What to do before OSCON

By Kevin Shockey
July 17, 2010

I know this is a last minute post, but that's sort of the point. For OSCON veterans, you probably already know this stuff, so nothing to see here folks; move along. However, if you're new to OSCON, or relatively new, then you might want to take a few minutes and learn about these tips before you head to Portland.

  1. Definitely, take a long look at the schedule. Personally, I like to use the "Full Listing" to plan out your days. There's nothing worse than trying to figure out which sessions you'd like to check out, while you're walking between sessions. In fact, go ahead and build your own personal schedule. O'Reilly has an awesome tool that will let build your own schedule. You can download the schedule, share it or even subscribe to it.

    All you need to do is log in with the ID you used to register and pull up the schedule, then as you find sessions you like, just click on the calendar icon. When you're done you can access it from the "Hi Kevin" menu item. Well it will say that if your first name is Kevin, otherwise it might say "Hi [insert your first name here].

  2. While we're on the subject of what's on the site menu, definitely go ahead and explore all of the menu options to see what's available. A couple that I would recommend is checking out the Birds of Feather Sessions. These are informal get togethers where you can meet people and share thoughts around a common topic. Another that I like is reviewing the Attendee directory. It's a really great tool that can improve your chances of connecting with the people that will make your attendance pay off. For instance, if you're a Ruby-head, you can search for Ruby and then reach out to them by choosing the "you'd like to meet" option or go ahead and send them a message.

  3. I know it sounds corny, but I always like to peruse the sponsors and exhibitors. Sometimes, the exhibit hall can be a little intimidating. So knowing who you're likely to encounter ahead of time can prepare you for the mad crush. Especially if you're going on the company's dime, you can zero in on those product and service providers that you're going to want to talk to and grab some PR stuff to share with the boss once you're back in the office. Hint, hint, wink, wink.

  4. Finally, here's a bonus tip. Did you know that the annual Oregon's Brewers Festival runs concurrently with OSCON? Call me Homer, but I like beer, so this smorgasbord of beer is like a little slice of heaven on earth. If you're a beer snob, like me, then I would unequivocally, absolutely, positively recommend this as the one place not to miss while you're in Portland next week. Oh yeah, there's the conference too, but this is the real reason to be in Portland next week. Cheers!

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