Philip Newton (pne) wrote,
Philip Newton
pne

There and back again, part 2

Wednesday, 23 July

I got up, showered, and went down for breakfast. Mario was right: it's not particularly wonderful, especially the selection.

I was asked for, and gave, my room number and received a tray with a large cup, a tumbler, and a plastic sachet containing a plastic knife and spoon and a serviette. There were several round tables around the cafeteria with stools in front of them. On the tables were baskets containing tea bags, butter, jam (plum, strawberry, and apricot), cheese, sugar, and bread (baguette sections as well as sliced French brioche bread). On the top was another "level" of table holding two toasters and hot plates with coffee, milk, and water on them; there were also jugs of orange juice on the table.

So, not a wide selection to choose from, but at least you got fed, and you could eat as much as you like. Not the buffet style I'm used to from hotel breakfasts, where you walk to the buffet and come back, since everything was at your table. Eh, it was OK.

Off to conference, then. I had looked at the bus timetable at the stop Étienne Marcel the day before and seen that there was a bus at 8:01. I wanted to take that one one stop to the metro station, but saw it drive past while I was still half a block away—it was about four minutes early. Oh well, I walked to the metro station since it wasn't that far off.

It took me a little while to find it, since I didn't recognise the metro entrance. I had to ask someone to make sure I was looking in the right place. The final clue was the little map on the bus stop near the metro entrance which told me I had just passed the entrance without noticing :p.

When I arrived at the CNAM, I got to stand in a queue again. This time, it was for name badges, since these included a photo of the participant and the photo equipment wasn't there the evening before. The name badges were colour-coded; speakers had orange badges with an "S", "regular" attendees had blue badges with an "A", and organisers had badges with an "O". I don't remember the colour of the organisers' badges, but their T-shirts were certainly memorable enough: they were bright pink. (I believe this is due to the last year's YAPC's auction, where the right to decide the official colour of this year's YAPC was auctioned off.)

I talked to Richard Clamp, who would be giving a presentation during the same session I would be, whether I could use his laptop, and he agreed. He also suggested I copy my slides onto his laptop in case the Internet connectivity went away, which I did.

I talked to several people, including Ann Barcomb (kudra), whom I hadn't seen since Amsterdam, two years earlier. I also met Brian "NoBull" McCawley, a respected member of the comp.lang.perl.misc newsgroup (at least, in my opinion). Funny, I had always thought he was American, but he's from Birmingham.

My morning tutorial was Nicholas Clark's When perl is not quite fast enough and in the afternoon I listened to Mark Jason Dominus's Tricks of the Wizard.

In between was lunch break. There were no official arrangements for lunch, but quite a few people went to the tavern where they had been meeting the evening before for lunch; there was a set meal for €12 plus drinks. This included a tomato-and-cheese salad (not sure whether it was mozzarella or not) followed by a main course of lamb with vegetable rice. The lamb was well done, at least, the portion I had. I've had bad experiences with lamb in restaurants since not everybody knows how to cook it long enough, apparently.

Since we had left a bit late, we had to leave in a bit of a hurry after the main course without waiting for dessert if we wanted not to miss the beginning of the afternoon tutorials. This caused a bottleneck near the exit of the pub as everyone tried to pay at once. Including my drink (a bottle of water), my tab came to €15.60—expensive, I thought! I decided not to eat at the tavern the following days but rather to bring something along I would buy at the supermarket.

Dominus brought up an interesting thought. He said he didn't particularly think use strict is that necessary for small projects and that deploring a book simply because its (short) code examples don't use strict doesn't necessarily make sense.

He said beginners often don't understand what that pragma does and later ask about error messages due to it. He says that one common argument by people who tell newbies to use strict is that "we want to encourage good programming practices right from the beginning", to which he replied "what, good programming practices such as including code in your program without having any idea of what it does?" I think that man has a point there.

In the evening, I went shopping again and bought some croissants to eat during the lunch breaks on Thursday and Friday. They came in a handy plastic box of ten: five plain croissants and five with chocolate. I also bought some dried papaya chunks for a sweet dessert.

Made a phone call to Stella (who wasn't there) and went to bed.

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