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Pfcongres 2011 wrap up

This Saturday I started early to go to Pfcongres, a small PHP community conference in Utrecht organized by the Dutch PHP user group PHPFreakz and after about two hours driving I arrived about half an hour in time before the conference started, with me kick starting with my keynote "Community Works", a 199 slide deck explaining what the PHP community is and how people can be part of that community.

My keynote was well received by the audience, although some comments were made it needed a more elegant flow of community tips. It even started a discussion whether I should use visuals or not to emphasize my words. I will take these comments into consideration when I'm reviewing these slides.

Although I spend a major part of the conference in the so-called "Hallway tracks" I was able to jump into a couple of great talks that have intrigued me to look into their details. A couple of tracks that really stood out were "SPL Data Structures and their Complexity" by Jurrien Stutterheim, "15 Protips for MySQL users" by Joshua Thijssen and of course the closing keynote "PHP — Status Check" by no one less than co-founder of Zend Mr. Zeev Suraski.

The good
The team of PHPFreakz managed to do the impossible: creating a good balance for Dutch and non-Dutch speakers, offering a good lunch (especially for Dutch standards) with a wide variety of sandwiches and a constant flow of good coffee.

The bad
I have no complaints regarding the organization, the audience or the venue. I just felt bad I had to wake up at 6am just to be there on time.

The ugly
The venue's wifi was a real burden, and I know from experiences that most conference wifi settings are flakey as a rule, but this wifi experience was bad, even considering the flakey ones.

Conclusion
This conference showed the world again that a small community group can amaze everyone by bringing quality speakers into their community offering them high level content at a really reasonable prize. I'd like to express my gratitude to the organization to be part of this event.

Bonus challenge
I keep thinking about what Joshua Thijssen said during his talk about getting certified as a MySQL engineer. As it was on my to-do list for a couple of years, I think I needed the push Joshua had given me to follow up on my commitments and schedule an exam.

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