Mark Baker

@Mark_Baker

Talks

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Rating: 5 of 5 
(11.Oct.2009)
Tools and Talent
A well presented talk on how to choose and implement new tools in the development cycle with a minimum of disruption or members of the team feeling they're being forced into it, and how to get the best benefit from their use. The emphasis on the processes involved made it very relevant to managing a development team. The ghostbusters references made it amusing - though I didn't see Slimer in the list at all.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(11.Oct.2009)
Optimizing Your Frontend Performance
Just as well I understood most of the principles that were being described, and it covererd a lot of methods very very quickly - fortunately the list of links provide a lot more details on each method. Thomas clearly knows his business, but perhaps assumes that everybody else has a similar level of knowledge
Rating: 5 of 5 
(12.Oct.2009)
About Tokens and Lexemes
Unfortunately unable to attend on Sunday, because I'd have like to have been there for this talk... pity there wasn't any recording, so I'll have to make do with the uploaded slides
Rating: 5 of 5 
(09.Oct.2010)
Geolocation and Maps with PHP
An excellent talk by Derick. The actual working examples showing how easy it is to work with geoLocation, but perhaps hid a lot of the complexities of working with map projections and different coordinate systems that a developer should really understand if (s)he's going top do any serious work in this field. With the recent opening of codePoint data by the Ordnance Survey, there's a lot of potential for developing PHP applications that build on local UK information, and this presentation gave some of the basics on how to work with that data and with the popular mapping APIs (including OpenStreetMap). The comprehensive list of links at the end more than compensated for the necessary brevity of covering such a complex topic in such a short timeslot.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(09.Oct.2010)
Practical HipHop
A very brief overview of HipHop, and while it looks to be a very powerful tool for improving performance if you have an exceptionally heavy website, it's probably not worthwhile for most sites. However, Scott's presentation was both informative and entertaining, and even though the content was brief it was interesting
Rating: 4 of 5 
(11.Oct.2010)
PHP through the eyes of a hoster
An excellent presentation. While it doesn't directly affect me because I manage my own servers rather than using hosting, it was interesting hearing about the issues facing hosting companies trying to straddle the line between providing for a user's needs, while ensuring that their servers can't be abused (either wittingly or unwittingly)... and seeing some of the methods they employ to prevent "rogue" code from causing problems. Entertaining too.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(11.Oct.2010)
Turbocharge Your PHP With Nginx
Not the easiest presentation to follow, although Errazudin tried his best to make himself understood... all credit to him for his hard work (not to mention travelling helfway round the world to make this presentation). The material was good, and the slides both helpful and entertaining: definitely enough to persuade me to take a look at nginx.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(19.Feb.2011)
Speaking Tips for Developers
Lorna being her usual enthusiastic self, dispensing wisdom for all those who're considering speaking at conferences
Rating: 5 of 5 
(19.Feb.2011)
Memory Management, Garbage Collection, destruct(), debugging memory
Provided me with a few helpful pieces of advice on how I should try and identify further memory-hogging blocks of code, and some great in-depth details of the innards of PHP memory management. Certainly provided food for thought.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(20.Feb.2011)
Open Source Sponsoring (Panel Discussion)
An interesting debate, triggered by the donations mechanism on pledgie.com; but seemed to go round in circles a lot, and didn't really come to any conclusions. I suspect that this debate will continue for several months to come
Rating: 4 of 5 
(19.May.2011)
Think like an ant, distribute the workload
Started fairly basic with the introduction to distributed applications, but got more interesting after the break as we moved onto gearman itself, with brief mention of other such tools (such as ZeroMQ, which will be covered in more detail tomorrow in Ian Barber's session on that topic)
Rating: 4 of 5 
(20.May.2011)
Tips and Tricks for Tuning PHP for Windows and IIS
Interesting talk, showing the performance benefits that can be obtained with some simple tuning of IIS, with a host of tips to get the best performance. The demonstration showing the use of Wincache really showed how much an app's speed can be boosted, and the use of the Wincap tool showed an alternative to apache bench for testing the site under a bit of stress. Problem was squeezing so much into a 45 minute talk... it's just too much to demonstrate in a short time. Fortunately, the slides should be online soon.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(23.May.2011)
Closing Keynote: Open Teams
I don't agree with everything that Cal espoused, but his belief in those principles was clear. Certainly, dragging the management of software development teams into the 21st century needs to be done; but is almost impossible if it isn't done from the top-down, as you're fighting against vested interests. The talk was very much aimed at those who are in charge of development teams and companies, rather than the developers themselves. The latter will certainly agree with most of what Cal said, the former need convincing to see the light... but Cal's conviction in those principles, and the arguments he set forth to justify them should persuade even the most victorian-minded managers to at least consider what he said.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(08.Oct.2011)
How to Stand on the Shoulders of Giants
Scary that I actually remember BCPL... but that nightmare aside, a good keynote to start the conference: a reminder that while we are all part of the PHP community now, we are part of a much larger programming community going back over the decades, and will remain a part of that larger community going into the future.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(08.Oct.2011)
PHP Extensions, why and what?
