Online copy of this document is available at http://yapcrussia.org/proposal2011

 
YAPC::Europe 2011 in Riga — “Modern Perl”
Moscow.pm monger group and DeepText LLC propose to organise YAPC::Europe 2011 in Riga, the capital of Latvia.
 

Dates

The conference is proposed to take place from Wednesday August 17th through Friday August 19th, 2011.

 
Venue
The conference will be held in Riga Congress Centre (http://www.kongresunams.lv/).
 
 
Several conference rooms, two (bigger ones) of them theater-style, are available:
 

     

In addition, there are a three-storey hall and a cafe.
 

Thus, it is possible to organize three bigger tracks of talks and a number of smaller BOFs, classes and hackathons (even in parallel with main tracks). Venue rules give us a 24 hour availability of using the Centre and its facilities.

 
The large room is capable enough to host all the attendees coming to YAPC::Europe 2011, as well as all of those who attended the conference during the last several years. It is suitable for keynotes, lightning talks, auction and public announcement of the future venue.
 

  

The centre is situated in close to Old Town (Vecriga) district. It is easily reached by walk or public transport.
 
Venue equipment the Centre has
 
There is also a guarded underground parking for 325 cars nearby. And there's an international library inside (inside the venue, not the parking) with literature in 53 languages.
 

Theme

We propose the conference theme “Modern Perl”. First, this name naturally joins with the previous conference “Renaissance Perl”. Second, modern Perl is a current trend in Perl world intended to make Perl up-to-date and competitive.

 

Website

The conference's site will be a traditional Act-based site with wiki pages, along with pages about Riga (and information on how not to become lost there). The Act base makes it possible for attendees at previous events to have an easy log-in process and allows online payments. We have used Act system (both centrally hosted and manually installed) more than a dozen times during the last four years. As an experiment, we propose to launch the site one year before the conference, namely at the dates of YAPC::Europe in Pisa.

 

Audio and video recordings

Recordings of Perl events have become more popular recently; they should become a standard feature of any event. We are going to organize video and audio recordings from every talk, and publish them afterwards on the yapc.tv and perl.fm websites.
 
Wireless internet
Wi-Fi access will be available free of charge for every attendee. It is provided by the venue owners. We'd like the simplest possible scheme for accessing will be implemented. To help users setting up their laptops there will be information both on site's wiki pages, and in a separate printed material handled over to the attendees when they check in.
 
We will also test if Mac, Windows and Linux (Ubuntu) users are able to connect without hard work. SSH ports will be open as well. For those having laptops without Wi-Fi modules, we'll provide a separate router in the hall with a few cables.
 
Online broadcasting
We are also going to organize live audio streaming on perl.fm during the conference.
Depending on local internet facilities, video broadcasting (of those talks whose authors allow streaming and recording) can be organized.
 
Electricity
Latvia is being reported to use both C and F types of power outlets, although you may find the ones of C type in the “ancient” buildings only. The venue is equipped with standard European F type outlets, 220 V and 50 Hz.
 
As some of us are Mac users, we will have enough VGA converters of all types for speakers coming with Macbooks.
 
Catering
We'd like to provide two coffee breaks and a lunch every day. There will be option to pre-order vegetarian food. We'd also like to supply drinking water, tee and coffee during the entire conference day.
 
Two daily coffee breaks will include
 
Lunches should resemble average european business lunches (including vegetarian ones on pre-order). We hope to cover its cost by sponsors.
 
Expenses
The two main expenses are:
 
We believe that it is possible to cover that minimum with our own resources. Our colleagues suggested that we ask small local catering companies to prepare the food for attendees, which drastically reduces the cost of coffee breaks and the dinner.
 
We also will rent video equipment to make video recordings of all the talks during the conference (making sure the speakers agree to be recorded and published).
 
Attendance fee levels
Remembering the facts from the previous section, and trying to follow the spirit of YAPCs, we estimate the standard attendance fee to be 99 €, and set additional levels for those who meet specific conditions:
 
 
Attendees paying any of these fees will receive:
 
Additional levels of fee for Baltic state citizens

To help promote Perl to local users from Baltic states (Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia) and to allow more people to hear Perl stars, we propose that additional levels of attendance fee be made available:

 
 
Attendees at these levels will receive the same as regular attendees, except they need to proof they are citizens of those three states. We hope this low-level fee will discourage people from registering but not then attending.
 
Zero fee
Two categories of attendees may enter the conference free:
 

Registration process

Each approved attendee receives a link to a page with personal barcode, which should be printed and brought to the conference. This barcode will speed up the registration process and eliminate the possibility of misunderstanding foreign names that exists in a crowded (and therefore noisy) registration hall. The barcode technique has been tested several times and has been used successfully since Moscow.pm’s first event. The barcode is not the only proof of registration that will be accepted; attendees with no printout will also be served.
 
