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35290Re: [midatlanticretro] Making final plans to attend

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  • Jim Brain
    Apr 8, 2014
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      On 3/31/2014 3:06 PM, Dave McGuire wrote:

      On 03/31/2014 03:31 PM, Jim Brain wrote:
      > I need to confirm with Ethan, but the current plan is to leave SE IA
      > early Thursday afternoon and try to hit Columbus, OH by midnight and
      > pick up Ethan Dicks enroute to NJ Friday morning (8-9AM'ish). Ethan
      > plans to attend VCF-U, while I'll probably crash for a few hours if I
      > have not gotten any sleep in the OH->NJ leg of the trip. Wish me luck
      > getting to Ethan's house on time!
      > I am hopeful we can get back out of NJ Sunday early enough to get Ethan
      > back to OH by midnight, and then I'll try to get back to my job Monday
      > morning.

      You folks will likely pass right by my place; I'm ~19mi NE of
      Pittsburgh proper, right off the PA Turnpike. You guys are more than
      welcome to stop by my building for a pee break, IMAP folder sync-up,
      and/or some hangout time, if time permits. High-order geeks are always
      welcome here.

      My apologies that we could not spare the time to stop by.  As it was, I left Muscatine, IA at 3PM Central on Thursday, drove with almost no stops and did not make it to Columbus, OH until 12:30AM.  After a mere 30 minutes of loading Ethan's stuff, we headed out at 1AM Eastern, and stopped for no more than 30 minutes the entire rest of the way, arriving at 10:30 Eastern at the gate.

      The return trip was equally tight.  We were on the road by 6PM Eastern, did not arrive into Columbus until 2:30, and I was on the road by 3AM Eastern, making it literally back into Muscatine by 11AM Central with no time to spare to attend (in my Sunday T-shirt and blue jeans) a company meeting promptly at 11AM.  After 1.5 hours, I made the 15 minute journey home to shower and lunch, making it back by 2PM for 2 meetings, heading home at 4:30 Central and crashing until 8AM this morning.

      I just finished unpacking.

      > This is only my second journey to NJ, and I'm not an east coaster, so
      > bear with me. I think you all do things a bit different than us
      > Midwesterners. I hear you all talk fast and have colorful vocabulary,
      > but that might be a stereotype :-)

      Watch yo MOUTH, BOY!


      :-), being honest, here are my perceptions of NJ:

      • Loved the natural beauty.  Very picturesque.
      • Maybe it's an East Coast thing, or possibly just a NJ thing, and maybe it's just because NJ wants to ensure a certain level of intelligence in the local driving populace, but I've driven all over the US, and by far, I feel NJ (or at least that area around Wall) is significantly more complicated than it needs to be concerning roadway implementation relative to population density (or lack of geographic features mandating such complexity).  It wasn't any specific major issue, but just lots of "what the heck?" moments looking at the GPS or the map.  https://www.google.com/maps/@40.1889083,-74.0623713,16z was cute (off at one place, on somewhere way over beyond).  Again, I've seen worse, but it seemed to hit us *ALL THE TIME* in NJ.  There's probably some story about roadway design by committee or lowest bidder or some arcane rule about exits in NJ, but whatever. 
      • No self service gas pumping in NJ... Really?  So, do you tip the pump attendant?  From a cost perspective, I can't see how that works, since gas was 3.33/gal and that's the lowest I saw it across 7 states.  At that price, assuming the attendant makes min wage, how do stations make anything on gas in NJ.  /me cannot fathom the economics.
      • Had to pay a toll to leave NJ on I80.  That was cute, it's like NJ is living up (down) to the "have to pay to leave the state" joke.  Did not pay to get in on I80, unless we ran a toll...
      • The Princess Cafe has Pepsi, but no Mountain Dew.  Shameful :-)  (It's like the waitress had never heard of it...)

      On the show:

      • Enjoyed chatting with new faces and seeing the exhibits.  I would encourage the "exhibit placards" next year to include some blurb on what was being shown.  Most seemed to either be understood via the name, or obvious from the exhibit, but some left me scratching my head and the exhibitor was not there to explain the concept/context.
      • Great venue.  Lots of space.  I'd consider filling the middle of the rooms with something, though, as the exhibits halls, large as they were, looked a bit "sparse".  People complain about squeezing things in, but the more cozy atmosphere has some advantages.
      • Having the presentations in a different place was a big win.  ECCC/VCF-MW suffered a lot when the presentations happened in the exhibit hall.
      • More signage for the second exhibit hall would be appreciated.
      • I'm not sure the "exhibit halls don't open until 2PM" really worked.  People were in there all morning.  They were just too curious to stay out.
      • The consignment idea for the vendor area was a nice idea.  Kudos to those who manned it.
      • The programs were a nice touch.  Of course, they ran out Sunday, so that's a problem, but I guess a great problem to have.    Maybe a one pager with crucial info on it that can be quickly photocopied would be a good backup in lieu of overprinting programs in the future.
      • The food was a good idea.  Was it announced ahead of time?  I felt bad not partaking, but I assumed no food, so I made a Walmart run before coming to the show Sat morning.
      • The Friday University thing sounded like it had some hiccups to iron out.  I know people took it in stride, but I also know one of the presenters was a bit miffed at all the last minute changes and the AV issues.  Some feather unruffling might be prudent.
      • The Saturday dinner layout was a bit constraining.  4 person tables don't provide as much opportunity to talk to new faces and create interesting conversations as long 12 person or such tables.  Maybe neither works well, but I'd keep it in mind.  (I know there was an issue with 70 people showing up to a 50 person reservation, but that's a more common thing and is easy to sort out...)
      • If it is possible to get rect tables for the vendor room, I'd vote for that.  6' rounds took up a lot of room, and are not space efficient for sales items (people like the stuff to be at easy arms reach)...  Maybe the rounds were all that was left, dunno.
      • The vendor room saw lots of action, and thanks for letting me park there.  That said, I think Vince Briel and I would have preferred to be in the exhibit hall.  Vince could have provided some great comparisons between his Replica I and the real thing in the exhibit hall. (I know Michael Lee brought his, but still).  As for me, I'd have been happy to bring 1 or both of my Commodore C65s, or a SuperPET running Super OS/9, which is pretty rare as well.  I also have a Mensch Computer, a late 1980's machine of Bill's design intended for 65816/65265 development, which I am not sure anyone has seen.  But, I don't let the C65s out of my sight, as they are quite pricey.  I don't think the SW sales guy would care to be in the exhibit hall, and the consignment obviously needs to be in a separate place, but potentially the VAX sales area might have sold more with a setup to demo, and the Model M KB seller really should show those things in the exhibit hall (they were works of art, in my opinion).  If nothing else, it would have given the vendors a bit more opportunity to see the exhibits (I ditched my own tables for a while to view the exhibits, but I felt guilty doing that).
      • I felt bad that 6 exhibitors cancelled, but folks noted this was a high water mark for exhibits.  Impressive.
      • It seemed like poor Evan was stretched a bit thin.  Burnout is a bummer.  Would co-coordinators or "area-captains" help?


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