As I've been struggling with writing an extension recently, and had been planning to do more in the future (preferably with a lot less struggling), Derick's talk gave a few good pointers on where to look for gauidance, and on just what is and isn't possible. It's still not going to be an easy task, given the lack of documentation on how to actually set about it... but at least I have a few ideas on how to overcome some of the problems that I've encountered (or at least how to look for solutions) but extension writing will remain something of a "black art" until there's more useful documentation available.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(09.Oct.2011)
Conference Speaking 101
Time was the limiting factor here... perhaps over a half-hour, it would have felt more useful, but it felt as though Stefan was too rushed in making his points without any opportunity to expand on them.
Rating: 2 of 5 
(09.Oct.2011)
Why you should be using and contributing to OpenStreetMap and not GoogleMaps.
Useful when it described some of the work being done by the OSM group, but perhaps too disparaging of Google Maps. Sorry Derick: I know you have a strong bias, but a slightly more balanced comparison of the two data sets would have helped. I felt the most interesting part of the talk was some of the uses that OSM dta is being put to, such as the disability access. I think if the talk had focused more on this type of usage of OSM data, rather than saying how restrictive Google Maps was, it would have been a better talk.... providing parctical, positive examples to demonstrate why we should use OSM is a far better argument against Google Maps than simply being disparaging of the latter.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(09.Oct.2011)
Dealing with Difficult People
Too much content too quickly: squuzing an hours content into 15 minutes just doesn work. I'd heard so many good things about Elizabeth's talks that I was looking forward to this: I'm afraid I came away disappointed. I'm sure there were a lot of good points buried here, but the delivery ws just too fast to take anything in.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(09.Oct.2011)
PHPWomen Birds of a Feather
A cry for help in how to reach a specific target audience... do people still use forums? My wife has just discovered forums, and is enthralled by this new form of communication on the internet... and she's from a technical IT background (albeit not an internet background). The session didn't really consider or answer many of the questions listed in the outline above... I'd have found it more interesting if it had. As a developer in the second half of the century, in an industry that seems to focus on youth and the belief that old fogies don't understand technology at all; I'm half-wondering if PHP needs a PHP-Silver-Coders group.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(09.Oct.2011)
Playing nicely with Project Managers
Perhaps too focused on the one very detailed (and not much used outside local/central government methodology), but an amusing discussion nontheless. With all the comments about the weird and arcane language of PM, I was considering all the weird and arcane language that we developers use. Nontheless, a good glimpse of the other side of the fence, and why we do need PMs to protect us from having to deal with the real powers at the top of the project tree.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(09.Oct.2011)
Developers! Y U NO open source your code?
