OSCON 2012 was the place to be if you were looking for an interesting gig, cutting-edge Web dev techniques, or DIY open hardware projects. It was one of the most technically-oriented conferences I've attended in a while. My observations:
  • Much discussion centered around Web development, particularly during in-depth talks on HTML5, PHP, Javascript and Python. And, no surprise, there were no less than six sessions on cloud services and computing. Mobile topics included "Speech Enabling Android Apps," "Building a Mobile, Offline Mapping Stack Using Open Tools & Data," and "PhoneGap: Cross the Gap from HTML5 to Mobile."
  • Though most of the people in the speakers and media lounge were using notebooks -- with quite a few on high-end Linux powered sub-notebooks -- it was interesting to see so few tablets in the sessions and tutorials. I suppose since developers, programmers and content creators need to write code, tablets just don't fill the bill.
  • Open hardware was a popular topic. There were a couple of tutorials and several overview sessions on the Arduino. One tutorial covered writing iPhone applications to control an Arduino via USB. A mini Maker Faire offered lots of Arduino and do-it-yourself merchandise. (My talk on hacking a basic remote sensor with an Arduino, Xbee radios and Linux drew a full house, I'm happy to say, with a few people actually standing in the back.)
For job hunters, here's a tip: When there's an interesting event in your area, check to see if you can get onto the show floor for low or no cost. Conferences frequently offer locals the opportunity to see the vendor displays and walk around the the venue. Use that to your advantage and go meet some people. Just remember to offer value for someone's time -- be interesting and don't be pushy. Blatant selling is frowned upon, so act accordingly.

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