A notch above a monkey » DjangoCon Europe 2014?

DjangoCon Europe 2014?

Update 2: Tickets are now on sale and it is safe to say that I am not going. The opening price (which will go up after 50 sold tickets) is already too high for me and it is exactly what I was originally afraid of.

Update: I am sorry, I overreacted. As http://2014.djangocon.eu//news/ makes clear tickets will cover everything except getting there and I have full confidence they will be reasonably priced. Listed transport options for those from my neighborhood are still valid (unless somebody has better data which would be great).

I did not go to DjangoCon Europe in Warsaw this year, but I was certain I would go to the next one. Not anymore.

There is no good way of contacting organizers[1] and not much travel information either on the DjangoCon’s website or elsewhere. Most of what there is is in French which I don’t speak so my worries are hopefully unfounded, but what I found so far looks grim.

First transport. It is not organizer’s fault I live where I do (Ljubljana, Slovenia), but my options are plane (500+€; travel time 6 and 17 hours), train (EUR ??; travel time 14-24h in each direction) or car which would take about 9 hours in one direction and cost around 600€ total per car (180 for tolls, ~400 for fuel with hopefully free parking there).

It is really difficult to get a good idea of how much do hotels on the island cost, but judging by tripadvisor they are not cheap and in general cost 100+€ per day. Staying on the mainland can be done cheaper, but I think ferry costs at least 13€ per day so total cost will likely not be very low and you will not be around for any late events.

No idea yet about how easy it is to find suitable food if you are a vegetarian or a vegan or how much does it cost. I assume it can be worked out.

In total this looks significantly more than it did to attend EuroPython in Florence and that was FLORENCE!

I dislike criticizing efforts of others, especially when I know that involves a lot of volunteering and when I am not privy to inside knowledge and dilemmas. However as a regular conference goer it does look to me that there has been a shift happening from egalitarian accessibility of making community conferences cheap and easy enough for anyone to attend to a more stratified approach where money (or time) poor will have to do with video recordings/broadcasts while the rest will get ever flashier experience.

There is obviously a lot of value in meeting face to face (otherwise most of us would probably prefer to save the expense of it) which is why I would find this kind of development sad if it happened to major community gatherings like DjangoCon Europe. So I am hoping that it isn’t and it won’t.

  1. I know there’s a Twitter account. I don’t find it a good channel for the kind of communication I want, but that is a different discussion.

Comments (5)

  1. As I read the current page of DjangoCon Europe, the accommodations will be included in the ticket, but that might be just my interpretation. Non the less the current page is not final, as there is no way of buying tickets, reading about the program or anything else than that the conference is going to be on an island. So slow your horses and see how it all will evolve :)

    In essence I agree with your main point though. Conferences should not become something that is a luxury – it should be available for everyone!

    Comment by Víðir Valberg Guðmundsson — #
  2. THIS IS A COMMON Organizational Anti-Pattern and key problem/challenge.

    This professional engineering organization is ‘stacked’
    in favor of BIG CORP, sometimes ‘marketing evangelists’
    and other ‘academics.’ Same with Software Orgs.

    1.)it is not easy running conferences and there are fewer
    and fewer volunteers
    2.)USA NYC despite HIGH EFFORT, even I found it difficult
    and I almost ALWAYS resisted the temptation to ‘get friends
    and company colleagues’ to join the officers and volunteers.

    3.)THERE MUST BE ‘sliding scale’, accomodations and even
    special ‘scholarships’, etc. Sure, it is easy for me with
    a standard job (at that time), plenty of interest and even
    friends with empty, cheap apartments in New York City, NY
    USA. But it is hard for FOREIGNERS…

    4.)Why are not there more females? Afraid of the BIG CITY
    and crime? Jobs pays a lot less than comparable males? likely
    true. Afraid of social networking parties that have OPEN BAR
    and just drinking and wildness? Alas, somewhat true…

    5.)There must be higher emphasis on the NEW ERA of virtual
    conferences and also on ‘small impromptu and agile meetings’
    at local cities.

    6.)let us not get started about the AMERICAN english.. or
    French Language, etc. The only languages of importance are
    SHELL, PYTHON and Haskell perhaps in that order…. IMHO in my
    humble opinion – real math helps a lot, also.

