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SMOFcon wrapup - RonO's Ramblings

Dec. 10th, 2007 03:47 pm SMOFcon wrapup

I just returned from SMOFcon in Boston -- my second trip there in a week as previously reported.

I made it to Boston without any problems. I was successfully upgraded to First Class before I even printed my boarding pass, and there were no problems with the flight. I did have to take the smaller suitcase due to the problems the large one developed on the previous trip (which I hope to get repaired soon). Because if this, I didn't have room in the suitcase for the CPAP so I risked having it travel alone in its case. It also arrived separately.

When I got to Logan I made the decision that no mater how far I was going to have to walk outside between Terminal C and E, it wouldn't be any worse than standing outside on the curb for 15 minutes waiting for the shuttle. As it turned out, the outside gap between the terminals is slightly more than the width of a street and sidewalks. Having successfully crossed this vast expanse of outside air, I found my way to the Hilton and got checked in.

I spent some time upstairs, where registration still was, and talked to a couple of people, including a fan who lives in Ramona California, and was fortunately not burned out (although they did have to evacuate and lost some of their vineyard). I did explain that I'd lived in San Diego for about a year, and had looked at housing in Ramona, Poway, Escondido and Rancho Bernado -- all of which were evacuated at least partially -- so she understood why I recognized the potential for a problem and was very willing to share her tale

After that I went downstairs as the con proper got started. During the con I attended several panels, but probably not all of the ones I might have or should have since I tend to get uncomfortable in hotel chairs after an hour or so and don't always like to do two panels in a row.

As far as coverage of the events, kevin_standlee has done a much better job or summarizing than I could. He also got a picture of me -- but only the back side -- observing the ice-breaker on Friday. I'm the guy in the blue hooded sweatshirt that hangs a bit too loosely on his body.

I had several meals with friends, mostly from the Chicago Bid. I spent more than I often do for a good dinner Friday at the Legal Sea Foods at the airport. (Massport requires that costs at the airport be no higher than anywhere else, so I suspect that any Legal Sea Foods would have cost the same). On Saturday the bid committee present had a very productive theming meeting over dinner Saturday and I'm very excited about what we came up with. I'm not going to spoil the surprise by sharing it, but if your really interested you might try to squeeze it from another member of the bid.

On Sunday I managed to keep myself out of trouble and didn't volunteer for any specific job with either Denvention or Anticipation, although I'm still thinking of where I could best help (that may be another posting). I did spend a bit of time talking to the person who is heading up the perspective Raleigh North Carolina bid for the 2010 NASFiC, which somehow drifted into talking about what I do for DucKon. Which led to one of my to-dos of sending the person doing registration for Anticipation the links to look at the DucKon registration system code and schema. I'm thinking I may also send him my class project on how I would (not) have done a web-based reg system for Chicon -- which was intended to never be more than a class exercise.

Later on Sunday, I got a demo of the system that LACon and several LosCons (et. al.) have used for registration, which has me thinking of how I could adapt some of the ideas for DucKon -- including producing a simplified TUI (Text User Interface) to replace or supplement the Java/SWING GUI I use at con. It was also interesting to realize that dBase III+, the first database I ever worked with, is still being used for productive applications (at least when you can get the hardware that is old enough to run it successfully).

Sunday night I ended getting dinner in the bar by myself, but then spent a lot of time in the upstairs suite talking to both Chicago Bid people and others from around the world (including Steven Boucher from Australia and our representative from Isreal).

This morning, I got moving slower than I really wanted to, but with plenty of time to get over to the airport just a bit after 8. I'd printed my boarding pass the night before, so I just had to check my bags and get to the flight. I had decided to wait until I got to the airport to get some breakfast, and was going to get a light breakfast since I'd been upgraded to first class again. By the time I got through security, and passed up the Dunkin' Donuts, the place I found only had fruit or larger breakfasts (admittedly probably no less weight watchers friendly then two donuts would have been), so that was my breakfast.

I boarded my 10:00 flight, and we pushed back on time. However, it took a while for the deicing trucks to show up, and then when they were part of the way done one of them broke down, so they had to get a new truck and heat up the fluids, and deice the plane again. After this was done it was already nearly 11:30, which is when we took off. Adding a stiff headwind to our very late departure, we ended up getting in quite late. I did have a cobb salad on the plane, but I extracted the shrimp (and it didn't have any avocado or blue cheese, so I'm not sure it was really a cobb salad). But I got home hungry so we went out for a large early dinner.

I really enjoyed myself at SMOFcon, and have already purchased my membership for next year. Tara is thinking of going with me provided she can get her parents to keep the kid for the weekend and Monday. We both are likely to go to Austin assuming that they are the 2009 location, and may spend an extra day or two. I'm also hoping to get to a few more Cons next year, since this is the fewest Cons I've attended probably since 1993 or 1994 (when I attended one con, my first Windycon).

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