At the end of January I travelled to the States to speak at and attend the first O’Reilly Bioinformatics Technology Conference [14]. It was a large, well-organized and diverse meeting with an interesting history. Although the meeting was not a typical academic conference, its style will, I am sure, become more typical of meetings in both biological and computational sciences.Speakers at the event included prominent bioinformatics researchers such as Ewan Birney, Terry Gaasterland and Lincoln Stein; authors and leaders in the open source programming community like Damian Conway and Nat Torkington; and representatives from several publishing companies including the Nature Publishing Group, Current Science Group and the President of O’Reilly himself, Tim O’Reilly. There were presentations, tutorials, debates, quizzes and even a ‘jam session’ for musical bioinformaticists.