).
While this is interesting I am not so sure if it makes that much sense for
certain people as a 3 hour Zope3 tutorial might get boring if you cannot
experiment with the things learned and thus you might be unable to follow
at some point. That’s at least what I have heard from some people. So the
question might be if some sort of workshop with smaller groups might have
been a better choice. But just my opinion.

As I just stated some problems I still want to say that all in all I liked
it very much. As I am very much into Plone some stuff might not have been
that new to me but some talks were still enlightened and gave me new ideas
to work on or discuss with people.

Social sphere

I already mentioned the lounge above. Here was were all people were meeting
also during the talks/tutorial. I had a chance to meet all the people from IRC
I did not yet met in person. But saying that I also must say that I nearly
missed some of these chances. I don’t know why actually. At least I managed
to say Hi to Andy McKay only when he was checking out of the hotel (we were
in the same) and I was going for breakfast (I was staying 2 days longer) and
seeing him standing at the registration desk. So I wonder what went wrong ;-)

Apart from the lounge there was a dinner location for all of us organized
on the evening of the first and second day and a party at the conference location
held on the evening of the last day.
On the first day it was in the Rathauskeller (restaurant in the basement of
the historic city hall) and on the second day it was in the Augustinerkeller,
another central historic location (usually visited by tourists, I guess).
Most of partying was going on the second night when some groups of people
were moving on to other bars. Moreover it was Paul Everitt’s birthday and
thus there was a reason for party :-)
Regarding the party it was not so successful because it was the last day
and people were leaving early either because they did party too long the day
before or they had to leave early for their trip home. So a suggestion for
the next conference might be to have that party on the second or first day
as it was done in Goeteborg (well it was a dinner there but I liked that very
much as the location was very cool and it was made clear that people should
have at least one person they don’t know located next to their seat).

Community

Of course all people were there but I had the feeling that I maybe met them
all but the talks were not going very much into depth. Probably there was
not that much time between the talks or there just have been too many people ;-)
So it was nice but it might have been nicer for me if there would have been
a bit more time for doing some discussion etc. I’ve also heard this from other
people, e.g. the AT guys did not make it for some discussion of AT1.4.
One solution for this might be to make a sprint after a conference because
you then are full of new ideas from the talks and might want to discuss these
with the people around. Unfortunately I also did not make it to the mountain
sprint before the conference so maybe I just missed that part ;-)

Of course it’s also more work for the organizers. And doing that conference is
surely work enough. So maybe for me the problem was just that the sprint was
at a different location and I couldn’t make it to it. Maybe next time this
could be put together again. At least for me it would be easier to attend then
(ok, there were also time constraints on my side the problem).

Other remarks

Problems have been with the network (wlan) as on the first day the leased
line was broken and the next days the wlan seemed a bit full so network
access was just stable for some times (moreover my card is not the best
and usually seems not to have the best access).
Some suggestion for a next meeting would be to also provide some cable
access to network and maybe to supply more power connectors :-)
At least a bad working net makes you talk more to people instead of just
being occupied with your laptop (OTOH it’s hard to show interesting things
to people which are only net-accessible).

Another topic appearing on every conference (it seems) are the missing
IRC nicknames on the conference badges ;-) So I hope at the nest conference
somebody will put them BIG on the badges :)

Although I mentioned some drawbacks above they should be understood as improvement
suggestions for future conference organizers. I know it’s hard work and BlueDynamics
was nearly doing anything else the last two months so I want to say a big THANKYOU
to Robert and Phil for organizing this great conference :-)

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