September 29th, 2004


Day 1 of PalmSource Euro DevCon 2004

Day one is over, and I'm hoping day two goes a bit more smoothly for me. Last night, I slept pretty well, falling into bed about 21:30, and waking up at 4:30 in the morning. I was able to catch a few people on email, and mostly stayed up until time to go down for the keynote. The presentation was OK, but having four partner companies that all wanted their 20 minutes during the talk made it drag a lot. I mingled a bit on the trade show floor, then caught lunch at the Marco Polo lounge at the top of the Hilton. It all tasted pretty good, but about 45 minutes later, I started feeling very sick to my stomach. I was pretty much knocked out until about 20:00, either sleeping or feeling ill. I recovered enough to go down to the developer lab until after midnight, and now I'm preparing the demos for my talks tomorrow morning.

No new pictures today, but if I'm up for it, I'm going to hike through the English Garden tomorrow after my talks, and I'll probably get some good snapshots at Ocktoberfest. As lizardprincess put it, the event "involves a mad scientist with giant robotic arms and beer". If you don't get it, you should see a Doc.


It's obvious that lots of people like Oktoberfest. However, I'm now strongly on the "dislike" camp after experiencing it earlier tonight. The site of the fest is huge, and setup like a county fair with rows of booths selling novelties, lots of carnival food stands, and dozens of huge beer tents, run by the various breweries. There are a number of carnival rides, run with the proper disrespect for life missing from America's clean family amusement parks. This all was fine, if a bit hokey.

Problem #1: It's crowded. We got to the fest about 4 PM, and were herded into the Hoffbrau beer tent. This pavilion can hold several thousands drinkers at a time. Imagine a college football stadium sized structure filled to capacity with tables, with all the tables full of people holding huge mugs of Barvarian brew. When we got there, the density was about twice my personal "fight-or-flight" limit, and by the time I left, it was about 50% fuller.

Problem #2: There's nothing to do but drink. I was very bored there, and was emitting enough bad vibes that my boss told me that if I wasn't drinking, I probably wouldn't have any fun and should head back to the hotel.

Problem #3: Bad German music. I heard oompa band renditions of John Denver's "Take Me Home" and Sinatra's "New York, New York", along with enough German drinking songs to make me cry. The "ziggy-zocky" chant was done a lot.

Problem #4: Everything is in German. It's understandable, being in the middle of Germany and all, but it doesn't help me very much.

Problem #5: Giant pretzels that are the size of your head. I can't imagine how this was ever considered a good idea, especially when covered with salt.

Problem #6: I just don't care for parties. This was the ultimate beer party, and those three words have never appealed to me when used in that specific combination and ordering.

So, I left about 6:45, walked through the rain trying to find a taxi, ended up stumbling upon a U-Bahn station instead, took a nice ride up to the Gieselstrauss exit, had Chinese noodles, then caught the bus to the hotel, where I found my room, changed into PJs, and started working on this posting.

I do have a picture, taken here in my hotel room using my Treo 600, of me wearing the funny hat I picked up at the festival. There were four basic funny hats. This gray pointy felt one, a blue checkered on that looked like a beer mug with a head on the top, a barrel hat with a tap on the front, and the German feather cap. All will appear online once I can transfer pictures off my Kodak digital camera back in Austin. Included in that set are pictures of prominent PalmSource executives wearing said hats. I now have job security again.

Ben in a funny Oktoberfest hat