Off to TEK-X

Tomorrow (May 18) I throw all my junk in the trunk of my trusty steed (a 2000 Ford Taurus that loves to chew up the highway miles) and hit the road for Chicago for TEK-X, the 10th edition of this conference. I have spoken at previous editions (is that the correct word?) of this conference and I'll be honest: I'm a bit bummed that I'm not speaking.

See, I normally only go to conferences when I speak. Why? Being away from the family is tough to arrange when you work from home. I've got two little girls, and they are used to Daddy being around to help out with stuff. Like taking them to day care, or picking them up from school. Making dinner. Helping with school lunches. Grocery shopping. I'm sure you get the picture. So to abandon the family to go to a conference requires lots of logistical work.

But damnit, I hadn't been to a conference since March of last year (the old PHP Quebec conference) I was determined not to get shut out. Luckily my boss agreed to foot the bill and so off I go. I'd love to meet any of my readers, and even sign paper copies of my book if you got a print-on-demand version. Hell, I don't even have one. ;) So don't be intimidated by my size, appearance, or lack of knowledge on certain topics. Come and say hi. I'll the big, bald, grumpy Canadian with a pot-scrubber on his chin stomping around the conference.

Anyway, I wanted to talk about the sessions I'm looking forward to seeing. In no particular order, here they are:

Building Real-Time Applications with XMPP

I've known Travis for a while through the PHP community, and never seen him do a presentation. However, his numerous IM sessions helping me understand decorators in the context of Django and talking me through fixing totally busted Git commits lead me to one conclusion: he knows his shit so I should pay attention to what he has to say. The building of our next-gen fantasy sports gaming platform starts when I get back so I'm hoping he imparts some pearls of wisdom.

Continuous Inspection and Integration of PHP Projects

Being the only guy working on projects gets frustrating: nobody to share ideas with and also very hard to make the case for the types of tools and procedures that the TDD/BDD and continuous integration crowd advocates. I mean, all this work so Chris stops complaining about bugs slipping through the QA cycle? Besides, I always have a soft-spot for Ze Germans who are always at the PHP conferences.

Graphs, Edges & Nodes: Untangling the Social Web

I first met the presenter (Joel Perras) at PHP Quebec last year through the CakePHP community. Now that he's moved on to the Lithium project, I see his ego has grown to the point where he is okay giving presentations. Don't worry whippersnapper, I'll cut you down to size during this (probably awesome because it deals with stats and nodes and graphs and all this cool stuff I've been reading in "Programming Collective Intelligence") talk.

Now, I'm sure that I will be attending other sessions while I'm there. But those are the main ones I'm looking forward to seeing. We are spoiled for choice at this conference, and I am definitely looking forward to seeing old friends and making some new ones.