Benjamin Yaroch – CAST 2013 conference chair

With the “First Responder” discount deadline approaching and twitter lighting up with people saying they have been selected to speak at CAST, I’ve had a few people ask if the schedule will be published before the deadline. Unfortunately that won’t be the case we still have titles to sort out, abstracts to finalize, bios to post, and agreements to be signed. So it will be a little bit before we post the full schedule. With that said I’ve seen the schedule that Ben and Louise put together and it’s a good one, sessions are filled with great topics and I’m seeing a lot of new speakers.

The next question I get is, when are the tutorials going to be posted? Now that the sessions are sorted I can focus on tutorials. As you may know there are only three slots this year so the selection process won’t be an easy one. With that said I’ve already begun narrowing the list and started reaching out to potential speakers. If all things go well we should have an equally diverse and interesting set of tutorials.

In regards to the schedule some regular CAST attendees may have noticed I’m using a new scheduling tool called Sched. While hand editing HTML tables is fun (I love it when I save and things move around) I thought it might be nice to have something that made life a bit easier and also allowed attendees to not only view the full schedule but also create their own customized schedules. I also wanted something for the mobile crowd because lets be honest viewing our website on your phone isn’t what I would call a great user experience. With Sched you can view and customize your own schedule via the Mobile Web App for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. If you haven’t gone mobile yet, no worries, you can download your schedule to Google Calendar, Outlook, or Apple iCal. For those that prefer paper, a printed version is available. Finally for those who use Twitter or Facebook you can share your schedule with the world via a tweet or a post.

At CAST we care about conferring. To help facilitate that we typically publish photos and bios of the speakers in the program so you can connect a name with a face. That is great but at CAST attendees are as important as speakers but they don’t get a photo and bio. Fear not Sched allows anyone attending CAST to register and upload a photo and bio. Now you can get to know the other attendees before you arrive and see what sessions they plan to attend. My hope is that all of these features combined will encourage conferring before, during, and after CAST.