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- you get to meet people from all corners of the XML community, even ones you haven’t got the slightest interest in, and learn that they’re human too (even the web services guys)
- there’s always something to learn; I’ve seen some talks for six years on the trot, others were completely new this year, but they’re all worth attending because the audience, war stories and discussion are always different. Also, because each talk is aimed at newcomers, you get a great overview of topics that you’re not so familiar with, and you can always chat to the speaker later to find out more
- there are social events laid on every evening that you’re expected to attend, so you’re practically forced to socialise, which is useful for an insecure introvert like me who’d otherwise be sitting in her hotel room getting miserable imagining everyone else having a good time
- there’s a creche, so despite being inseparable from two small children over the last four years, I’ve still been able to attend without dragging an entourage with me (not that I object to the entourage, just the expense and the dependency)
I left feeling not only invigorated and inspired, but also a part of a fun and friendly community.
The following week, we moved house. Twelve days later, we’re almost completely unpacked, and the important things are done. We have wireless, positioned nicely so that virtually the whole house gets “Excellent” coverage. Thanks to my father, we have a NSLU2 running Debian and acting as our low-power-consumption file and mail server. (For those that are interested, I’m getting access from my Windows machines using Xming to actually interact with the machine, and WebDrive to map a drive onto the file system.) And we have an area entirely dedicated to Lego. Yes, this might be my dream house.
(We’re also only a 40 minute drive from Heathrow, 30 minute train from Waterloo, so if anyone I know’s visiting the UK and wants to drop in, you’re more than welcome. There’s even a spare room.)
And amongst all this, I had to record a virtual presentation on Creole for Overlap day at Extreme. The sound quality’s not great, but it’s a reasonable 10-minute introduction, I think. It sounds like they got good attendance: will someone who was there please post about it?