MIDP3 EG face-to-face wraps up
Another MIDP3 Expert Group face-to-face meeting wrapped up today. I have to say, although I went as an individual JCP member and paid my own way to Spain, it was worth every moment - the friendships, the networking, the feeling of accomplishment as we worked through spec issues, dusting off high school foreign language skills, being able to have intelligent conversations with geniuses in the mobile space... it was wonderful. There was a LOT of working going on - many people tired if not burned out from all the travel, the 9 1/2 hour days, the office email that one must attend to back at the hotel - all of this making the time after hours that much more anticipated.
Speaking of after-hours activities, unlike other standards bodies, you don't find JSR EGs running off to boondoggles in the French Riviera or Thailand - they generally meet in ordinary cities in Europe or somewhere in the US, alternating continents each meeting. Someone from the EG volunteers to host a meeting in one of their offices, pays for food to be catered, and takes folks out to dinner one night for the "EG Dinner" (which prospective EG hosts should know is NOT mandatory.)
Before and after meetings, some of us explore the city we've come to for our meetings... In Reston last year, I hosted a pre-EG ski trip to Snowshoe. This was far from a big deal - two EG members and myself piled into my minivan and drove for 5 hours to a cheap motel, watching movies on a 17" monitor strapped to the back of the driver's seat, stopping at McDonalds along the way. Waking up in the morning to find it pouring rain; getting to the top of the mountain to find not rain but zero visibility fog; discovering that it only went down the top 50 feet of the mountain - and being rewarded for our troubles with a great day of skiing.
Our meetings this week wrapped up with a walking tour and bar hop of Madrid led by Oscar Gutierrez, the representative from Vodafone Spain, and we were fortunate enough to have Kay Glahn, one of the spec leads from MSA, join us. I think we were better off than many tourists who do not have the luxury of Spanish tour guide to show us where the locals eat and drink, away from the tourists and their trappings.
Tomorrow it is time for skiing... yes, skiing, in Madrid, 85-degree-summertime-Madrid. I have most of the day free before my flight home, and a few of us are going to head to Europe's largest indoor ski slope, kept at -2C all year long, located just outside Madrid.
Why am I going on about this? Because I was the only individual developer at the meeting. We really need more developers providing the developer perspective to standards discussions. Everyone else was corporate, as in operators and manufacturers. We developers cannot just sit back and monitor KVM-INTEREST for what's going on, we need to get involved by attending these meetings and asking for what we need. It is definitely not us-versus-them - it turns out that we're all thinking very much alike. It's a matter of explaining our side of the story.
I hope I have given a few folks some additional incentives to monitor JSRs and sign up to go when there is a call for participants at an expert group face-to-face meeting. Once again, it's easy for me to snap pictures and show you the after-hours highlights. A lot of work gets done in the meetings - we're talking 9 to 10 hour sessions - and after all this, people have to get back to their hotels and check the days' email and do the other work they're expected to do. But it sure helps when you can take a little time out of a busy EG schedule and relax.