ZendCon Speaker BadgeWe're still three months out from the conference and things are already going a bit differently for ZendCon this year… they've started a wiki to let people organize themselves and events starting now.

Some of the major topics of interest are:

A list of Zend Certified Engineers planning to attend;

A list of the PHPWomen attending;

And most important to me, a proposal page for Birds of a Feather (BoF) meetings. If you're attending ZendCon and would like to see a dotProject BoF, go vote.

If you've never attended one of these conferences, a Birds of a Feather meeting is a bit different than a regular session:

  • First, there's usually not a speaker. Whoever organized it generally does some sort of introduction and facilitates discussion but it's closer to an audience-driven panel discussion.
  • Second, it's usually based on a very specific topic. While you might see a session called "Web Services in PHP", you're more likely to see something a little more focused like "PHP in Government", "QCodo" (last year), or "dotProject Users" (hopefully, this year).
  • Third, since there's not really one speaker, a number of side discsussions can and will start and can sometimes be the main discussion. Be prepared for that, some people don't like the lack of structure.

BoF's are really some of the most fun and interesting things about these conferences. Sure, you learn a lot and get exposed to a lot of ideas in the main sessions, but at BoF's, you generally talk with people solving similar problems… and when you have 10, 20 or 50 different people solving the same problem, you hear a lot of perspective and thought you wouldn't get otherwise.

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