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Looking Back at Drupal Downunder

I spent the weekend at Drupal Downunder in Brisbane. The venue was excellent. I'm a fan of not using "traditional" venues for conferences, to help make them even more memorable for attendees.

I managed to catch up with a bunch of people. The relaxed feel about the event was great. Most conferences I've attended recently have either been large or I've helped organise them, this time I could relax and enjoy.

On the Saturday I presented Building Distributions with Drupal 7, which had a small turn out as I was up against Josh Koenig and his Pantheon presentation. My presentation was hampered by lack of internet connectivity, but I think it went well. I used Lego, Duplo and Quatro blocks to demonstrate the evolution of Drupal distros.

Saturday night involved a pub crawl with various DDU and LCA folks. The highlight of the crawl was the Mana Bar, which is a gamers bar, that has a good collection of retro consoles and games on display.

I spent a fair bit of Sunday in the hallway track. I discussed the D7 port of UUID with Dries, which helped confirm the direction I was heading with it. Several people wanted to discuss my $100 Drupal site blog series. I also gave my Horizontally Scaling Drupal presentation, which was very well attended. Unfortunately due to people torrenting there was no usable internet access for my presentation. I had to skip the post event BBQ so I could fly back to Melbourne.

The lack of mobile signal and wifi made it frustrating to prepare and present. I would have liked to have seen an inclusive social event organised on the Saturday night. Overall I really enjoyed DDU and the organisers are to be congratulated. The vegetarian food options were excellent.

Thanks for Four Kitchens for funding me to get to DDU. I have just started contracting with them, so I really appreciated them covering my trip.


Ben wrote:

Given that there were WiFi troubles was the non-traditional venue worth it? It seems that traditional venue's like conference centers and hotels (though not always) are better equipped to provide and handle internet access.

Added Thu, 2011-01-27 01:10

Bardon Centre

Kat wrote:

As part of the team who helped with the organisation of DDU I can tell you that we are all disappointed with internet situation. While the venue in Bardon has non traditional feel it IS a conference centre and does advertise WiFi available as part of its package. The fact is it WAS there just not up to the standards that we would all have appreciated!

I guess this is something for the 2012 Melbourne team to remember - not all conference centres understand the needs of a Web based conference. Dont just ask them if its available - check their equipment and talk to their "IT guys" too!

Meanwhile Im so sad my hubby and I couldn't make it (we moved to Canada in September) - sounds like everyone made the best of it regardless and had a great time. ;)

Added Thu, 2011-01-27 05:19

Was the Wifi a problem after

Sean Bannister wrote:

Was the Wifi a problem after 12pm on Saturday? I spent Saturday morning with Rohan from OnTheNet replacing the Bardon wifi network with our own equipment and after that it only dropped out once when two people decided to torrent. I'm just wondering if I missed some outages? I was trying to keep a close eye on it and thought we did pretty good after Saturday morning.

Sorry about no wifi for your session, that's a real pain.

Added Fri, 2011-01-28 20:04

RE: Was the Wifi a problem after

Dave wrote:

I found the wifi problematic most of the time. I know people put a lot of effort into making it work, I was even asked to help when I arrived on Saturday.

On Saturday I had to deal with a major server issue for a client. My best option was to sit out the front with my phone connected to my laptop via USB and the phone sitting on a lamp attached to the wall. It worked but wasn't the ideal work environment.

My Sunday session failed due to people torrenting. I have experience delivering that particular presentation with no internet access. For my Saturday talk I just appended "with Imaginary Internet Access" to the title of the session on the whiteboard - in permanent marker.

I enjoyed the event and overall it was well run.

Added Sun, 2011-02-06 00:51