Bagging the rest of etech

Extremely disappointed in the last day of eTech 2006. I have notes I'll write up from the earlier days, and really did enjoy several sessions, but today:

  • The conference shifted to a different floor. They lost the ballroom and other large rooms we'd used the first two days. As a result a conference of, I'm guessing, 1000 people tried to cram into four breakout rooms designed for maybe 100-150 people. Several breakout sessions were overcrowded, and at one point during the Social Media at Yahoo! session I wrote in my notebook: I am fucking tired of sitting on the floor!, which was ironic as there was no space to sit on the floor and I was actually standing. I walked out a few minutes later.
  • I ended up walking out of several sessions today: either they were tedious reading-from-a-script touts for someone's product, or again overcrowded.
  • The network totally crapped out. WiFi was available, signal strength was great, but there was no connectivity to even the local router let alone the outside world. Perhaps next year they'll stick to a single channel instead of bouncing around to different channels (my understanding, which may be totally mistaken, is that you should pair your SSIDs with a single channel which will allow clients to move back and forth across APs seemlessly).
  • Another suggestion for next year: put the podiums on a separate physical network with dedicated bandwidth, or use a bandwidth shaper to ensure that speakers don't have to beg people to stop webcasting the conference since they need network bandwidth for the speech or demo.
  • As I was stewing after seeing another overcrowded session, I realized this: I don't need to come to etech. I don't network with people, I hate socializing (I mean, once I start talking to someone I'm fine but I suck at the "Hi, how are you" chitchat and fumble badly). eTech is covered intensely in the blogosphere and anything announced here will get announced elsewhere. I love the buzz and you don't always get the Q&A that occurs when you're not physically here, but I don't know that I can justify the cost to myself to attend either eTech 2007 or even the next Web 2.0 conference.

So, in a desperate effort to do something productive, I wrote up a proposal for automating authentication for robots. I'll post it shortly, perhaps after I write some proof of concept code.

I am going to try to fly home tonight on a red-eye rather than the flight I'd booked for tomorrow. I have absolutely no reason to stay and hang out in San Diego.

Posted in ETech


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