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Monday, March 17, 2008

WritersUA Conference. Day 1

The plane trip yesterday was a long one, but we made it through with no major problems. No delays, no lost luggage, nothing. It was a long trip though, and one that I'm not interested in repeating any time soon.

Portland is a nice place, and I was pleasantly surprised about how nice the city is. It's nicer then Philadelphia, cleaner, quieter, less traffic. I hear tell that the traffic can get much worse around rush hour, but that's to be expected anywhere. I wouldn't mind living or working around here, if such an opportunity arose. I doubt Dana shares that sentiment with me.

The WritersUA conference hoopla started yesterday, if you want to get technical, so that would actually make this Day 2. I don't want to get technical, however, so I'm calling this Day 1. I've seen the room that I'm going to be presenting in. It's a relatively small room, probably only 50 chairs or so. I guess I wasn't expecting to fill the entire grand ballroom or anything, and I don't mind presenting to a small crowd. I just hope that I don't end up presenting to an empty room.

I met llywrch (Geoff) and his small family the other day, and it was a fun evening out. I had meant to ask him how to properly pronounce his username, but I forgot to. We talked a little bit about wiki. He offered to introduce me to Ward Cunningham, which would have been wonderful to do if I wasn't so pressed for time. His wife was charming, his little baby was absolutely adorable, and the whole experience was one to remember. I love meeting Wikimedians, and Geoff was no exception.

I met some people and saw a few product demonstrations, and it amazes me how much some of these professional software applications seem to emulate wikis, or even borrow features of wikis. I had a long conversation with the CEO of Author-It, a company that sells a distributed authoring application which seems remarkably like a wiki to me. Of course, they have a lot more features and polish then our humble software has, but that's to be expected. Nobody would buy a piece of software if the free alternatives were much better.

Dana and I went out to a nice restaurant for lunch, Jake's Famous Crabhouse Restaurant, and while it was a little bit pricey, the food and service were fantastic. This is our vacation, after all, so spending a little bit of money on good local fare is just one of those things that needs to get done.

I'm doing some networking and exploring this afternoon, and Dana is already looking around for a dinner destination. I'll probably post again tomorrow when I have more to talk about.

1 comment:

  1. Andrew, I just found your blog so excuse the delay in commenting.

    It was also a pleasure to meet you & Dana. One thing you forgot to mention was that we had a problem meeting each other: Andrew & Dana had arrived at the restaurant before us, & had a drink while they waited; we arrived, were seated, & waited about 10 minutes for them. We only connected when Andrew & I separately went outside to call each other -- & I happened to ask him if he was Andrew.

    I hope you both have a chance to visit Powell's Books, perhaps Portland's best-known attraction. (The only other candidate -- the 24-hour Church of Elvis -- closed about 10 years ago.) The main store is only a few blocks from Jake's.

    As for how to pronounce my online handle -- llywrch -- the two l's are pronounced in the Welsh fashion. Unfortunately, I've never actually heard that sound (similar to the "ch" in the Scots word "loch"), so like everyone else I pronounce it incorrectly.



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