Balancing geekness and being social

I'm back from my (non-jxta) rendezvous with my (non-jxta) peers and partners held in Scottsdale, AZ. In many ways, it was boatloads of fun. The only bummer was rain on our only full day there. This was a Partner Forum held by Sun partners in the government industry. The goal of this Partner Forum is for government sales teams to get to know partners, their value propositions, and match our opportunities to their expertise. Win-win for everyone. Sun wants to be the most partnered company on the planet, and this was a good forum to support that goal. I met some partners. Had free drinks, too! Relative to my college days, I am an alcohol lightweight. It doesn't take much these days to get a buzz going.

Someone at the hotel charged $30 to my room. When I challenged the hotel on it, they conceded (graciously) when they couldn't find the receipt. I wasn't the only one who had this happen.

I got funny looks Wednesday night when I was walking around the hotel with my laptop looking for a wireless connection (which the hotel supposedly had). I hadn't had enough drinks (4 Screwdrivers) during a partner-sponsored gathering to be "staggering" around the hotel. Everyone else was socializing and I actually had a laptop. After hearing remarks about being an anti-social geek, I explained that I found a rather important bug in my Zones demo that I wanted to get out before a (non-jxta) peer of mine gave the demo to partners to demo to their customers. Nothing like having your name tied to a demo that only worked after you ran it, exited it, and ran it again (hey, at least there was a work-around). If you don't get the message on the work-around, it'll simply not work :(

I finally gave up on finding the wireless connection. I wonder if the front desk was playing a joke on a somewhat tipsy customer ("I told him we had wireless ... hee hee"). I finally went to the room, and clicked "charge $10 to room" for the wired internet connection. The good and bad news is that they had so many problems with their internet connection that they didn't charge us for our room connection! I uploaded the bug fix to CVS and posted the new bits. After that, it was time to switch from geek mode to social animal. Of course, animal for me in this context is something close to a panda bear ... :)


A quick rant from a non-geek (witness the fact that I don't know how to put spaces between my paragraphs in this postng) on connectivity (or the lack thereof) in Phoenix/Scottsdale.... I was once there on a business trip and upon arriving in my 4-star hotel asked the front desk if there was high-speed internet access in my room. The reply: "We don't have The Internet at this hotel, but you can head down to The Kinkos if you'd like to get into online -- they have The Internet down there." Translation: get used to four days of dial-up. After checking in, I realized that I'd left my laptop power cord at home, so I went to the front desk to ask for directions to some sort of nearby computer store. The same clerk then told me about a Best Buy (apparently my best bet) and went to a nearby computer to get Mapquest directions. Fascinating development considering that this hotel supposedly didn't have "The Internet". When I asked the clerk about this she just looked at me with a puzzled grin. The search for a universal power cable brought on it's own set of challenges. The 'experts' at CompUSA were high-school kids working part time jobs. The good news was that neither of these experts were threats to unleash malicious code onto the Internet (they were about as tech savvy as my hotel clerk), the bad news for me was that they couldn't understand what sounded like a pretty straightforward question to me -- do you you have universal power source for laptops? Eventually, I did find it at Best Buy (apparently the hotel clerk did have some savvy) and then drove around until I found the most reliable destination for business travellers trying to get online: Starbucks. Ever since this trip, I've considered the Phoenix area to be the land that time forgot. Once you stray away from downtown scottsdale or the university (the bastion of educational excellence that it is) there is an uncanny similarity in personality to driving through rural Mississippi, only less green. If it weren't for great golf and the wonderful annual passage of Spring Training I'm not sure what redeeming qualities the area would have. End of rant.

Posted by andrew shikiar on November 03, 2004 at 01:08 AM PST #

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John Clingan-Oracle


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