What follows is a set of miscellaneous observations from my time at NN11, unrelated and in no particular order.
Feel free to comment on these or add your own.
About the host city:
- Residents of Minneapolis are the nicest people I have met outside of Canada. Everyone was helpful, understanding, chatty and just a joy to interact with. I plan to come back on vacation sometime in the near future.
- There may be at least one observable downside to this niceness, though--Minnesotans seem (at least to this Californian) among the worst drivers in the US. We drove into and out of the city to get to and from NN11, and around the city to run errands, and each time commented that if Minnesota drivers were placed on a California freeway for a day, they'd likely not survive.
- Coming from California, the skyways were a new new experience. I understand they were put in place to shield residents from the ravages of something called "weather", but I simply found them a delight, offering a bird-eye's view of the city.
- Speaking of the city--what a marvelously modern place! Free public WiFi everywhere, "dot matrix" style street signs on which messages could be changed (for instance, to re-route traffic), similar signs at the bus stops displaying details of the next bus arrival, and so on.
- The Coca-Cola company must have a contract with the entire city of Minneapolis--we couldn't find Pepsi at a single restaurant or vending machine during our entire stay. Once outside of Minneapolis on the way home, we finally found Pepsi at a truck stop diner. Yeah!
- Coming from California, you might think I'd complain about the weather--after all, it rained in June, for pete's sake! Nope--I loved seeing "real" weather, and watching the lightning show. The smell of the city after a rain was a delight to the senses.
About NN11 itself:
- Major grouse: Internet access sucked at NN10, and it wasn't much better at NN11. We're bloggers--can't we get a company to set up WiFi with WDS and a wide-pipe backhaul to a reasonable ISP? And get QoS set up on the system so that apps needing some bandwidth (e.g., streaming of panels/caucuses not streamed by the pros) can get it? By the second day, I pretty much gave up on "Netroots" and used my cellular modem.
- Major kudos: the venue was almost perfect. Meeting rooms were close to the exhibit hall, the Convention Center was a reasonable walk from the Hilton, power was available in most places where it was needed. I hope the choice of Providence for NN12 is as nice.
- The choice of topics for panels and the choice of participants for those panels and the keynotes was great. I just wish that all the panels and presentations would be recorded and live-streamed for those who cannot attend and for everyone's later use.
- Whether you agree with Markos' view on a given topic or not, I give him kudos for being willing to stand up in front of a large group of Kossacks to talk about what was good and what was bad about the transition to DK4. Bravo!
- This being only my second NN, I am just beginning to understand the importance of putting faces with names, and being willing to go up to some people I know only by their screennames to say "Hi" and to take back with me the sense of real people on the other side of the diaries and comments. Even those I don't like all that much. ;-)
- One personal nit to pick: NN decided not to make the American Indian Caucus a panel presentation, refusing to give a badly needed voice to the indigenous peoples of this country, and losing the chance to have a number of "names" in the Native American community attend. I hope the NN board reconsiders this stance for NN12.
Next year in Providence!