Came in late, but enjoyed the topic and the content. Well discussed, and good answers to the questions at the end.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(07.Oct.2012)
Password Storage and Hashing
Perhaps focused a bit too much on the speed with which different password hashes could be brute-forced attacked on different platforms, though it served as a good precursor to the recommendation to use the new password hashing functions recently added to the PHP core... however, I'd have liked to see a bit more about how the new functions work internally. How we convince a million existing developers to upgrade and start using the new functions rather than their naive use of an unsalted md5 hash is an exercise for the future
Rating: 3 of 5 
(07.Oct.2012)
FirefoxOS - Boot to Gecko
Potentially an interesting talk to those who already had an interest in the topic itself. No criticism of Martin's presentation, but it wasn't for me. I suppose it was perfectly valid material for the unconference track; but (as a disinterested viewer) it didn't persuade me that I should take any interest in FirefoxOS.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(07.Oct.2012)
The State of PHPUnit
Sorry Volker - It would have been an excellent coverage of the new/changed features in the latest version of PHPUnit if it hadn't tried to squeeze too much material into the slot. There was a lot here that piqued my interest (too much), but I'll need to reference the slides to look at it all my closely and give it all time to sink in. Perhaps the related libraries such wsunit and mockery could have been dropped from this and covered under a separate topic (again, they're well worth the time and effort), giving more time to look at the the changes to PHPUnit core. Overall: the material was great, and something every developer should be made aware of for writing their unit tests... so it should affect us all. The new features clear up a lot of existing gripes and deserved more attention. And announcing the new/changed features of such an important development tool is great for letting us know how much work has been done on this release and how it affects us. Perhaps there should be a thread with 2-hour slots in the future for topics which try to cover this much material; or it would have been better suited to an advanced PHPUnit tutorial.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(07.Oct.2012)
Effective Code Reviews
Felt a bit too high-level. The talk emphasised the need for code review well enough, and mentioned most the core tools for the automated part of a review; but while a lot of reference was made to checking for duplicate code, it never once actually mentioned phpcpd as a tool for identifying duplication. As an intro for those not doing code reviews already, it would have been a good introduction... for those of us already using those tools on a regular basis, I think it missed that audience. The most interesting part was the look at sonar, but I felt that this was an all-too brief summary of sonar features. I'd hoped for a more detailed look at sonar for those of us who already do code review on a regular basis, and are already using the other automated tools mentioned.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(07.Oct.2012)
Scale and adapt with PHP and Responsive Design - A story of how we're building BBC News
Excellent talk abouth the real-world hands-on approach to responsive design at the BBC by a speaker who clearly knows what he's talking about and gives enough technical detail to keep the interest of a technically-minded audience.... a lot of the techniques he's talking about are likely to become best practise in the future, so we're getting a view of how the cutting-edge is being defined. IMO, this has been the best talk of the conference so far.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(07.Oct.2012)
PhpDocumentor : your source matters
A decent intro to using phpdocumentor for those who haven't used it before, but a little light-weight for those of us that already use it. Good as a demonstration from tagging the code, through building the dcos to reading the docs... but IDE output wasn't easily readable when projected to the big screen
Rating: 5 of 5 
(07.Oct.2012)
Developer Experience, API Design and craft skills
Great inspirational keynote, with just the right amount of humour and serious comment... I definitely need to readdress the methods and documentation of my libraries with a view to usability
Rating: 5 of 5 
(07.Oct.2012)
Community works for business too!
Michaelangelo - you're an inspiration
Rating: 4 of 5 
(22.Feb.2013)
Opening Keynote - You Are A Designer
As always with Aral, a lot of great WTF examples where he highlights UX designs that were clearly not created for humans, but his washing machine example felt like adding 100x cost and complexity (and risk of error) to a design that does work, with well recognised icons that actually match icons printed on clothing labels - I consider that good design. But that gripe aside, it does focus the mind on why we should provide a good user experience.... and the tail end is looking specifically at examples from our online domain (particularly web versus mobile)... reminds me of a recent xkcd http://www.xkcd.com/1174/ Well presented, inspirational and thought provoking
Rating: 5 of 5 
(22.Feb.2013)
Event Stream Processing
Ian Barber has a way of taking complex topics and explaining them in a way that makes it all seem easy. I know it will take me a lot more effort working with ReactPHP and EEP to achieve even the most simply even driven streams/aggregators/windows, but I'm inspired to try.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(22.Feb.2013)
Looking Ahead: PHP 5.5
Nothing particularly new that hasn't been blogged on before and in more detail, but useful to get a summary of the key new features all in a single session; and a quick look into some of the rfc discussions for the future of PHP
Rating: 5 of 5 
(22.Feb.2013)
PHP Extensions
An excellent and incredibly detailed talk on writing extensions and the PHP internals needed to do so - a neglected area of PHP's documentation; but I'll need to read and reread the slides to take it all in. Particularly appropriate as I submitted my first git pull to php-src while in the room listening.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(22.Feb.2013)
Bottleneck Analysis
Ilia managed to cover every potential bottleneck that might ever need analysing and with enough detail to start me on the path to understanding how to do that analysis, but at a breakneck pace so it'll take me days reading through his slides to get my head round everything he said.... hard to keep up with what he was saying, but well worth it for his insight into some of the less obvious areas that can cause problems, ranging from the overhead of dns lookups in the browser against using multiple cdns, to recognising when memcached hasn't been configured with enough memory.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(23.Feb.2013)
Deploying Distributed Systems
Interesting talk about Capistrano, what it does, and how to use it; while mentioning some of its shortcomings and how the speaker had worked round them. Good as an introduction to using Capistrano for multi-server deployments, though could perhaps have shown the actual code for a few recipes.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(23.Feb.2013)
Catering
Food was very good, and there was always coffee and juice available. Staff very friendly. The queues were pretty long, and it was difficult to find somewhere to sit and eat. Would have been nice to have different menus on the two days though.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(23.Feb.2013)
WiFi
Reliable and decent speed, despite the number of techies. I even managed a couple of git clones for a large codebase with decent speed (hope it didn't slow things down too much for everybody else).