Attendance fee receipts will be available on request.
 
Talk schedule
Our initial goal is three talk tracks filled up with 20-minute talk slots (thus allowing 20, 40 and 60 minute talks and 1 hour keynotes). It is possible to organize a fourth track if enough good talk proposals are submitted. Two lightning talk sessions (not overlapping with other talks) will be reserved at the end of the first two days.
 
Speaker’s honour
Speakers giving full-length talks receive badges of different type so that they are notable not only when they stand on the stage. We provide a speakers room in the venue with quiet atmosphere where they will be able to prepare, complete or fix their talks if they need it, and always find free power outlets to charge laptops.
 
There will be free drinking water at the stage available for the speakers, and a dedicated person in every room for technical help such as connecting the laptop, both video and sound, if needed. They will also serve as a countdown service providing a smooth way to having firm schedule.
 
Attendees’ relaxation
We provide a reception desk in the venue which will work all time during the conference, so that attendees receive any help when they need.
 
We also think out the registration process (described in a separate section of this document) and will let both early (at the pre-conference meeting) and late (during the whole first day of the conference) registration.
 
Pre-conference meeting
On the day before the conference, in the evening, we suggest attendees to attend a pre-conference beer/food meeting. Current candidate is Lido’s network cafe “Alus seta” (“Beer house”) in Old Town (http://lido.lv/eng/companies/catering_companies/alus_seta/). We held there a pre-conference meeting before the Baltic Perl Workshop. We ask conference attendees to indicate their desire to be at the meeting, and can move the site to a bigger cafe on Krasta street (http://lido.lv/eng/companies/catering_companies/recreation_centre/) of the same Lido’s network which is big enough to server up to 1000 people.
 
Workshops, seminars and classes
We propose that the conference be organized so that it ends on Friday. This would allow us to organize additional seminars (paid or not), workshops, hackathons and master classes on Monday and Tuesday, as well as on the weekend.
 
We will focus both on Perl 5 modern techniques as well as Perl 6 basics and practical usage. Classes primarily supposed to be paid to allow cover the expenses of invited teachers.
 
The number, pricing, and schedule of such events depend on the class trainers, hackathon leaders, and others who would like to volunteer to organize such events.
 
Additional programme
Riga is very attractive city itself, but it is also close to see-side Jurmala, which is as close as 30-40 minutes by train. And it is very wise to spend additional day for visiting Tallinn or Vilnius (capitals of Estonia and Lithianua), there are cheap Euroline busses connecting these cities. We will also organize a family programme (excursion in Riga, visiting Jurmala, just food and/or SPA) for those who travel with their family.
 

Auction
At the end of the conference we plan to hold an auction of Perl-(non)related stuff. All the talks will be done to that moment, and the large room is big enough to have all attendees and their auction goods together, well, as well as money. Public offensive sexual-related activity will not be allowed during the action (that doesn't mean it is allowed in the conference itself though). Possible auction profit is not included in the initial budget.

 

Promotion
The proposed event will be promoted through standard Perl-related websites such as use.perl.org, livejournal.com communities, Perl community ad server, and also in mailing lists of PM-groups participating in the organizational process. Twitter, friendfeed.com and RSS feeds of the process will be launched as well.
 
Those of us who attend Perl-related (and not only) events may give lightning talks of what YAPC is and where it will happen next time.
 
We will also promote the event among local people via local Latvian IT sites and online magazines.
 
Survey
We do not plan to make preliminary voting for the talks (letting approval right to the organizers), but there will be standard option which allows to build up a personal schedule, marking talks with a star.
 
What we really want to do is to public the number of people really attended the conference. Such figures are not publicly available for the past two YAPCs.
 
After the conference is completed we’ll send e-mails proposing to take part in the YAPC Survey questionnaire (http://yapc-surveys.org/).
 
Perl events we’ve organized
Since the end of 2007 we (Moscow.pm alone or jointly with other PM-groups) have organized 19 events in 7 countries, in both the European and Asian parts of the continent:
 
 
2007
 
2008
 
2009
 
2010 
 
In the nearest plans:
 
2010
2011
 
 
Theory and practice
In addition to the above mentioned events which were held in reality, we have held two YAPC::Europe conferences in our brains: creating, evaluating and polishing all the details of them during a couple of previous years and making bids and corrections according to real YAPC::Europe events and situations there.
 
Information about Riga
Riga is the capital of Latvia and the biggest city in Baltic States. It is also considered cultural and financial centre of these states. Its population is approx. 700 000.
 
Historical centre (Old Town) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 
Time
Riga and the whole Latvia lives in Eastern European Time (GMT + 2; GMT +3 in summer) and uses Gregorian calendar.
 
