Friday, November 19, 2010

Conference Highlights

  1. Based on the number of people there and the size of the exhibit floor, I was surprised by the thinness of the technical program. At any given moment in time there were about eight choices of talks, panels, etc. to attend. I'm used to big conferences like JMM where you always have more than 30 things to choose from.

  2. Other compare and contrast with JMM: Exhibits were fancier. A lot more swag. Everyone at the conference got a backpack and a aluminum water bottle with the conference logo. Venders gave out swag pretty freely. There was a shuttle to all of the conference hotels. More free entertainment included in the conference fee. No middle aged women with Rhode Island accents asking for the badge-holders back at the end of the conference. Cost about the same as JMM, though. Also: Unlike JMM, you couldn't make your own forged badge (not that I know anyone who has done that).

  3. Met interesting people.

  4. Was ignored repeatedly in roughly the same way.
    At the Cray booth
    Cray booth workers ignore me until I appear interested in the lame Cray swag (stickers), and then they start to glare at me. Then they look at my badge and realize that my office is within walking distance of hundreds of thousands of cores worth of Crays. Then they become much nicer.

    At the SGI booth
    The SGI booth workers are talking to each other and ignoring me until I interrupt them with a sentence that begins, "Hi, we have a UV 1000, and..."

    At the jewelry store
    OK, so this wasn't really at the conference, but it was on my way back to the hotel. I was doing some window shopping at a high end jewelry store, and the saleslady ignored me until she caught a glimpse of my watch -- which is worth more than most of the cars that I've owned.

    Conclusion: It is helpful to have money or to be connected to people with money.

  5. Speaking of ignoring, but in a good way: The guy who was flirting with me at the last computer conference that I was at (and this was to the point where even I noticed) completely ignored me at this one.

  6. My negative feelings towards the commercial air travel experience are unbounded. This is a shame, as I am scheduled to fly 10 "segments" in the next 14 days. Also a shame: The "preferred status" counter is a January - December year only, so the 18 segments and 15,000 miles that I will have acquired this fall will not get me any perks.

  7. For my next flight I will remember to pack my asthma inhaler. From the mid-1980s until about six months ago, I believed that I had "outgrown" my asthma. The physician who I saw about the unacceptable cough that I was having back in the very late winter insisted that asthma played in role in the cough. Last night I also discovered that sprinting from Concourse C to Concourse E can trigger an asthma attack.

  8. Bag was delayed by about 2 hours because it did not sprint across concourses. Despite the bag's slight delay, it took it a very, very, very, very long time to get back to me. From the time it arrived in this city until the time it was back in my possession was roughly 15 hours.

  9. Can the NSF buy our lab a NetJets membership?

  10. Mathematicians heading to NOLA this January should make a point to eat at "Mother's" on Poydras St.

  11. Tomorrow's agenda: Laundry, pack, organize knitting and other supplies for international travel. I found some sort of electricity doodad in my closet, and I am hoping that it will allow me to charge my computer in Germany.