Tuesday, August 30, 2005

TechEd Australia 2005: Day 0

It's raining. It hasn't rained for months and on the one day I'm free, on the Gold Coast, where it's supposed to be beautiful one day, perfect the next, it's raining. Oh well, doesn't look like there's too much to see anyway. Shower, read the paper, go down to breakfast, come back to finish reading the paper. Nothing better to do while it's raining outside anyway. It's been a long time since I've read the whole paper - I mean the whole thing, every page (most of every article, all of some of them). I've discovered my new favourite section - "Defrag" by Kerrie Murphy on the back page of the IT Business section in The Australian on Tuesdays. She seems to be a fairly casual writer but what, at first glance, seems like light-hearted banter/venting is actually not so subtly disguised cynacism, and quite cleverly phrased cynacism at that. I like her style!

OK, I'd better go see what there is to see at Broadbeach. Potter around, see a couple shopping centres, see a bunch of half constructed high-rise appartment buildings. Conrad Jupiters doesn't look anything like it does in the promotional photos. This whole area could do with a huge injection of cash to spruce it up. It reminds me of the lower NSW Central Coast - like Gosford for instance. Even the people wandering around look like they'd fit right in in Gosford. Pacific Fair, the big shopping centre, reminds me of Erina Fair. Oh well, I didn't come here for the scenary or shopping centres.

I did spend a fair bit of time in Dymocks and Angus & Robertson. I know I have several bad habits & addictions, most of which I won't publicly confess to, but I will admit to my book addiction (which I don't think is dishonourable, but it does tend to get a little expensive). I picked up a copy of "The 2005 Books Alive Great Read Guide" & the "The Angus & Robertson Top 100 List" and sat down in the food hall at Pacific Fair for about an hour pouring over the lists. Some very interesting titles in there. Must fight the urge...too strong...can't resist...must go buy books! Arrrggghhh. I gave in and bought 5 books (& got a freebie) under the justification that my kids could give them to me for Father's Day next weekend. And I had to get a number that was divisible by 3 so they could each give me the same number of books - kind, fair, loving father that I am - at least that's my story & I'm sticking to it. I bought:

  • The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (#1 on the top 100 list)

  • My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult (#8 on the top 100 list; never read any of her books but this one sounds really interesting - looking forward to it)

  • tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom (#25 on the top 100 list; a bit of a legendary book - I should have read it years ago)

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon (one of the 50 books in great read guide; sounds really interesting, from the viewpoint of a 15 year old autistic boy)

  • Farthest Reach by Richard Baker (book 2 in the Last Mythal series; read the 1st one (Forgotten House) and have been waiting anxiously for the 2nd & 3rd)

and I got Hell Island by Matthew Reilly for free (but it's only 118 pages - that's a bit disappointing). $100.83 later... <blush> But I was being very self-restained. I also wanted to buy:

  • To Kill A Mockingbird, Harper Lee (but I think we have a copy at home)

  • Angels and Demons, Dan Brown (but I thought I should read the Da Vinci Code first to see if I like Dan Brown)

  • The Power of One, Bryce Coutney (I'll get it next time I can't help myself...)

  • Across the Nightingale Floor, Lian Hearn (already have too many books on my reading list)

  • The Five People You Meet in Heaven, Mitch Albom (should read tuesdays with Morrie first)

  • 1984, George Orwell (read Animal Farm years ago, should read the stuff I've got already)

  • Ancient Future, Traci Harding (a possible new author to add to my favourite fantasy authors list)

  • War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy (come on Mike, finish Dostoyevsky first (I've only read half of The Brothers Karamazov too), then you can think about Tolstoy)

but I didn't. Isn't that good of me? Going through the top 100 list from A&R it occured to me that I've read a healthy percentage of those titles and quite a few others that I'd consider to be of classic/legendary status (like Moby Dick, A Tale of Two Cities, The Iliad, etc.) It gave me the idea of compiling an ever changing, ranked list books I've read. I think I'll score them (out of 10) and maybe include a few reviews for the best of them. Yeah - something else to waste my copious amounts of time on.

The Exhibition & Convention Centre looks pretty schmick. It's obvious that it's new. It's a shame about the 1000 or so other nerds in the registration queue ahead of me. At least, I'm far from the worst here - half the people are whipping out their Blackberries or wireless PDAs whinging to each other about not being able to connect to the Telstra wireless hotspot at the convention centre. It's funny - probably 90% of them are trying to impress the others around them with their technical expertise, and the rest of us couldn't care less. Ah, the techno conference fun & games.

Finally registered - of course the Premier Support queue was the longest by an order of magnitude. Ironic really - pay all this money to Microsoft for special treatment (top support etc.) and you get to wait the longest in the registration queue at TechEd. Doesn't really matter to me - I've got nothing better to do right at this moment. Walk into the exhibition hall and am slightly gob-smacked by the largest collection of computer geeks I've seen since the last TechEd I went to in Melbourne (2001).

Anyway, that's enough verbal diarhea for today.


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