Rating: 5 of 5 
(23.Feb.2013)
Venue
Good venue, staff very helpful, friendly and willing to chat when they have time.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(23.Feb.2013)
Releasing a library, Google style
Interesting hearing about the processes used to prepare APIs for release within such a large organisation, and where users access those libraries using a wide range of methods and languages.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(23.Feb.2013)
Programming languages that make you a better programmer
One of my New Year's Resolutions was to learn a new programming language: either Ruby or Haskell. I'd decided on Ruby, because it was more use for working with Vagrant and Capistrano; but after this talk with DSP recommending Haskell, I'm inclined to learn both... hope I can find the time.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(23.Feb.2013)
Unleash your inner author!
Intriguing use of the "way the brain thinks" examples leading into a talk on why and how we should make our code more readable for others. And the interactive elements of the talk made it most entertaining.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(23.Feb.2013)
Quickfire!
Not so much a series of quickfire talks, but a nonetheless interesting debate on PHP itself, where it should go, and what we should be doing to help.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(19.Mar.2013)
Building Better Developers
Rowan might not have had shown the passion of a Cal Evans or Michaelangelo van Dam. That might have detracted slightly as a keynote (perhaps I've been spoiled at other conferences); but his talk was filled with good advice and suggestions to make ourselves better developer, spiced and peppered with his inimitable sense of humour. All stuff that we can do ourselves, in our own lives, from code kata to contributing to the OS and PHP communities and everything inbetween. A mix of advice linked to the game/cinema while "building" his ideal developer; but with reference to real world projects, and real world people. Loved the Brian Blessed beard (sadly missed my own beard on my way here in the chilly Newcastle morning). And above all, "Enjoy what you do".
Rating: 4 of 5 
(19.Mar.2013)
Silex Anatomy
Nice to see some PHP code in a talk at a PHP conference. The title seemed something of a misnomer - Silex and Yolo might have been more appropriate - but the content was certainly interesting, and pitched at a good level of detail; though perhaps pre-supposing a good deal of existing knowledge
Rating: 5 of 5 
(19.Mar.2013)
Registration & Breakfast
Easy registration (I was early) and bacon and/or sausage butties are welcome on a brisk Tyneside morning.... it wasn't that cold, but after a walk up Pilgrim Street from the Quayside it was very welcome.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(19.Mar.2013)
Lunch sponsored by Sunderland Software City
Wow, those retro lunchboxes were a great idea. And the contents were pretty good too - so many goodies (and even fruit for those who want to be a bit more healthy). The lunchbreak was probably a bit too long... too long between talks, but not really long enough to go out and see any of the city. And with 130 odd PHP devs trying to find somewhere to sit and eat, it felt a bit cramped.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(19.Mar.2013)
Welcome
Short, simple and to the point
Rating: 5 of 5 
(20.Mar.2013)
Keeping The Cloud In Check
Good examples of when the cloud is and isn't appropriate, sparkling with humour; and Thijs presentation always commands attention
Rating: 5 of 5 
(20.Mar.2013)
Documenting Code For Dummies
Stepping in to fill a slot at the last minute, writing code directly in front of the audience (with great confidence, despite the odd typo) to demonstrate the effect of docblocks in the IDE, and demonstrating some of the new features that await in the new version of PHPDocumentor. Mike's a star.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(05.Oct.2013)
Hackathon / Social
Already a good start to #phpnw13. hackathon was a great atmosphere with a lot of work being achieved, as well as the fun of watching the attempts at guitar hero... very productive, interesting being video interviewed about my own project, and chatting with the guys from UKFast about how successful the hackathon had been.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(05.Oct.2013)
How to make the most of a Developer Conference
Covering all the key elements of how to get the best out of developer conferences, with plenty of mentions of free booze... but great to give newcomers to the conference scene an understanding of what to expect and how to get the most from the event... even a few tips for the more experienced conference goers (particularly liked the example of the ferry across to phpne13 as a group event)
Rating: 4 of 5 
(05.Oct.2013)
0x0F Ways to be a Better Developer
Two enthusiastic speakers, and the two-room experiment worked pretty well for a keynote speech. Plenty of good material to give thought. Shame about the lack of kittens though, a frog doesn't really have the same effect (despite its being a cute frog)... thank goodness for http://www.emergencykitten.com/kitten/7f33e8de
Rating: 4 of 5 
(05.Oct.2013)
Errors, Exceptions and Logging
