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An ETech belated summary

April 3, 2007

ETech is over. It has been since last Thursday. I’m clearly past-due for a summary of the conference. ETech is always fun. This was my second and both times I felt like I could have gotten more from the event if only I wasn’t distracted with work related tasks and fatigue from the constant go, go, go of the event. I suppose this is a testament of how much ETech has to offer. There’s so much going on it’s hard not to feel like you missed out even if you were fully engaged the entire conference.

First, let’s start with my highlights. It was cool to meet Jay Goldman and David Crow. I virtually met Jay Goldman of Radiant Core a couple years ago by way of Geoff Norton > Mike Shaver. I noticed his name in IRC early into the conference and boy it’s a small world. Turns out he and David Crow, who claims to be a power bottom, were planning an event with Dan Grisby a guy I knew from when I helped Ben Edwards to organize a Bar Camp (MinneBar) in Minneapolis. Dan was the guy who branded all the Minnebar shirts with his name. How am I suppose to wear that? This year’s Minnebar tshirts kick ass and I’m hoping someone sends me one. I’ll plug the designer Bill Ferenc who I don’t think I know, but he deserves to be plugged because those shirts are very cool. Anyhow, strange how small the world is; especially in technology. I missed all of Thursday’s sessions. And I also missed the Make event, which I wish I could have made. So, the only other two highlights I want to point out are: 1). Amazon Web Services Party. This was held at some really funky bar and pizza joint called Basic. There were lots of tatoos, oil painters, chopped bicycles, gangster looking folks, a bunch of geeks, and Jeff Bezos. It was fun. I noticed Hober reviewed the place. 2). I thought Seth Raphael, MIT Media Lab, was really great. I enjoyed him and his session. He did some fun magic tricks for me in passing earlier than his session. I really enjoyed his connecting technology with magic. I never really thought about it. It also makes perfect sense that he’s studying the emotion of wonder. It’s been my experience we tend to lose this with age as well as our willingness to believe in the supernatural.

Now for some things that ETech can improve upon. Last year ETech was upstairs and I thought this was a lot better than where it was this year, downstairs of the Hyatt. I say this because this year there wasn’t a common area for folks to congregate as much as previously. Also, having sessions way out in different buildings kind of sucked. In general, stuff was just too spread out. Also, as previously mentioned, I could never find freakin’ coffee!! WTF! Every day I resorted to buying a cup of coffee from the bar at $4 a cup! That’s crazy. It would have been better if the Wifi reached the bar. And lastly, give us some chairs. Bring in the inflatable ones like you did in 2006 and you do at OSCON. Don’t get me wrong, I still love me some ETech.

I forgot to include one other highlight. The MindTouch Wii Scavenger hunt. The photos are hilarious. I should have had the participants post these to flickr though. Oh well, next time. Anyway, we’ll be doing these scavenger hunts regularly here in San Diego. Also, SteveB came up with a great idea of doing a WikiMe event. It will go something like this. We select a location, a block, a district, whatever. People come out and go mad in documenting the location for the San Diego wiki. Photos, bars, clubs, restaurants, history, whatever. We just go mad documenting it. MindTouch supplies beer and maybe tshirts or something. It will be a really cool way of developing an excellent online resource for San Diego. Also, for folks to meet one another. I’ll announce the first of these in the next week or so here and at OpenGarden.org.

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