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Manchester Unconference 2011

Matt and Mark attend the Perl stand and Matt presents talks

Sun Oct 9 10:30:00 2011

Matt's talk seemed to stun the majority of the audience as he elevated the tech level into low orbit

This was my first unconference and the first event that I have managed to make it to organised by FlossUK in Manchester. I was here, with Matt S. Trout and Ian Norton, as part of a contingent to represent North West England Perl Mongers and Perl in general.

Stickers from FOSS
Stickers from FOSS

The idea behind the conference is to get a group of technical people in the same location and allow them to present talks based on what everyone wishes to see. Ian had already decided that he would present a talk on Perl for Sys. Admins and a lightning talk about the North West England Perl Mongers hack day; Matt presented Iron mad and a lightning talk.

The original soft toy Tux
The original soft toy Tux hand made by one of the delegates parents wearing a Linux tie

I am not sure what I was expecting from the conference before arriving as the type of event was new to me and I had no notion of how it would run. As it was there was a mixture of elements, some people came with a great deal of knowledge and were able to talk confidently and freely on their chosen subjects, others seemed to be practice speaking and doing talks for the first time so the quality varied from speaker to speaker. The enthusiasm however was pretty constant with people happy to share their expertise whether presenting or just attending.

A robot on display from the HacMan
A robot on display from the HacMan

Seeing Matt do IronMad in 15 minutes provided me with the most smiles for the day and I think he easily won on joke/quip quotient, but there again any talk that is many talks and includes PhP, psychological examination of cats, forfeits, module discussion and ferrets has a lot of room for good, and also often odd in Matt's indomitable style, one liners.

One of the Conference Organisers
One of the Conference Organisers

As usual the lightning talks provided a lot of fun with the audience providing feedback into the event, Matt's talk seemed to stun the majority of the audience as he elevated the tech level into low orbit and showed some very groovy, but content heavy, hackery.

Assembled Delegates
Assembled Delegates

The day ended with an atypical wander to a local hostelry where sweet nectars were heartily consumed and shared with the odd comment and some truly strange television (watching Masterchef with subtitles was interesting and to be tried by all).

Ian Norton getting ready to present
Ian Norton getting ready to present

If anyone has feedback (and until we have a commenting system) please don't hesitate to email me at: m.keating [at], if your comments are useful, fun, or just plain interest to me, or if I think will be useful to others, then I will add them to the end of this post, let me know how you would like to be named (anon, nick etc.).


Mark Keating is: Managing Director of Shadowcat Systems Limited
Director and Secretary of Enlightened Perl Organisation
Chair of the Marketing Committee for The Perl Foundation
Co-Founder/Co-Leader of North-West England Perl Mongers
Work Blog: Mark Keating on Shadowcat
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Mark Keating is the organiser of the London Perl Workshop (since 2008), has joined the organising team for the QA Hackathon in 2011, the TPF GSoC Mentors/organisers 2011, the Dynamic Languages Conference 2011.