PASS 2005: D-1 Wrapup

Calling it an early night tonight, many people seem to be exhausted from travels.  I certainly am.  And the pool was closed by the time we were done with dinner, so no beach ball volleyball tonight.  But I'm trying to work a deal with the hotel manager to extend the hours for us over the next few nights.

Tonight the Program Committee met with all the speakers and helped get everyone ready for the kickoff tomorrow.  After that all attendees were invited to the welcome reception and the SIG Quiz Bowl.  The reception was a nice opportunity to catch up with the gang from last year, with most people returning, but a few unable to attend due to work commitments.  Unfortunately, thw Quiz Bowl was a bit rough again this year.  I'm not sure if it's just the acoustics and crowd noise, or if it's the fact that so many people are trying to share a microphone, but it was difficult to hear the answers that were being given, and thus hard to follow the right vs. wrong pronouncements.  Apparently there also were some equipment malfunctions, too, where one team couldn't buzz in to give an answer because their buzzer was broken.  This is the second time PASS has tried this format, and it still needs a little work.  Maybe instead of doing a first-one-to-buzz-in-gets-to-answer style, they should go with questions directed at a team, give them a chance to answer, and if wrong, give the other side a chance to steal the point.  That might lend itself to better pacing and allow for a clear answer to be announced.  Another idea is to display the correct answer once the question is settled.  They currently display the question, which is a big plus over everyone straining to hear it being read.  Now, just add the answer revelation and it would be a little better.

A few other notes about the conference and facilities:

  • I've heard great reports on the WiFi availability throughout the convention center.  I haven't used it yet myself, but it's good to hear.
  • I'm pleased that we still have the Internet Cafe in the exhibit hall for those folks who don't lug their laptop (if they have one) with them wherever they go.  Just stop in the Cafe and use one of the computers there to get online.
  • FREE High-Speed connection in the rooms.  It's a good thing!
  • In-room safe.  I've mentioned this before, but I'm amazed how few “business“ hotels do not offer an in-room safe that is large enough to store a laptop, and contains an outlet so I can charge it up, too.  This is GREAT!
  • Great convention rates!  I was told tonight that an IBM conference was held here about a year ago, and the rooms were in the range of $450 per night.  Assuming those weren't all Executive Suites, then we are getting a downright bargain at $169.  I notice that in the closet there is a rate chart that lists a “Standard Guest Room“ at $500 per night, and a Suite at $1,000.  Way to go PASS / Microsoft / Smith-Bucklin / whoever negotiated the deal!

posted @ Tuesday, September 27, 2005 8:51 PM

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