As I write this the Úll conference I have been at over the last few days is still going on, this afternoon is the final session - a barbecue :)
While I have an hour to spare I thought I would blog about what Úll meant to me:
It’s about meeting great people and having the chance to talk about interesting things with them. I met up with old friends from the Irish tech scene - some of whom I haven’t seen in a year or more. I “talk” to these people all the time on twitter but there is nothing like having a good chat over a beer.
And I met new people, lots of them, and they were all great to talk to. That was the best bit. I mean, I listened to some amazing talks and learned a lot of new stuff, had food that was excellent, and got some lovely swag - but for me it was the new people I met that made it the great experience it was. Here are just a few highlights for me.
I was one of the sponsors of the event this year which meant I got to go to the speakers dinner the night before the main conference kicked off. We sat at a table with a few of the Dropbox guys (Hi Viraj and Will) who were over from SF, and with Don Melton and his lovely wife Alice. At one point my wife turned to me and said “You know Don invented Safari?”, I said “Eh, yes! Legend” (My wife is unashamedly not a geek). I was lucky enough to have lunch with Don on the Saturday too after he had given his talk in which he claimed he was an “asshole” - nothing could be further from the truth! I learned a lot from Don.
Later on the first night I had a good chat with Jim Dalrymple and was pleased to be able to buy him a beer - I owe him some after the amount he gave me to drink at the WWDC Beard Party :) It was great to hear his thoughts on blogging/tech press and tech in general. He’s another fantastic guy and pretty bloody good on the guitar too! (Jim has a lovely wife too)
Best of all that night I had a talk with Charles Perry about disability and accessibility. A subject very close to my heart. He did a great talk on this on the Saturday and I’m so happy that he did and that he continues to fight the good fight. We all need to do what we can to make our apps as accessible as possible but we do need someone to kick us in the arse every now and again to make us think about it. Actually we need to replicate Charles so that he or his clones can talk about this at every conference :) (Charles also - are you seeing a theme yet - has a lovely wife)
All of that was just on the first night! It got better on Friday and Saturday. I had a couple of good chats about various topics with Dave Addey which is always a pleasure and exchanged photos of our children with Jaimee Newberry (Jaimee does not have a lovely wife, but her children are gorgeous :) I have no data on Dave’s wife - I’ll ask him tonight :)
If I had to pick my favourite talk of the conference, I mean had to on pain of death it would be either Dave or Jaimee for me. But there was not a dud talk in the whole event, not even close. Horace was fascinating, Matt was inspirational, Dr Wave was fascinating and inspirational. And Gruber talked about Pac Man - wat?!?!
And that is a tiny amount of what went on - I had great fun with too many people to mention but if any of you read this thanks for making the event special.
Finally of course a huge shout out to Dermot and Paul for organising this and for being gracious hosts and great sports when it comes to karaoke :)
We should do this more often!
You can get tickets for next years conference at 2014.ull.ie and you should - it’ll be great!