php[tek] isn’t just about the sessions during the day. The experience extends into the evenings as well so that you can get the most out of the conference! Events range from additional opportunities to continue honing your craft via coding, or a chance to relax and make connections with your fellow attendees. So far our announced events for this year are listed below:
Open Social Night
This event happens the evening after Tutorial Day for those that buy tickets for it, and for anyone else coming in for the conference a little early and wanting to get their badge early and start to get to know their fellow attendees.
There is nothing formal here, just that you can join your fellow conference attendees at the hotel bar/restaurant. We will have some tables set aside for the conference attendees, and you can grab some dinner, or a drink, and start to make friendships to last you the week long.
A new addition to the schedule this year, the newcomer sessions (better name forthcoming), are designed to help introduce any 1st time tek (or 1st time conference ever) attendees in. We realized that a lot of culture has grown up around tek, and to someone new showing up who hasn’t ever been here before, they don’t know all the details. Where do people go at night? How should you get to know other people? What the heck exactly is a hack-a-thon anyway? All these questions will be answered. Those presenting the Newcomer sessions will also be more than happy to help point out excellent sessions that are definitely ‘not to miss’, and make introductions to people overall. We are holding these at 3 separate times, to make sure that everyone gets a chance to actually attend one as early as possible, and we welcome any non-newcomers who want to just show up and make some new friends!
OK, we can’t tell you what this one is yet. But those who attended last year’s tek know that we held an amazing summit one evening, where we invited a number of special guests to come up and talk about the theme of ‘Mentorship’.
While people were there, we also fed everyone dinner. This year will be very similar in structure, but on a completely different theme. What theme will this year’s summit be on? You’ll have to wait and see.
The hackathon that’s run at tek each year is due some explanation. Why? The term “Hackathon” is applied to multiple types of events and that has caused confusion in the past. There are some hackathon’s that are highly structured activities designed around getting people into working on specific APIs. They sometimes involved specific technologies or companies that are involved. Or they become themed competitions with prizes at the end. Our hackathon at the same time none of these, and a bit of all of these.
For us, our hackathon is a simply an open time & place to get together and hack on some code for an evening, while we provide you with some dinner refreshments. Exactly what code gets worked on, completely depends upon the attendees themselves. Usually there are multiple open source projects represented there, and all very willing to help a newbie out by introducing them to the project and getting them started on contributing to it. We’ve also had entire new projects conceived, hatched, and released during the hackathon! If you are interested in showing up and writing some code, whether for yourself, or joining up with an OSS project team and giving them a hand, you’ll be welcomed!
Another new addition to the schedule this year. We are taking our traditional unconference (uncon) and instead turning it into an Open Spaces event. If you aren’t familiar with the Open Spaces concept, it’s somewhat between a Birds of a Feather, and an Uncon. It’s a great way to organize the idea of getting together with like minded people to have conversations about topics that are important to you. This is organized and run completely by the attendees themselves.
Basically there will be a board, that will allow for people to sign up with topics that they would like to have a conversation about. They pick a time slot, and write in the topic that they are interested in. Then all the do is show up at the right time, and place, and see who else shows up to join them. We will provided a dedicated room for this, with circles setup for multiple conversations to be happening at the same time. The main idea with this is to spark a conversation about a topic that either you are passionate about, or would like to know more about.
Yes, we do like to let down and relax as well, and this year will be no exception. This year we will have two evening parties planned to let you mingle and get to know your fellow attendees!
The parties are held in the Sheraton Grand ballroom, and will feature an open bar (for limited time), as well as some planned activities to keep you entertained. Previous years have included Rock Band, PHP Jeopardy, Xbox Gaming, board game night, a LEGO party, and more. You’ll have to come out to see what we will be doing this year…depending upon the evening, there might even be door prizes available! But rest assured that we’ve got some great plans for this year!