I'm back home from @media 2006, which as you probably know took place in London last week. I'd like to follow suit with the many other people who have posted their reflections on this year's conference.
Like last year, @media 2006 was a success. I enjoyed myself thoroughly during my four days in London, mostly thanks to the fantastic people I met and spent time with.
The conference itself was of course also enjoyable, though I saw less of it this year than in 2005. Since I participated in a panel (Strategic CSS management) I missed what was going on in the other room during that. I also missed Jeffrey Veen's presentation at the end of day one since I spent that time with Dave Shea and Rachel Andrew, preparing for our panel.
People have told me they didn't notice, but I was terribly nervous before going on stage. It was a strange feeling since I never have any problems speaking in front of people. But I haven't done this in English before, so that is probably the reason for my worries. In the end I think we did ok.
Again, I had a great time both at the conference centre and at the social events. I do have a few suggestions for improvement though, and after talking to other delegates I think many will agree:
- I'm not too fond of the two-track format. I kept feeling I was missing something. I have seen others suggest that maybe the tracks could be separated according to skill level, which sounds like an improvement to me.
- More water. Same problem as last year, but this time I was prepared for that and brought two litres of water with me each day.
- Coffee. More and, if possible, better coffee would be great. Or find a conference centre right next to a really good espresso bar ;-). Speaking of coffee, I tried Starbucks for the first and last time on Thursday afternoon.
- Food. I don't know if it's a Swedish thing, but we tend to want more than sandwiches for lunch. I realise that there are problems feeding 800 geeks, but how about also offering pizza slices or something similar?
- Find more suitable bars/restaurants/other venues for the parties, especially the actual @media party. Less smoke and softer music would make it so much more enjoyable. I, and most of the others I have talked to, come there to talk to other web professionals, not to shout at them. When I woke up on Friday morning I was worried I might not be able to attend the panel since my voice was extremely hoarse from all the shouting and passive smoking from the night before. Luckily it recovered during the day, but had the panel been first thing in the morning I am not so sure I could have done it.
You may look at that list and think I'm complaining. Yeah, maybe a little, but those problems are still just minor when I look at the event as a whole. It was fantastic.
What was not so fantastic about my four nights in London was the hotel I stayed at (The Sanctuary House). If you have any kind of sleeping problems, which I do, I would recommend finding somewhere else to stay. The beds are rock hard and there is a constant droning noise that sounds like someone left a truck with the engine running on the street outside. Except there isn't. Good thing I brought my earplugs, though they could not block the sound completely. I even moved the bed around to try and find a spot where the noise was less audible. No luck. So I had four restless nights of too little sleep. And then there were the keycards. I stopped counting after getting the sixth replacement card. They'd work a couple of times, then go bad. Pathetic.
Thanks to all the fabulous people I had the privilege of hanging out with, the hotel didn't bother me nearly as much as it normally would have. So thanks, Dan, Dave, Veerle, Geert, Cindy, Jeremy, Andy, Rich, Chris, Kenneth, Rachel, Drew, and everybody else. I could go on to fill a couple of paragraphs, but I'll stop there.
Thanks. See you next year.