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« As others see us | Main | Bricolage »

Oct 23, 2007


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Don Moore

Next Year - Let's get some FOOD BLOGGERS, then we might get some samples :)


I thought it was great! Honestly, I LIKE that these kinds of conferences don't feel so 100% perfect down to each tiny detail. That would be BORING! I don't want everything completely pre-planned and structured. I want to hang out, have fun, learn, talk to interesting people, and not feel like I have to sit around and look important with a bunch of stuffed shirts.

And I thought the food was great. You can ask Sue. Saturday morning I asked if we were having the same food as last year, and she hesitated. When I told her I wanted to know because those vegetarian sandwiches were soooo good, she told me that yes, we were. :)

Finally, this is a FREE conference, people... suck it up!!

Ed Cone

Don -- I think a food blogging session is a great idea -- Anton Zuiker had a similar thought -- although I'm not sure we can count on the foodies to feed us...

Amber -- Thanks.


We're looking into new ways to feed the masses for next year, including donated food from restaurants (sponsor the lunch!) and/or the culinary classes at a college and/or things that don't get us sued in case there's a (sigh) issue. As much as I love more formal conferences because they seem so easy (hire people and don't use volunteers), I'm not sure CS is going that way, yet it could. At the same time, we have to face those pesky legal issues surrounding human beings (the "what if?" things that lawyers love) so we have to be careful as well as new and creative.

Janet needs help with food preparations next year. Please volunteer and shed input on the system.

j. neas

I, too, liked the Saturday lunch. Maybe it's just because sometimes, a really good, high-quality sandwich is as good as anything you could actually cook. I loved my veggie sandwich and additional sides.

There were some panels I felt were a little disorganized. Some panelists seemed to have a different idea about how to approach the conference, and that may just have been out of a lack of experience with this type of event. Most of my panels were very audience driven, and that is always a good thing.

David Wharton

I think the informality is a feature, not a bug. Southern warmth and hospitality also make it special. Good food is always appreciated; it's good now, could get better. Maybe a brief handout on "guidelines for presenters at a user-oriented conference" would be in order.


Thanks for the comments, Ed. As I noted on my post, I had a great time, learned neat stuff and met amazing people. The food quibble is a personal pet peeve - as a long-time vegetarian, I get tired of salads, cold fruit plates and cold sandwiches. I'm a hot-food person, especially when I'm spending the day in air conditioning. And I've been spoiled, I guess, at higher-end conferences with their buffets of hot entrees and whatnot. What can I say, I'm a foodie. (And I have a reflexive aversion to white bread) :-D

As for the looser feel of the conference, I'm more than willing to admit that, this being my first experience, I may just not be hip to the CS vibe. :-) It did have a rather wikified feel to it (as in, constantly changing, plain-wrappered and user-created), but if that was the intent then I retract my complaints and am willing to adjust to playing a different game at CS than I do at, say, an industry event.

As I pointed out, this was pretty much my only serious complaint. The food thing is not really that big of a deal (I mean, I carry granola bars in my purse as a matter of course to such events, in case their aren't any veggie options at all, which is just as unlikely reality at a conference as the opposite). And my only other comment was that I felt the workshop topics could have been a little more advanced.

I do look forward to coming back next year, and I'm considering some of those volunteer opportunities Sue is posting on the blog. I'll have to wait until after March when a few big projects wrap up before I know for sure how much time I'll have to commit, but maybe next year y'all can be grumping to me instead of the other way around. :-D

Ed Cone

Your comments were much appreciated, Soni.

There must be ways to improve the experience that don't overthrow the mission and the vibe of the conference. And there may be things we can't fix, but by discussing them we make them less problematic.

Thanks for participating and commenting after the fact.


"And I've been spoiled, I guess, at higher-end conferences..."



Sue -

That's "higher end" as in vastly more expensive, not better quality. :-D

You don't know terror until you realize you've spent several hundreds of dollars in fees and plane tickets to spend a weekend in a luxury hotel full of drunk life coaches. O_O

Can anyone say "Big, wet, sloppy hugs from random strangers?"

But damn, the food was good. LOL!

Bora Zivkovic

I just came back from a formal conference (ASIS&T), after skipping another one (Renci/Microsoft) BECAUSE it mentioned "business casual attire" in the program. I am spoiled by unconferences (ConvergeSouth, Science Foo Camp, etc.) and find the "high-end" conferences straightjacketed, stiff and boring. It is a Web 2.0 conference, so we should all behave in a Web 2.0 fashion: many-to-many. And food...if I know that Hogg's BBQ will end one day and Ganache the other, I don't care if the lunch is a small sandwich - I am saving myself for the feast anyway ;-)


"...if I know that Hogg's BBQ will end one day and Ganache the other, I don't care if the lunch is a small sandwich - I am saving myself for the feast anyway ;-)"

Well, there is that. I think I put on 5 lbs between 2 Ganache dinners and one at Saffron (where, as a vegetarian, I filled up before the barbecue). My poor jeans are threatening a catastrophic loss of hull integrity. LOL!


Converge Foo - Soni's idea is great! Make it even more un-conferency, like a BarCamp or FooCamp or Scifoo....


A cookie, some chips and a drink. Eat light and keep moving. So many people. So little time.

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