Well presented and clearly knowledgeable of the subject matter, but many of the topics James touched upon would have warranted a full-length talk in their own right... perhaps focusing on a specific element (Errors, Exceptions or Logging) would have been better rather than trying to summarise all 3 in a 20-minute talk Don't forget, the error log is a "to do" list
Rating: 3 of 5 
(05.Oct.2013)
Dysfunctional Programming
Interesting material presented by someone that clearly understands the different coding paradigms... though I'm not totally certain of the justifications for using functional programming in a lot of practical applications. It still feels like an "ivory towers" theoretical paradigm that hasn't yet found a niche for itself in the real world.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(05.Oct.2013)
Identity
Passionate and technical as Ian always is, a very high-level talk about intercommunication between apps all based around identity
Rating: 3 of 5 
(06.Oct.2013)
Vertical reusability through components
Volker is an entertaining speaker, with a good manner that makes him easy listening even while he's presenting complex topics, and was presenting an intriguing case study; but it felt a bit like an easy start to the morning... perhaps not enough meat in the content, or perhaps it just lacked some of the passion I've seen in him when speaking about other topics
Rating: 5 of 5 
(06.Oct.2013)
Don't be STUPID, Grasp SOLID
I don't think it will be long before Anthony is a regular keynote speaker, because his enthusiasm and manner makes him a good communicator when talking about thinks he's clearly so passionate about, with memorable quotes that help his message remain long after the talk is over... but I think that would be a loss. Keynote speakers talk about higher-level topics, but Anthony seems such a "nuts and bolts" guy that I think talking at that higher level wouldn't be talking about subjects he's as passionate about. His strength is speaking about the more technical topics, whether security or good coding practises, and in this he excels because those topics are clearly so important to him, and its that passion which makes him such a good speaker. He presents a good case, backed up with strong evidence, even if you don't always agree with his message (as warranted in his videocasts as well as his blog posts... essential watching and reading for any developer/designer/architect). I've seen him described as an American Rowan Merewood, but I think Anthony is a unique species of speaker, and will always remember the messages of his talks and think about them whenever an appropriate design decision point occurs in day to day work. His message carries weight, and his style has made it memorable.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(21.Feb.2014)
What Makes Technology Work
Plenty of good anecdotes and a good overall opening keynote: Jo may not have the style of a Cal Evans, but he has a passion that carried over well, and a clear message to tell which made his presentation engrossing
Rating: 4 of 5 
(21.Feb.2014)
PHP 5.NEXT: The New Bits
Not a lot of material, as PHP 5.6 won't be a big release; but well presented and with some good examples. There's not much that I'm likely to use - possibly variadics, but aside from "by reference" and "typehinting", it doesn't add much that can't be done using func_get_args() already; but a couple of interesting "heads up" for what might appear in PHP 5.7.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(22.Feb.2014)
'ProTalking' your way into Open Source
The talk outlined some of the basic obstacles of participating in Open Source projects, while looking at some of the benefits of doing so.... as such, it was never intended to be a "technical talk" and was all about the human element of participation.... and the Q&A was extremely useful
Rating: 3 of 5 
(22.Feb.2014)
Normalisation: Friend or Foe
I'd been expecting a bit more for those already aware of normalization techniques, so it wasn't a talk for me.... but I appreciate how few developers understand (or even know about) normalization and what it entails, so as a talk targeted at those unfamiliar with database design it was probably very useful and hopefully those who attended will take heed of the recommendations it made in future if it wasn't something they were already familiar with
Rating: 5 of 5 
(04.Oct.2014)
How PHP Changed the World of Programming
A good keynote delivered with Anthony's trademark passion. PHP is so dependent on that community, which is both a blessing and a curse. An important message to all those of us that contribute to that community in any way (which is every one of us) that by working together it is possible to achieve miracles, and I'll be referencing his message myself in my own uncon talk on why and how we can all contribute to open source projects.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(04.Oct.2014)
A new resource oriented framework, BEAR.Sunday
Interesting topic, but really trying to demonstrate too much in a 20-minute unconference slot. Possibly speaking in an unfamiliar language made it harder for Koriyama-san, and the presentation was slower as a result, but he was able to explain his topic well despite that.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(04.Oct.2014)
Spout- A next generation PHP resource centric CMS that lets you embed your content in any framework.