    THANK YOU for helping with the discussion.

    7.)THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY conferences spread out with too
    few participation. Thus, perhaps there should be aggregation,
    multiple conferences – in the same area. and even close timed
    sequential conferences (big trade show… then overlapping
    is the DJANGO, etc.

    8.)it is easy to pick out the IBM conferences (yes I have
    been there and done that). Luxury hotel. Orlando, FL, USA
    with plenty of activities for ‘families – children, etc.’
    Yes, I have gone to Disneyworld a long time ago… Just like
    the lawyers always meet in Hawaii, USA or ??? with plenty of
    golf course activities….

    9.)the conference is the HUMAN TOUCH so needed in todays
    VIRTUAL REALITY WORLD. Where one spends an average of 11.5 hours
    per day ON THE COMPUTER in the ‘MATRIX’ – see the Matrix Trilogy
    movie – ALL THE TIME…

    10.)Even soft soccer ball – football and ‘party games’ and
    even xkcd joke hour should and MUST BE part of the fabric of

    11.)sometimes the cheapest places are colleges and Universities.
    REMEMBER, the middle age (over five years of REAL job experience

    Conclusion: the time I spent on ‘organizing’, meeting with
    fellow brothers and sisters GLOBALLY was time I did not spend
    on the usual ‘wild parties’, drinking, gambling, big sports
    American Football, endless hours playing biliards/pool…

    Oh, amazing.. I have enjoyed working on my car (as an amateur)
    and it is amazing how many SOFTWARE GENIUSES and even WOMEN
    know little or nothing about CARS.

    PPS. in the USA, the reason for many car accidents during the
    ice and snow storms, is that ‘driver education is low.’ Yes,
    In the airport parking lots and on the hills, spin the wheels
    and create ice and well as burning out the transmission!
    The heat creates ice ruts and dangerous driving conditions
    IN THE CITIES of the USA.

    I have driven a ‘normal, old age car.’ Rear wheel, so I
    carry 200 pounds of sand/kitty litter over the real wheels
    and the sand can be used to cover ice. …

    THE SEGREGATION, emphasis on ‘commercialism’; overemphasis
    on GLOBALISM. rise of CORPORATIZATION – sponsorship of conferences (of course IBM sponsors LINUX…) and other
    ‘closed door officer meetings – completely private) seem
    to be

    TRENDS in the non-profit, organizations and ‘open association’

    PPS. presenting a paper or new findings, but not a FULL PROFESSOR? Too bad you come from a small country like Tesla
    or from ??? Greece. IT IS HARD FOR YOU TO GO TO THE MEETINGS

    This is not a small thing…. As head or Chairman or director
    or president? of small org… the newspaper or heavens forbid
    even TV CHANNEL can call at any time. Your obscure ‘blog’
    will remain an ‘obscure’ and lost in the noise of the internet

    Florida, USA citizen

    Comment by not current — #
    I am male, USA citizen.
    NEVER, almost NEVER go to the Birds of Feather meetings
    at Javits Center, NYC, NY, USA during the big conventions?

    it ends at 7:30 or 8pm IN THE DARK. Hard to get a taxi.
    Public Bus schedule sometimes is late (USA union driver?)

    For two guys walking together and familiar with BIG CITY CRIME,
    maybe OK.
    For a single female walking at least TEN CITY BLOCKS to ‘safety’
    is a CHALLENGE.

    So, I take the American and drop him in Bulgaria for the
    conference — wearing wet cotton pants in the MINUS DEGREE
    CENTIGRADE temperature?

    Supercomputer conference in Tampa, FL. Drinking at the open
    bar sponsored by BIG NAME CORP. with the Danish, Sweden and
    some british professor (definitely a bit drunk). but he was
    older and maybe did not have to get to work tomorrow.

    I am the only one who knows the area and I have a strong
    flashlight… as we stumble our way to the bright lights of
    the big HOTEL. This is NOT ORLANDO, FL or Miami, FL – getting
    a taxi or limo IS THE PROBLEM. (and being the USA.. perhaps
    avoiding seafood poisoning or food allergy items..)

    Comment by not current — #
  4. Hopefully everything will be in English.

    My experience with conferences in France has been that often things are very difficult if you don’t read and speak French.

    Comment by want to go — #

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