Well, it’s that season, and another O’Reilly conference is approaching. I can tell by the sudden increase in spam of the “see us in booth 217” type. Which is unfortunate, I’m quite capable of walking the convention floor myself, thank you, and I’m not going to be encouraged to seek out booth 217 no matter how strange your company name sounds.

I’m going to skip my complaining about how O’Reilly never asks for permission to sell my email address, and skip directly to the poor design behind their conference schedule. It gets the job done, but not well enough, as evidenced by this year’s conference planning application online. Yes, “MyConfPlan” does everything your normal HTML table does, but actually lets you set up an account and indicate which talks you’re going to. What a great idea!

Why doesn’t O’Reilly do this? I’m not sure. They seem to pass right over all the great web-based ideas for enhancing their conferences, instead handing out a small phone book at sign-in. Does anyone actually use this book? It’s just that many dead trees and waste. We’re talking about quite possibly the world’s most nerdy group of programmers, getting together for three days! These are people who haven’t picked up a Yellow Pages since they lived with Mom.

Get with the times, O’Reilly!

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