Surprise #1: It’s early Sunday morning, and there’s a huge crowd! Wow! ExpoCal only showed a few dozen names for the Sunday sessions, so I figured this was just for the crazy-enthusiasts, the real crowd hits tomorrow. It’s great to see so many participants.
Surprise #2: Registration is a disaster. A Case Study in how the best technology becomes worthless without the right process. I’m guided in the pre-registered line, it goes quite fast, then in the data entry area I enter my name and click “print” to initiate printing my badge. So far, so good: next step is another (not-too-long) line to actually pick up the badge.
The line is somewhat pointless though, you have to wait till they call out your name. After 15 minutes or so, I do step up, and ask, only to find out, that if I checked in on any but the first three rows of computers, it goes to another bank of printers, at the other end of the check-in area, where all the crowd for on-site registration is. Great! Nobody has told this before.
Over to the other line, nobody seems to have my badge, am told to wait till my name is called. I’m sure I was called earlier, someone must have picked it up, it’s been over 20 minutes now. After a while, I have a crazy idea: walk up to a computer again, let’s see if I can re-print my badge. I shouldn’t be able to … but wow! it works! Here we go: send to print again, and voila! I am called and have the badge in hands in 5 minutes.
Now I only have to walk back to the area where I started to pick up conference material .. then up to the workshop floor. Dear organizers, despite Surprise #1 above, this is still just the rehearsal, tomorrow the real crowd arrives, you better fix this chaotic process.
Update: It’s Monday, the first full day, and I’m glad to see the problem fixed: there are clear signs that match the computer rows to the printers, registration is easy, no crowd to be found.
Surprise #3: Web 2.0 needs connectivity, we all know that. Wireless works, albeit sloooowly. But…but: we need, power, too. I know, it’s my fault, should have carried extra batteries.. and there’s never enough power outlet for all attendees. But I haven’t been to any conference where’s not a single power outlet in the entire room. I’m sitting outside, next to a watercooler (which runs on power, so it led me to a spare outlet), trying to recharge my hungry laptop. I’m afraid starting tomorrow, there will be tough competition for these spots.
That’s it for now, joining Ismael’s session.
Update, Monday: power still non-existent, wi-fi dying. It’s useless, and I’m sitting in the Mindtouch wiki session, where Ken Lui just gave up trying to demo anything, due to poor connection. Web 2.0 Expo with Web 0.5 connection:-(