Like Koriyama-san's previous talk, possibly too much for a 20-minute slot, but enough of a taster to pique the interest and add spout to my list of projects to follow
Rating: 4 of 5 
(04.Oct.2014)
Software Architecture In an Agile Age
There's a strong conflict between Agile (as commonly practised) and design up front (as per waterfall)... but each approach has strengths and weaknesses. Harrie explained how a small amount of design up front can help benefit a system designed in an agile environment (being able to write tests up front, and being able to visualise how the system will hang together, being able to model the effects of refactoring on paper before making code changes, etc) while limiting the sheer volume of design up front more commonly associated with waterfall.... taking the best elements from both approaches.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(05.Oct.2014)
PHP: Under The Hood
Interesting talk, though delving into the innards of PHP is possibly better suited to a half-day tutorial rather than a one hour time-slot. It is heavy material, and a short summary doesn't always do it justice, or allow the time for it all to sink in.... but a conference talk can often be just a taster to spur us on to our own investigations... the brief interactions with Sarah at the back of the room did add a certain degree of amusement to it all
Rating: 5 of 5 
(05.Oct.2014)
Mental Health, Open Source and You
The community has been more open to talks on this topic of late, but it's still hard speaking about such a taboo subject. Mike's honest and open talk deserved its place as best uncon talk
Rating: 5 of 5 
(05.Oct.2014)
High Performance PHP
Fascinating and insightful, and explained in a way that even this idiot could understand and recognise the significance of the different approaches to compilation. Can I make use of that new knowledge? The jury is still out, but it's certainly making me think more.
Rating: 5 of 5 
(05.Oct.2014)
Your Mileage Should Vary
Volker, I said you shouldn't be nervous about this keynote; and then you went and rocked the socks off your audience. A whole series of great messages, told with a lot of humour to make them memorable
Rating: 4 of 5 
(24.Jan.2015)
A Series of Fortunate Events
Perhaps a little too Symfony-focused, with only a tacit nod to indicate that other frameworks also support Event Dispatchers using CoR; but an interesting introduction to event handlers in general, without being too lightweight.... and just a couple of wake-up slides to keep the audience interested
Rating: 5 of 5 
(24.Jan.2015)
Opening & Keynote; Talmudic Maxims to Maximize Your Growth as a Software Developer
I'd been looking forward to this keynote with interest, and Yitz didn't disappoint. While I'd expected to take a lot from the talk, it was still so much more than I'd expected. I've been working in software development for 30 years now, and now I know that I have to turn around and continue for another 30 years
Rating: 3 of 5 
(24.Jan.2015)
Ansible, just use it
I'm still not convinced that I should switch from chef to Ansible. I already have ruby on my development boxes for vagrant, so chef feels a more natural fit, and I'm confortable enough with scripting recipes; so why do I need to add Python to that mix so that I can run Ansible instead. However, Srdjan's talk was enough to persuade me to give it a try, so I'll be interested in comparing it with chef
Rating: 0 of 5 
(24.Jan.2015)
Lean publishing principles of Package Design
Missed the talk; but I got the book, and will certainly take a look at the slides as well
Rating: 2 of 5 
(24.Jan.2015)
Dashboards for DevOps and other Web Folks
While an interesting and useful topic, it perhaps concentrated too much on charts and not really enough on how they should be interpreted
Rating: 4 of 5 
(24.Jan.2015)
Lists, a secret love story
An interesting talk; and while it didn't really show any benefit of using lists implemented in pure PHP over using SPL's built-in lists, Toon's enthusiasm for and love of playing around with datastructures really shone through in his talk
Rating: 5 of 5 
(24.Jan.2015)
The future of PHP
An enthusiastic look at PHP7 and Hack, particularly focusing on those aspects of Hack that Sara feels may become a part of PHP7, evn if not as part of the first release.