Getting to Riga
Riga is the home of AirBaltic company which operates in many directions connecting Riga with European cities.
 
 
It is also possible to fly from Lisbon via Barcelona or London.
 
Lowest prices currently (June 2010) available at AirBaltic of return tickets from European capitals are like these (including taxes and fuel surcharge):
 
Amsterdam 248 €
Athens 116
Berlin 82
Brussels 230
Copenhagen 103
Helsinki 112
Kiev 137
Lisbon 363
London 61
Madrid 134
Moscow 174
Oslo 51 (2 Euro before taxes)
Paris 129
Prague 355
Rome 270
Sofia 388
Stockholm 91
Tallinn 91 (Terrestrial buses available)
Vienna 282
Vilnius 86
Warsaw 92
Zurich 255
 
Besides, a number of other companies have their flights to Riga: AZAL, Aeroflot, Aerosvit Airlines, Air Astana, Alitalia, Armavia, Austrian Airlines, Belavia, Brussels Airlines, City Airline, Continental Airlines, Czech Airlines, Delta, Finnair, Georgian Airways, KLM, LOT, Lufthansa, MALEV, Norwegian, Rossiya Airlines, Ryanair, SAS, Spanair, TAROM, Turkish Airlines, United, Uzbekistan Airways, Wind Jet and Wizz Air.
 
Airport
Riga International Airport (IATA code: RIX) operates the flights to 82 destinations. It is close enough to the city center: it is about 20-25 minutes by taxi. There are also buses connecting the airport with the city.
 
Airport ICAO code is EVRA, its direction and distance are 255°, 5.4 NM from Riga, its

reference point: Lat: N56°55’25", Lon: E23°58’16", elevation: 36 feet. Approach lights are 900m/LIH, threshold lights are green, VASIS type and glidepath angle: PAPI/3.00°, Rwy edge lights: 3200m/60m/white/yellow/LIH, Rwy centre line lights: 3200m/15m/white/red/LIH, Rwy end lights are red, the length of touchdown zone lights is 900m (rwy 36), airport is operating 24 hours daily, terminal space is 33 000 m², available fuels are JET A-1, AVGAS 100LL, ATIS frequencies: 121.2MHz, tower frequency: 118.1MHz, ground frequency: 118.8MHz, approach one: 127.3MHz, transit one: 131.6MHz, runway length and width are 3200 m and 45 m respectively, and AFTN is EVRAYDYD while SITA is RIXRG7X.

 

Thus, everyone may conclude that the airport is absolutely suitable for serving YAPC::Europe attendees.

 

Taxi from the airport costs 8-9 Lats (11-13 Euro) and you may buy a green voucher at the exit of the airport or (1 Lat cheaper) during the flight with AirBaltic. With these voucher (valid for unlimited period) you will be delivered from the airport to any part of the city.

 
Public transport
Riga public transport system includes trams, trolleybuses, buses, all covered under “Rīgas satiksme” LLC.
 
There are different types of tickets: the more you buy the more you save. There are tickets for particular number of journeys, as well as for the given number of days; some of them are valid for every transport type.
 
Tickets with unlimited number of journeys, price in Latvian Lats and Euro:
24 hours, any transoport 1.90 Ls ≈ 2.70 €
3 days, any transport 5.70 8.00
5 days, single route  4.20 5.88
5 days, single transport 6.00 8.40
5 days, two transports 7.00 9.80
5 days, any transport 9.50 13.40
 
Tickets with limited number of journeys: 
Single journey 0.50 Ls ≈ 0.70 €
5x 2.50 3.53
10x 4.75 6.70
20x 9.00 12.60
 
Food, beer and balsam
Central Riga (Old Town) is full of pretty cafes and restaurants. One of them, Alus Seta (“Beer house”) is what we propose for the pre-conference meeting. 500 ml of beer cost about 2 Euro.
 
Some people even write a summary of their “food travelling”, for example: http://homepages.poptel.org.uk/steve.rogerson/riga07.html. And a tip for every tourist: you have to buy legendary Riga Black Balsam (http://www.balzams.lv/).
 
Mobile phones
Local mobile operators LMT, Tele2 and Bite offer SIM cards which are suitable for foreigners willing to have local phone number for a few days only.
 
Or you may by AirBalticCard (http://www.airbalticcard.com/) either in the airport or when flying with AirBaltic, which gives Estonian number (+372) and cheap international calls.
 
International phone code of Latvia: +371.
 
