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Things to do in San Francisco when your schedule is dead

Posted by felipeal on June 23, 2005 at 4:14 PM PDT

I'm going to the JavaOne conference for the 3rd consecutive year and this year I'm planning to write more about it (on blogs or even articles).

In fact, I've seen many blogs and forum posts where people complain about the conference not being as cool as before, because it's more marketing than geek, etc.

I can't say it was worse than before, but considering my experience in the last 2 years, I still think the conference is worth going, at least for the following reasons:

  • networking: that's more important than the technical side
  • partying: there is no better way to network than drinking a beer or playing pool :-)
  • tourism: it's always nice to visit another country, specially one where you lived before
  • marketing: the marketing is not really that evil and you can get good swag at the conference, mainly books and t-shirts.
  • sessions and BOFs: sure, they're important also...

So, considering those aspects (no pun intended), here are a few things I'm probably doing over there:

  • watch Batman Begins at IMAX - IMAX is awesome and we don't have it in Brazil, so it's mandatory to watch whatever is showing there (although I didn't watch Harry Potter last year). Besides, Christopher Nolan is a good director and the cast is first class.
  • watch Episode III again - I haven't watched it for the second time yet because I was hoping IMAX was showing it...
  • go to the Borland party - I missed most of the party in the last 2 years because of BOFs (last year, for instance, my BOF was at the same day and from 10:30-11:30). This year I checked the schedule and I'm good to go.
  • go to other Java parties as well - there are so many this year is hard to remember all: Communities, Maven/JuG, JXTA, Sun Certified, JBoss, Pavillion, etc. I even got accidently invited to a JavaOne Wireless & Entertainment Summit Dinner...
  • Broadway night live - well, the conference is not the only places where you can party...
  • drink different beers - I really enjoy the variety of beers available in California: Guiness, Sierra Nevada, Stella Anchor (?), Pyramid, etc... It's hard to find these beers in Brazil and even when you find then, they're expensive
  • eat Thai and Indian food - they're also rare/expensive here
  • go to "The House of the Nanking" - that's a classic Chinese restaurant (although my Chinese friends don't like it too much)
  • meet old friends and make new ones - as I said, networking is one of the main reasons the conference is worth your grants
  • play "The Creature from the Black Lagoon" - that's a classic pinball and I used to play it daily when I worked in a startup in the Valley. Since I left the company, I have never found that machine again, until last year's conference. I don't need to say I had spent a whole morning playing it...
  • get an Eclipse T-Shirt on the Treasure Hunt - that's as classic as spinning the wheel
  • watch the parade - last year I didn't plan to, but had to cross market on my way to the JCP Licensee day. This year it's going to happen the same, as there is a Netbeans day on Sunday. But in the end, the parade is fun.
  • visit the Fisherman's Wharf - that's the ideal place to have dinner after the conference is over.
  • buy a pre-paid mobile card - it's good to be reachable, specially with so many parties to go!
  • take a picture with Duke - my son loves it
  • write about the conference - I did an article for Java Magazine in 2003, but last year I wasn't in the mood. This year is going to be different and I'm planning to blog/write about the conference daily (well, this blog is already a good start :-)
  • watch a handful of sessions - every year it's the same drill: I spend hours selecting dozens of sessions to fulfill my whole schedule, but in the end I watch just a couple or two, expending most of the time in the pavillion (or playing the Creature :-)
  • win a Java jacket - well, that's something I haven't controll of, but I'm confident I will get one at the spinning wheel or in a raffle :-)

Well, the list could go on and on, but it's time to catch the flight.

See you there...