My university was kind enough to send me to IUC 31 ( this year, and I can honestly say that it was one of the best conferences I’ve been to.
For one thing, almost all the major players (Microsoft, Apple, Sun, IBM, Adobe, Google, Yahoo, W3C) sent representatives, so I got to hear a lot of great information straight from the source. I’ve been hacking away at this for seven years, but I learned quite a bit of new information, especially about some of the more technical aspects.
The Unicode conference is also very good at providing a good range of how-tos ranging from absolute monolingual beginner to cutting edge tools for the experienced Unicoder. Even the basics gave me some pointers that I had forgotten or hadn’t considered. I obviously couldn’t make all the sessions (no cloning yet), but the PDF’s that attendees can access are fairly detailed and can help you track it down.
I have to confess that my favorite track was probably “Unicode on the Front Lines” in which linguists described encoding issues for minority languages and scripts. From a language geek perspective, it’s fascinating what new issues come up. More importantly, I saw that there was a lot of support for outreach in the Unicode community. I heard the members of the Unicode Org point some users to resources they hadn’t know about before.
I myself gave a presentation about Unicode at Penn State, and I have to say most of the feedback was very positive, and I got a few tips myself.
So all in all, I have to say thanks to the organizers of the conference for putting on a great event.

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