Archive for the ‘Presentation’ Category

FrOSCamp 2010 Zuerich

2010-10-01

So, another one of those belated meeting/event reports: on 2010-09-17, I was in Zurich for the first-ever FrOSCamp. It was an Open Source/Free Software event with an exhibition floor, talks, and “a fancy party with creative commons licensed beer and music”—what’s not to like!

I presented my “Praktisches RDF in Perl” talk that I recycled from the German Perl Workshop, to spread the word some more. This time, I had prepared an English version, but as I only had German speakers in the audience, I presented in German.

Unfortunately my presentation only drew a handful of people this time. Note to self: work on the abstract some more. I had suspected that my FrOSCamp one was wordy and not catchy, but didn’t get around to rewriting it. At least the audience were pretty engaged and asked lots of questions, which I prefer to a larger crowd that’s half asleep.

The presentation was recorded and is now online as slides+audio. This was a first for me. I could forget about it while presenting, but I was pretty nervous listening to it for the first time, not sure what mess of incoherent rambling and half-finished sentences to expect. Fortunately, I found it ok in the end. Of course, I found several things to improve, but I guess that’s expected for someone who doesn’t present often and is just getting started. My list of the main points to improve is:

  • The introduction should be much shorter and more focussed. A bit like a sales pitch, not as in being obnoxious and fake, but as in focussed on getting the audience’s attention and appreciation for the topic.
  • Too many sentences didn’t flow properly. Simply doing one or two more dry runs should fix that.
  • Have some more visualizations such as diagrams on the slides.

On the other hand, I was pleased with a few things about my presentation: the style of having little text on the slides and more verbal explanation worked well, the code samples seemed to be the right size to digest during a talk, and the questions at the end showed that people had gotten the key points.

Before my presentation, I got to see Renee Baecker‘s talk about Perl::Critic. I’m using it on my code and thus knew the basics, but I appreciated the advanced example towards the end, where Renee walked us through writing our own critic rules. This works via PPI, so you can find patterns in the AST that match the constructs you want to check. I also found it interesting to hear Renee’s personal experience with the severity levels: he’s typically on 3, sometimes 2, but 1 is too harsh.

Other than that, I was mainly hanging out at the Perl booth, a first for me! The booth was staffed by Renee and Roman from Winterthur (CH), two really nice guys whom I had a great time with, discussing everything from Perl modules to freelancing.

BTW, remember the blurb from the FrOSCamp website I quoted at the top about creative commons licensed beer? That wasn’t a joke. FreeBeer is an organic beer, produced by an independent brewery near Zurich, and the recipe is online under a CC license. And it tastes great! A cloudy, full blonde just how I like it :-)

Semantic hacking: RDF in Perl

2010-06-20

Last week, I attended the German Perl Workshop 2010. It was a fun event and I’ll write more on it in the next post.

I gave a 20-minute presentation there called “Semantisches Hacking: RDF in Perl‎”. At Swiss-Prot, we do all our RDF work in Java, but I got interested in how things look on the Perl side, and the Biohackathon in February got me started on exploring that.

Executive summary: The RDF-in-Perl community is organized at www.perlrdf.org, and the core of the available modules is RDF::Trine and RDF::Query by Gregory Williams. For example code, have a look at my simple demo scripts.

At the workshop, I had an audience of about 50-100 people, none of whom had ever worked with RDF or seriously looked into it. So I first introduced RDF in the simplest way possible, as there wasn’t much time, then showed off RDF::Trine and RDF::Query with code examples.

The talk was well received, and I had some interesting conversations afterward where people wanted to know more about RDF. Their questions mainly centered around ontologies/vocabularies, the additional time required to do this properly, and how to build an app on top of a triple store. I had talked about integrating RDF into existing apps in my presentation, for instance using Trine’s support for RDFa, as_hashref, JSON and other possibilities.

Here are the links to the slides (in German), the scripts I took the code snippets from, and the workshop page for the talk.

I think I managed to raise some awareness for RDF and perlrdf.org, and an understanding of the core ideas in an audience where almost no one had had any exposure to these topics, and showed some example code in a way the audience seemed to be able to follow, so I’d say it was a success.


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