Accommodation
 
Hotels
There are lot of hotels both in the Old Town and in the rest of Riga. Sample lowest prices found on Booking.com for April of 2011 (furthest possible currently) site are these:

Kolonna Hotel Riga ☆☆☆ Standard Twin Room 36 €  Free Wi-Fi everywhere
Boutique Hotel Monte Kristo ☆☆☆ Economy Double 35 Free Wi-Fi everywhere


Tripple Room 70
Hotel Irina ☆☆☆ Single Standard 30 Paid Wi-Fi everywhere


Small Double 35


Superior Double 51
Hotel Riga ☆☆☆☆ Single Room 45 Paid wired internet


Tripple Room 78
Nordic Hotel Bellevue ☆☆☆☆ Cosy Double 56 Free Wi-Fi everywhere


Family Room 112


Single Room 63
Hotel Justus ☆☆☆☆ Standard Double 70 Free Wi-Fi in public areas,
wired and charged in rooms


Single Room 60


Family Suite 130

Internet seems to be available in every hotel, though may be either wired and/or paid.

Hostels
Sample extraction of prices per person (except private rooms) for hostels in Riga, according to HostelWorld.com for August 2011:

Tiger hostel Dorm room 7.52 € Free Wi-Fi everywhere
Doma hostel Dorm room 6.91 € Free Wi-Fi everywhere
Elizabeth's Youth hostel Private room 22.57 € Free Wi-Fi everywhere
 
Safety
Riga is relatively small town and is quiet and safe. It also attracts tourists; the conference venue is located close to the central part and Old Town so no troubles are expected.
 
Riga sightseeing
It is warm enough in Riga (16.5 ºC average temperature) in August to both walk inside Old Town and use open yellow bus tours.
 
The most attractive for tourists is, no doubt, Old Town (Vecriga in Latvian). It is better to explore it by walking. It would be also wise to find a hotel in this area to feel the spirit of the town.
 
Yellow bus service offers hop-on/hop-off tickets and several different routes which cover the most of what a tourist would like to see:
 
 
The city itself is separated by Daugava river: the venue and the Old Town are on its right side. Most of historical monuments and museums are there as well.
 
Just to list a few most important touristic places inside Old Town.
 
And outside of it:
 
The building of Academy of Science is interesting by itself as it is the one of the series of Stalin’s skyscrapers, others may be found in Moscow and Warsaw.
 
Visas issues
Latvia is both in the EU and Schengen area, thus no visas are required for most of the attendees.
 
Languages in Riga and Latvia
Official language in Latvia is Latvian. But people living in Riga are often bilingual and speak both Latvian and Russian (or at least understand one of them). Most of the younger people also speak English. Most of elderly people speak Russian.
 
Latvian language uses latin alphabet (with a few diacritics) so it will be easy for English speaking people to navigate in the city. We also provide one or two survival phone lines served by our volunteers.
 
Money, currency and credit cards
Official currency is Latvian Lat (code: LVL, symbol: Ls). Current rate to Euro is 1 LVL = 1.41 EUR (or, simply 1 LVL = sqrt(2) EUR). We will put an informer to the conference site which will give the information on actual exchange rates to Euro as well other European currencies to Latvian Lat.
 
ATM machines can be found everywhere, starting from the airport: in hotels, on the streets, and in large stores. Credit cards are widely used.
 
 
Perl 6 involvement
Both Moscow.pm and DeepText LLC are fond of Perl 6 and help its development. We published a series of interviews (in Russian on perl6.ru) with Perl 6 developers, both translated and taken exclusively. We held a Perl 6 hack meet during Perl Mova + YAPC::Russia conference in Kiev in 2010. Rakudo Perl 6 releases #28 and #30 were named after Moscow and Kiev respectively.
 
Moscow.pm essentials

The Moscow.pm (http://moscow.pm.org/) Perl mongers group has been active since November 2007, and has grown from 2 people to 253 members in June of 2010. The Moscow.pm group meets offline every one or two months.

 

The creation of Moscow.pm resulted in the formation of several new groups after that first workshop in Moscow.
 
DeepText LLC
DeepText (http://deeptext.net/) company was established in 2007 to help organizing Perl events in Russia and neighbouring countries. The company stands behind every event mentioned earlier in the list of our events.
 
The company has sponsored Jonathan Worthington's work on multiple dispatch in Perl 6 and brian d foy’s visit to YAPC::Russia in 2009.
 
We also helped Tim Bunce, Carl Mäsak, Jonathan Worthington and Marian Marinov to be invited as guest speakers to larger IT conferences happened in Moscow in 2008, 2009 and 2010.
 
It also helps to deliver to Russian speaking audience the latest information on Perl 6 and interviews with people closely related with its development on http://perl6.ru/ and http://onperl.ru/ sites.
 
YAPC::TV (http://yapc.tv/) is our project containing video recordings of Perl talks.
 
 
We definitely have the experience required to host yet another YAPC::Europe.
 
 
Contact information
Andrew Shitov <andy@shitov.ru>