Wednesday, August 16, 2006

SciFoo Camp Day 3

For Day 3 of FooCamp, I drove over to the Googleplex so missed out on the sociology of the bus. It is always interesting as a meeting progresses through the days to see people who did not know each other previously become more and more comfortable with each other. I supose that happened here too, but Jason and I wanted to be able to scoot on out of there once the festivities ended.

We had another high-quality google meal for breakfast, although it seemed that the nutritionist may have not been given full control since the majority of items at the meal were fried or soaked in sugar or oil (i.e., bacon, french toast, etc). But the food was still good and if one did not like it one could always grab some organic snack inside.

On a side note, I kept cracking up every time I had one of these "Organic FoodBars." This was funny for two reasons. First, the name of the bar reminds me of something from the movie Repo Man where in the background of scenes, various food items are labelled as "Beer" or "Food." But the other reason these bars were funny is that everyone kept talking about foobar, which is another one of the O'Reilly folks meetings they are planning and a play on words.

Anyway, this was the day I saw the presentation on HowToons.Com (see earlier posting). I did go to a few other good sessions, but I confess I also spent a decent amount of time in the camping area of the googleplex chatting with other people. I made so many good connections at the meeting it seemed like that was certainly as much in the spirit of the whole thing as going to all the sessions would have been. Eventually had a final scifoo wrap up session where the powers that be asked us for critiques and suggestions for improvement.

In my glee to report on the great aspects of this scifoo, I may have given the impression that all was perfect. This was not the case and there were areas in need of much improvement. I and others brought some such issues up in the discussion here. One thing that was really somewhat unusual and ironic that was less than ideal was how they presented the information from the registration to other scifooers. When we registered on Day 1 we filled out a slip of paper listing five key words or phrases to describe oneself. I figured, this would get converted to electronic format and posted on some web site somewhere or used in some type of RFID tags to meet like minded folks. I mean, we were at Google, for heaven's sake. But no, instead what they did was simply print out our pictures onto the forms (they were about 4 inches by 8 inches) and then post all the forms on a board. Generally, the whole thing was useless, as people wrote in tiny print and not always very legibly, since they had no idea they would be posted in this way. There were other things in need of work but most of them were minor and unnlike in many other contexts where people point out problems with something at scifoo the audience actually proposed solutions to the problems too. That was a nice touch from my point of view, as it is easy to complain and generally hard to find solutions.

Then, just like that, it was over.

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