POSSCON, the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference, will be in Columbia SC on March 27-29.

The Palmetto Open Source Software Conference will once again bring a world-class lineup of speakers and content to the Southeast to discuss the latest open and open source issues for technologists, business and government IT leaders, and educators.

It’ll be my first POSSCON, and I’m pretty stoked. There’s a great speaker lineup, including Scott McNealy (Sun), Chris Aniszczky (Twitter), Maddog Hall (of Linux International and a terrific speaker), and so many others I have a feeling I’ll be missing something awesome in another room every time I sit down.

I’m doing a talk on how Mecklenburg uses open source software. How I keep getting invited to talk at the same venues folks like Maddog or Paul Ramsey talk at remains an enduring mystery to me, but it’ll be a good time. I have been eschewing slide shows lately and I think I’ll do so again here. These kinds of talks - the audience could range from GIS professionals to people that got lost on the way to the room - can be tricky, so I’d like to keep my eyes on the audience and adjust based on their feedback. 45 minutes is a long time to go sans-slides though. I might have to break with tradition and jot down a few speaking points1.

If you are in the neighborhood and interested in open source, come check out POSSCON. Registration is cheap, and the speaker lineup is fantastic.

1 Since I have been asked this a few times, here is my general rule of thumb for going sans-slides. First, write down in broad strokes what you want to cover (4-5 bullet points). Then write down the first 2-3 sentences you want to say and memorize them so you could say it while you’re being attacked by belligerent mimes. I have found if the first couple of sentences come out well everything tends to flow; botch the first couple of lines and it’s a long road to recovery. Finally, and this is critical - put it aside and do something else. I’ve found my unconscious mind is a much better speech writer/problem solver than my conscious mind, which is really only good for Archer reruns and preventing me from throttling people.