Portland, 22–24-Jul-2013

The reason for coming to Portland is so I could go to a conference, which meant that was most of my week. I did get a chance to get out a bit, however, and Melody did quite a few things during the week.

Monday, 22-Jul

This was the first day of the conference for me. I went back and forth on whether to walk or take the light rail over, and it looked as if it would take about the same amount of time. I decided to start the week out by walking, since that way I didn't have to worry about the timing of taking transit.

The walk is a bit over a half hour, but the first day took me a little longer because I needed to find the best way to get to and from the Steel Bridge. I got close on Monday, but fortunately I had allowed enough time. The other thing I didn't take into account is hitting every red light. The cycles weren't long, but it was still strange that I didn't hit one green.

The first two days of the conference were tutorials, which meant a lot of taking notes as I was trying to follow along (all of my tutorials involved working on the laptop in parallel to the instructor).

Melody started the day by doing a walking tour of Old Town, including a walk along the Willamette through Waterfront Park. One of the things she saw was Mill Ends City Park, and saying it's small is an understatement. It's located in the meridian strip of SW Naito Parkway, and is about 450 square inches in size.

After finding a food truck for lunch (no shortage of those in Portland) she went back to Washington Park to walk around the Rose Garden. It took her a couple hours to go through the self-guided tour, after which she was more than ready to head back to the room.

We met at the store to fill out what we would have for dinner, then went back to eat. As we were finishing up, the hostel started serving their weekly dinner, so the kitchen got quite crowded with people lining up to serve themselves. We snuck through to clean our dishes, then went back to the room to wind down for the evening.

Tuesday, 23-Jul

I found good paths on both sides of the Steel Bridge, so that made the walk a bit faster. I still hit every red light on the way over, but hit mostly green lights on the way back. It's hard to know if it was the street I happened to be on or what.

 Walking across the Steel Bridge

Walking across the Steel Bridge

This was the second day of tutorials, and the afternoon one was most interesting because it involved a lot of typing. The speaker could type and speak at the same time, and he did both very quickly. Those in the audience who couldn't touch type had problems keeping up and asked the speaker to slow down, which he did for a while before speeding back up. When I had typos in my code which caused things to not compile, I had to keep one eye on what the instructor was doing (following along on my laptop) while switching back to try to debug and fix my problem. A lot of typing, but fortunately I was able to follow along.

Melody started the day by walking around the South Park Blocks, which includes the Portland Library and the Portland Art Museum. She did a highlights walking tour of the latter.

 Mill Ends City Park

Mill Ends City Park

In the afternoon she and a friend she knows through the Great Books Society met at the Powell's Book Store Café. Fortunately she had gotten there at a time when she was able to grab a table, since it got busy by the time her friend got there.

We went out to eat dinner that night at a Greek restaurant a few blocks from the hostel. There weren't many people there, even though we got there at about 6:30. The food was great, and we ended up having enough to take home for most of the next night's dinner.

That night was open mike night in the little outdoor seating area, and the way things were positioned we could hear it really well from our room. Fortunately, they were done long before we were ready to get some sleep (and yes, I do feel old saying that).

Wednesday, 24-Jul

This was the first day of sessions for the conference, so the whole day had a different structure for me. The opening plenary had seven different speakers, and it was interesting that they were all called keynote speakers. I found that strange since normally only one talk is the keynote address (such as one stone is the keystone). I find it just as odd that all Apple announcements are now called keynotes, for the opposite reason; after they stopped doing the keynote at MacWorld, the announcement does not summarize a core message for the remainder of the event, it's the whole event.

Anyway, enough geeking out on language.

Towards the end of the day it occurred to me that for all the sessions (including the tutorials), I was always going up and down stairs between them. Made me wonder if I should have chosen sessions based on location.

Melody did a couple more self-guided walking tours, one in Chinatown and the other in the Pearl District. She went back to Powell's to relax, and after I was done for the day we met at the store to supplement our leftovers with a little more food, as well as to get things for breakfast.

That night at the hostel was movie night, which we didn't hear as clearly as the open mike night. However, it seemed the disc was in rough shape, since there was a lot of skipping and stuttering going on. Ah well.