Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OOW2K7: Non-fake tales from San Francisco

One of the things at OpenWorld which continues to astonish me is the rudeness of people in the audience. At the UKOUG we start each session with a reminder to switch off mobile phones, or at least silence them. Here, people not only have their mobile phones on, they actually take calls whilst the presenter is talking. This is not an isolated event: it has already occurred in three out of the seven sessions I've attended so far. Also people conduct conversations during the presentation, and not in whispers either. This is particularly strange given that, outside of the conference hall, Americans are generally far more courteous and better mannered than most English people these days.

Another thing which is shocking to the out-of-town visitor is the sheer number of beggars on the street. One guy I saw yesterday was holding a sign which said I need a girlfriend. I'm not quite sure what he was expecting to be dropped in his cup. There was another guy playing a drumset improvised out of buckets and plastic containers whose sign included his e-mail address. I didn't catch whether it had a PayPal number too.

This year OpenWorld is a green conference. This primarily means that we could choose to have the conference directory as a thick book or a lightweight USB drive. The catch is we need to have a device which takes a USB drive. For those of us who left our laptop at home the dead-tree option is the appropriate technological choice. However I have seen a couple of people attempt to plug their OOW pen drive into a laptop in the Conference internet villages; unsuccessfully, because these babies are totally locked down. The other interesting green initiative is the opportunity to pre-order an Oracle-branded messenger bag which will be made out of recycled conference material. This item will be even more fashionable than that Sainsburys carrier bag because of the absolute coolness of the Oracle logo.

The OTN team are giving away T-Shirts in the OTN lounge. The front features a SQL statement:

SELECT Java, Linux, PHP, DotNet, Python, Ruby
FROM OTN
WHERE Self BETWEEN 'Newbie AND 'Expert'

So, apart from the fact that it doesn't mention PL/SQL and the fact that the statement is invalid due to the missing quote, it's a pretty good attempt.

Gavin Newsom, the mayor of San Francisco would like us all to explore more of the city than a two-block radius of the Moscone Centre:
"You can continue on the F line to Pier 45, walk into the back and experience the fish processing, which is totally frenetic and interesting. Why not see and experience another side, which is the fact that San Francisco remains the largest fish processing center on the West Coast."

Why not indeed.

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4 Comments:

Blogger Peter K said...

I guess that OTN didn't employed any QA analysts ;)

The cell phone thing is not unusual and yeah, those folks should be kicked out of the sessions.

San Fran is a city of contrasts as you can be staying at the St. Francis (one of the premier hotel located on Union Sq) and a block away, you have beggers asking for change.

Last year, towards the end of the conference, a couple got into the Conference Centre by scavanging conference passes from the garbage bins and were picking up empties.

Have fun and times flies as it is already past day 3!

13 November 2007 20:44:00 GMT-8  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

San Francisco is Spanish for "city of bums". And then there are the homeless people, too!

13 November 2007 23:18:00 GMT-8  
Anonymous Doug Burns said...

"One of the things at OpenWorld which continues to astonish me is the rudeness of people in the audience."

I couldn't agree more. I mentioned it in a draft of an earlier blog this week and it didn't make the final version. I've seen it before during courses and it winds me up there because, not only is it ignorant towards the speaker, but at least a dozen people around you can't hear them properly now. How selfish. OK, the odd phone going off is annoying but everyone can forget, but to start talking? In fact I have good friends who'll tell you I've ticked them off for that in the past ;-)

"Another thing which is shocking to the out-of-town visitor is the sheer number of beggars on the street. "

Try being a smoker who is awake from 4am and has to go outside for a smoke! I'd like to think I'm generally sympathetic towards others, but I feel under constant harassment.

14 November 2007 05:34:00 GMT-8  
Anonymous John Flack said...

When I give a talk, I often tell attendees that they are welcome to leave their cell phones on, because I'm listening for someone with the same ring tone as my boss, and I can't throw the boss's phone through the nearest window as I'd like. Strange - I still haven't thrown a cell phone through a window.

I've never seen abject poverty live so close to wealth as in SF. Most cities have a buffer of middle class businesses and homes, but not there. I think Moscone and the luxury hotels were built where they are to try to revitalize the seediest neighborhoods in the city. It didn't work.

14 November 2007 05:52:00 GMT-8  

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