Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I2 SMM is Over

The Internet2 Spring Member Meeting is over and, as expected, it was great. The staff did a phenomenal job, the program committee lined up interesting presentations and I learned something at just about all the talks I attended. If there was a negative it would be all of the closed meetings. Some of the groups must have recognized that and had both public and private sessions. I tended to focus on a couple of technical working groups, the SEGP/K12 sessions and sessions involving identity management. All of the discussions showcasing technology that we won't see in Alaska for years, I ignored even though they were probably interesting. One of the things that I did find interesting was the Cisco Telepresence demo. They used a remote counselling session for the demo and it was obvious that the resolution and clarity really did add to the experience. The one thing that I could have used the Mac for was for an impromptu audio conference. I received several emails from other multicast working group members who would have liked to participate in the meeting on Tuesday. I could have used the soft phone to SIP into the I2 conferencing server. I wonder if the contract they have with the hotel would prohibit that sort of activity. I should probably bring it up with the I2 staff before the next meeting. I did ask about an audio link and, apparently, it is $250 from the hotel to enable a phone line. What a racket.

Even though I had forgotten to pack my Byetta (medication) it was manageable. I did take ½ of a pill (sulfonylurea) yesterday though since a small group of us from the university went to a good Greek place and I figured that I'd probably have too many carbs. Unlike a lot of other conferences I've attended, the food choices here were pretty healthy. At lunch time, there was always a great salad bar and several veggie offerings. Healthy desserts such as plain yogurt with nuts and honey as well as a good selection of fresh fruit and fish. Very little red meat and all very tasty. The only exception that I noticed is the apples served with lunch had absolutely no taste. How do you grow an apple that has absolutely no taste? I didn't use the exercise room at all on this trip. Not enough time. Today was raining but did get a little bit if walking in.

Just as an experiment, I brought a PC laptop with Linux installed on it instead of my Mac. The only negative is that I can't sync my phone and download new podcasts for the flight home. I think all I really need is something with email, a web browser, a productivity suite (OpenOffice in this case) and SSH. I didn't "need" any other applications. I took care of all issues that came up in Barrow as well as getting stuff done for the university. I did my presentation using the OpenOffice PowerPoint clone, worked on several Excel spreadsheets and edited Word documents all without any Microsoft products. I must admit that this laptop has a safety net since it is set up dual boot with Windows XP which I did use on the flight down to watch a movie. The keyboard is a little hard to type on since it is slightly smaller than my Mac and kind of shifted to the left but other than that it worked fine. The built in carrying handle made it very easy to carry around and the battery lasted most of the day. Anyone looking for a sturdy PC should consider the Getac W130. When I get back, I'm installing solid state drives in this and my Mac laptops. Performance may improve, battery life may go up but mainly, I won't have to worry about the hard drive ever crashing.

I fly back tomorrow and get home at 12:30 AM but that flight is usually late so we'll see.

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