I had mixed emotions as the days got nearer to @media. I knew that I would enjoy each of the presentations and that I would come away knowing more than before, but because I am not much of a mingler I was worried that I would be sat on my own for the coffee breaks and that there would be empty seats around me during the presentations. How wrong could I be?
First Day Nerves
Luckily my friend joe was also attending and I scouted about for him once I had arrived and found him upstairs sipping a coffee with someone else. I kindly got introduced and it turned out to be one Faruk Ateş who, embarrassingly, I did not know how well-known he was. He was very friendly and put my nerves to rest as I talked to them both with a cup of lemon & ginger tea, until someone else came to sit with us. He was called Roger Johansson, and yes I did realise who this was – 456 Berea Street is a site that has helped me enormously over the last year or so. And, as others have commented, is a very cool guy!
So to the presentations. I will save comment on the speakers for a future post and continue with my impressions of the conference as a whole.
Mingle, Twingle, Pringle
The venue was well located, 5 minutes walk from Waterloo, and had a nice area where we could mingle and grab a cup of tea and sit down between presentations. I needn’t have been worried about mingling as people were friendly and eager to discuss the previous presentations. I could have done a lot more mingling but unfortunately I am not one to randomly start up conversations, instead choosing to talk to people who either come up to me or who I have previously met through others. It was brilliant to be able to talk to others sharing the same passion about standards and accessibility as me, even the fact that I could say CSS and everyone knowing what it was without explanation. I did feel out of my depth at times as I haven’t spent the amounts of time that most people seem to in putting the ideas into practise, but my passion on the subject is there and I hope that I didn’t sound too stupid when talking. The time between slots could have been longer, but then so also could the presentations – which would obviously have meant a 3 or 4 day conference that would have cost an awful lot more.
My first impression of the venue for the 1st day’s party was that it seemed a little seedy. You had to go down some steps straight from outside and downstairs was very dark and mirrored. The free beer was much appreciated at the end of the day and it was another chance to talk to some more people. We were blessed with a gorgous day and people started to creep outside into the street with their drinks and somehow manage not to get run over by mad taxi drivers and woman drivers.
The @media wind-down party on the 2nd day was brilliant, held in a nice bar in a Novotel. Much more open and airy and a lot of the speakers joined us for it. I spoke a bit with Jon Hicks and ended up with his autograph (nicest signature of the ones I got). It was a night where I spoke to the most people and I thoroughly enjoyed talking web and computers as well as the odd conversation about cars.
It was a well planned and packed 2 days that seemed to fly past, leaving me wanting more and looking foward to @media2006.