Rating: 0 of 5 
(27.Jun.2015)
Datastructures in PHP: Beyond SPL - Tries and QuadTrees
Code on slides isn't a good idea, anything more than a few lines is unreadable (especially in a large room). Code implementations of Tries (basic, Radix and Suffix) and Point QuadTrees (with examples) can be found at https://github.com/MarkBaker/Tries and https://github.com/MarkBaker/QuadTrees respectively
Rating: 4 of 5 
(29.Jun.2015)
Hacking Foresight from Hindsight
A good keynote, covering both sides of the mentor/mentee relationship from a man who understands the importance of such relationships both formally and informally from his own experience Perhaps a shade too much about his own experience and lessons learned
Rating: 4 of 5 
(29.Jun.2015)
Uncon: Developers are just like humans
The focus on "The Art of Asking" seemed quite appropriate after Josh's opening keynote; and while the talk wasn't particularly focused or structured, it deserves at least four stars simply for recommending Amanda Palmer's book
Rating: 3 of 5 
(29.Jun.2015)
Uncon: PHP Hooligans
As a means of triggering discussion, an interesting approach... though it wouldn't work with all audiences, because sometimes they feel that it is their job to sit quietly and be spoken to... but certainly effective in an unconference slot (especially with Raphael Dohms in the audience) where people are more inclined toward audience participation
Rating: 5 of 5 
(29.Jun.2015)
Uncon: I want to be a hacker... introduction to pentesting
Felt way too short, because it was such a useful look at a pen-testers toolbox
Rating: 4 of 5 
(29.Jun.2015)
Uncon: A day in the life of... a speaker. The fake jetset life
Useful discussion providing a few tips, and helping to inspire confidence in those who want to start speaking... and a good "soft topic" for concluding the unconference track
Rating: 5 of 5 
(29.Jun.2015)
Behind the Scenes of Maintaining an Open Source Project
Jordi managed to convey some of the traumas of tribulations of being involved in an Open Source project with a wry humour (I think he should be made an honourary Briton for that alone), and the type of things that can inspire frustration, anger and burnout... yet also gave insight into how he manages to "survive" the experience. While my own projects are far smaller, I can sympathise with the issues that he raised, even if I only suffer from them on a much smaller scale and less critical than Composer/Packagist... and I can only aspire to be as patient. Jordi, you're a star
Rating: 5 of 5 
(18.Jul.2015)
Down the Rabbit Hole: Lessons Learned combining Career and Community
Cal, inspirational as always, doing what he does so well - pumping up the audience ready for the day; and reminding us that we're all members of the PHP community; and when we work together as a team, we can achieve miracles (and put out fires).
Rating: 4 of 5 
(18.Jul.2015)
Parallel PHP
Managed to cover a lot of ground for a lightning talk, and managed to convey some good advice, despite being the briefest of overviews.... would love to see it as a full length talk (phpnw15 perhaps).... though code on slides is never a good idea until you can read the slides online
Rating: 5 of 5 
(18.Jul.2015)
The Art of Programming
"Ride that fucking unicorn" says it all;
Rating: 4 of 5 
(18.Jul.2015)
Sharing Knowledge
Jenny, guaranteed to inspire almost anyone to start talking at conferences and user groups; more diversity in speakers, fresh faces, new topics
Rating: 3 of 5 
(18.Jul.2015)
Database version control without pain?
