Thoughts on the first day of the MySQL user’s conference

So, I attended the first day of the MySQL user’s conference yesterday, which was the tutorial day. Overall I was fairly impressed. Registration was easy, the actual rooms presentations are given in are comfortable, the PA system seemed to work after some initial problems in the morning tutorial I attended.

The conference center seems to be big on retirees hanging around, which I thought was weird. Each room comes with a little old lady, whose job appears to be to read a fiction novel at the door. I really have no idea what else they were achieving. They seemed to be having fun though. I did find it a bit odd that the only drinks provided by the catering staff during the day were acidic, and most of them caffinated. For example, we had choices between coffee, tea, soda water, coke, diet coke, pepsi and diet pepsi. Some fruit juice or even plain water would have been a nice change by the end of the day.

The food was good, unless you’re a vegan like Stewart at which time the catering staff looked confused and had to go off and get him something special (which didn’t look all that special to me when it came ten minutes later). If that happens again today, then I might try to talk him into just going to a restaurant for lunch with me.

The first tutorial I attended was about MySQL cluster, and to be honest I kinda lost interest at the point where I found out that the database currently has to store all of it’s data in RAM. That basically renders it unusable for anyone with a large-ish database. The speaker did a good job in adverse circumstances such as the PA system initially not working, and trying to speak in a language which is not his native tongue in a room which was very wide. I do think that he needed to clamp down harder on the irrelevant, repetitive and self serving questions though. It seemed to me that there were a fair few people in the room who viewed the conference as their chance to get someone else to fix their problems at work. Whilst it’s fair to go to a conference to ask advice on problems you’re having, I do think that some research prior to attending (or even using the wireless during the conference) is a good idea, and that you shouldn’t interrupt the flow of a talk to ask your tangential questions.

The second tutorial was by a Yahoo, and was on MySQL replication. It was excellent — well prepared, relevant to what I am caring about at the moment, coherent, and flowed well. Jeremy and Eric did a great job (slides from the talk). I hung around at the end to try to offer them beer, but they were swamped by fans who didn’t appear to want to leave. I’ll have to chase them down today sometime to make the offer.

Overall, not a perfect start to the conference, but I thought the day was very useful. A good first day.