Ah, family. I'm glad I got a chance to unwind with the Ps after my conference. But I do miss my dog.
Tomorrow: or, rather, tonight after 7pm CDT: check out Weather Now for, well, something appropriate to the season.
I believe I figured out why the conference disappointed me. I last went to VSLive in 2003, when I had just started to get really good at my craft. The sessions at that conference hat a lot of information that I hadn't encountered before, and taught me a lot about where I should look to keep fresh and informed.
Four years of keeping fresh and informed, however, has pushed me well past where I was in 2003. So this year's sessions, despite being just as informative as the 2003 offerings, turned out not to be as useful to me.
There are a couple of other factors, some of which I previously identified:
- The conference is in San Francisco, one of my favorite cities on earth;
- Except for Monday, the city has had perfect spring weather;
- I haven't slept especially well, which colors my perceptions and moods.
The last point bears emphasis. I truly love the Hotel California, and I will stay there again the next time I'm in San Francisco; however, I will endeavor not to stay on the Geary Street side. It's too damn loud. Maybe because it's only a block away from the theater district, every night we had some new musical performance:
- The symphonic "March of the Garbage Trucks" started each day at 5:30am.
- Last night around 3am, we got the recitative and aria "O Too-Quiet Street / I am the very model of a modern crazy homeless man," followed by "Officer! Officer!" featuring the SFPD Men's Chorus.
- And who could forget Saturday night's rousing operetta in three acts, Happy Birthday, Fratboy, that also included a guest appearance from the SFPDMC?
Meanwhile, people on the courtyard—or even on the Jones Street side—swear they heard none of this. So much for Room 404.
I'm now going to the post-conference workshop. At least that's my plan; coming out of a miserable Chicago winter, today's sunny, 20°C weather sounds a lot more appealing than a windowless room and "Windows Workflow: a Gentle Introduction."
I have to say, the conference has disappointed me a bit. Many of the panels I thought looked interesting turned out to be somewhat less in-depth than I'd hoped. To make matters worse, I'm in one of the greatest cities in the world, the weather is perfect, and I haven't had enough exercise this week.
So, as irresponsible as it seems, I'm going to take the next two hours or so to cogitate on what I've learned this week, by walking up Powell Street until I hit water. That should get me back to the conference (by Muni, most likely) in time for the next panel I'm interested in seeing.
...the San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 today to ban plastic bags at grocery stores:
San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted 10-1 this afternoon to make the city the first in the nation to prohibit petroleum-based plastic checkout bags in large markets and pharmacies.
On the first of two votes needed for final passage, supervisors approved legislation sponsored by Supervisor Ross Mikarimi that would mandate the use of biodegradable plastic bags or recyclable paper bags. The legislation would take effect in about six months for some 50 large markets in San Francisco and would apply in about 12 months to large drugstore chains such as Walgreen's and Rite-Aid.
I hope to write more when the conference ends, or perhaps if I play hooky from a session or two tomorrow. Today, I would just like to point out that San Francisco offers more food options than a human can count, so I passed up the boxed-sandwich thing and headed into the streets. It's easy to be mostly-vegetarian here, too, especially when you find a good Mediterrenean restaurant four blocks away.
New session starting soon; I'll be back.
I'm sitting in the Hotel California lobby watching rain-soaked buses trundle down Geary Street. I'm in the lobby because the hotel's WiFi doesn't actually reach the fourth floor. This, and the unfortunate confluence of a room overlooking the street and a 23-year-old's birthday party Saturday night that spilled out of the lobby and down the block until the cops broke it up around 4 am, is my only complaint about the place. Old hotels have old windows, so it got a little noisy during the melée
The hotel is truly a gem. From the little perk at check-in—a frozen tequila shot—to the wine and cheese spread they put out every night, to the understated décor, to the lobby it shares with Millenium (a wonderful vegetarian restaurant with a tasty wine list), I love staying here. The bill adds to my pleasure: only about $100 a night, half of what hotels closer to the Moscone Center wanted. Since it's also only about 500 m from there—a 10-minute walk through Union Square—it was a no-brainer.
Of course, I'm in my third-favorite city on the planet (after Chicago and London), sitting in a hotel lobby. The one day that the conference sessions are truly uninteresting to me is the one day that it's pouring down with rain. It's supposed to let up a bit later, so I may have dinner at the Ferry Building or even, if the spirit (and Muni bus) moves me, Sausalito. And they put out the wine and cheese in an hour.
One would think that planning a conference for 1,500 or so software developers would involve planning for 1,500 or so laptop computers. This means, among other things, providing (a) power outlets and (b) decent WiFi access.
After searching for half an hour I found one lone power strip in the "Gold Passport Lounge," and the only reason the other 1,499 people here aren't using it is that they're patiently sitting upstairs listening to an ill-prepared presenter from Microsoft who will probably get a "BillG" email tonight asking him why he was so unprepared.
As for WiFi access, despite the relatively few people down here in the lounge, I'm still getting only about 77 kbps of throughput. Yes, I'm at a developer conference getting modem-speed Internet access.
I'll have more later on today's presentations, the final three of which I may skip. The pre-conference workshop I attended yesterday I found invaluable; I'm looking forward to Deborah Kurata's panel discussions later on this week.
I realized last night that I forgot to bring some important things to VSLive:
- Business cards. I have about six with me. I have about 200 in my office. Hello, Kinko's?
- A USB cable, required to connect my phone and my camera to my laptop. There's a CompUSA about 100 m from here, fortunately.
It's always something.
Also, a propos of nothing, I got the best pitch from a panhandler today that I've ever heard: "Buddy, can you spare $1,000? I have a payment plan..."
I'm in San Francisco, at the Hotel California on Geary Street. They've checked me in to Room 404, which, as you can imagine, I couldn't find at first.
Parker has gone on vacation for a week while I'm at a professional conference. When I dropped him off with the dog sitter I felt pretty sad:
Today's DP will return April 2nd, but I'll be checking in all week (and probably cross-posting to my professional blog). So if you're only interested in puppy photos, enjoy spring break, and think of Parker spending every day with all his play-group friends (since many of them are in day care).