Harrie didn't seem as comfortable with this talk as he normally is, and the tannoy announcement and rendition of Happy Birthday from below didn't help. As an overview of a few tools that can be used to handle migrations through different code branches, it was informative about what can and can't be done; but perhaps a bit too "dry"
Rating: 4 of 5 
(10.Sep.2015)
How I learned to stop worrying and love Regular Expressions
Learned some useful new tricks with regexp (such as ? in a context after a repetition + or * to eliminate greediness), and a few gotchas on performance, that should certainly improve my own pitiful efforts with this arcane science. But perhaps trying to squeeze too much information into too tight a timeframe, could have been a 3-hr conference tutorial session given how much was squeezed in
Rating: 4 of 5 
(03.Oct.2015)
Opening Keynote: Stealing People Lessons from Artificial Intelligence
Amused at the of the insights I recognised into managers that I've had, and embarrassed at some of the traits I recognised in myself as a manger... avoiding the more obvious pitfalls of the phb in Dilbert can only take you so far, but this advised on some of the less obvious failings to avoid. Amusing and insightful in equal parts; and provided a few references for future reading
Rating: 5 of 5 
(03.Oct.2015)
Better Late Than Never: Scalar Type Hints in PHP 7
While a good public rant at the foibles of PHP internals might have been a good catharsis, the talk avoided being over-ranty: and the structure approach of reasons why type-hinting should be implemented, the various approaches taken/discarded/taken/rejected/compromised/agreed/etc to explain why type-hinting has been implemented the way it is, then the details of what had been implemented and what the future might hold for further changes made the topic very easy to follow. Well presented, although the nerves did show through on a couple of occasions.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(03.Oct.2015)
Introducing A Quality Model For MVC Applications
Objective achieved, like a boss.... I suspect a lot of the audience agreed in principle with the objective measurement criteria rather than basic code analysis, but will be put off by the amount of work involved without any automated tools; which might be more acceptable for large projects with large teams (or multiple teams) but a lot more effort than can be justified for small teams at the moment... but in principle it's a useful way of measuring quality, and uses both stick and carrot rather than simply the stick to berate your development teams. And amid all the talk on SQuaRE, there were still a lot of useful hints and tips for handling code reviews in general
Rating: 4 of 5 
(30.Jan.2016)
Down The Rabbit Hole‚Äč
The message simple, the presentation compelling - community matters because it helps us achieve what we as individuals cannot do on our own; yet community is made up of individuals like us. Great start to pump everybody up for the conference.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(30.Jan.2016)
Rewriting 12-Year-Old Code
Down to earth and practical advice on handling old, legacy projects; without getting bogged down in details. Every such project is its own problem, with its own solutions; but the "war stories" gave some good approaches to identifying the best solutions for any given situation.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(30.Jan.2016)
PHP Data Structures (and the impact of PHP 7 on them)
Good to see some performance comparisons between SPL datastructures and userland equivalents with arrays for both PHP5 and PHP7, showing how they've changed between the two major versions. Also interesting was the Set datastructure and a numer of approaches to implementing it in userland PHP: I'd have liked to have seen some mention of SPLHeap as well; but overall a good reminder of just what is built into PHP already, the performance/memory benefits; and the differences between 5 and 7.
Rating: 3 of 5 
(30.Jan.2016)
Registration Conference
Quick and easy and hassle free
Rating: 5 of 5 
(19.Feb.2016)
MySQL 5.7 + JSON
An extremely useful talk which (although specifically focusing on JSON support in MySQL) encroached on some other interesting new features in MySQL 5.7 such as Generated Columns.... while obviously useful for the JSON datatype, they also have practical application more generally; although I'll be even more interested when GIS indexes can be applied without needing STORED. Presentation was clear and concise, and the pacing was good; though it might have been interesting to see actual hands-on query execution rather than simply timing figures on a slide to appreciate the differences in performance
Rating: 4 of 5 
(20.Feb.2016)
The Code Manifesto
Perhaps a shade too negative.... while the problems are very real, and need repeating again and again, we really need more on solutions..... what is being done to offset *ism in the industry? what is working and what isn't? More on the how can we as individuals do our bit more proactively rather than simply highlighting the holes we should avoid falling into
Rating: 3 of 5 
(20.Feb.2016)
Mentoring: Change the World One Hour at a Time
The key problem is finding the time to be either a mentor or an apprentice.... it's a commitment by both parties that isn't to be taken lightly. While schemes like https://phpmentoring.org/ help facilitate finding somebody to work with, and are to be applauded for that, it's still too easy to fall into the trap of making commitments that you won't be able to keep consistently. While the talk emphasised the benefits of the mentoring scheme and how to get involved, I felt it didn't provide enough advice on how to overcome some of the problems of commitment... while I'm not trying to put people off getting involved (I'm all in favour of their getting involved) I do want people to go into this with their eyes open.
Rating: 4 of 5 
(20.Feb.2016)
Got 15 minutes? Then give something back!
Wondering where I can find 15 minutes a week, but I already do a few of the things Liam suggested, so I won't feel so guilty if I can't find any more time on a regular basis.... but a host of good ideas on how to give back to the php community

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