TFD9: Journey and Arrival

Made it!

I’ve arrived in Austin for Tech Field Day 9 after a journey of 14,330 kilometres, or 8,904 miles. I left home at 6am, and arrived at the hotel at 8pm local Austin time. That’s about 29 hours travel time.

There was “weather” in Dallas, so my last plane was delayed nearly four hours, but the airports over here have free WiFi and free charging stations, so it was no big deal. My American Airlines flights had nicer planes this time around, compared with a few years ago LAX->Phoenix, AZ. Business class on United is nicer than Qantas Economy, so I’ll probably look at an upgrade to Premium Economy in future.

But! In a fluke, there was no one in the middle seat! I had Window, and a nice guy named Ari had the aisle. He travels to New York every three months to visit his daughter (father of the year candidate right there), and apparently he’s had a spare seat next to him on the last ten flights. When he told me this during boarding, before the doors had closed, I hoped I wouldn’t jinx his good luck. (Yes, yes, superstition is dumb, I know. It makes for a more interesting story.) Doors closed: Result! That little bit of extra elbow/storage room was ace.

A criticism of Qantas: the USB power thingo in the seat didn’t appear to actually, you know, work. My phone (a brand new Samsung Galaxy S4) registered charging mode but didn’t actually charge. It’s been fine everywhere else. I tried both mine and the spare seat, same issue. Alas.

The movie selection was pretty ordinary, for my particular tastes, but enough to pass the time. Points to United Business class there.

But overall, American Airlines have been fine. Even on the stupidly short 1hr jump flight from DFW to Austin, they served complementary beverages (Canada Dry Ginger Ale FTW, though I realised too late they have Dr. Pepper, so next time. Yes I’m one of those freaks who actually likes Dr. Pepper), and the staff were friendly and helpful. The gate staff were professional and friendly, even when dealing with a scheduling meltdown and demanding (i.e. American) passengers. Kudos.

Foreshadowing

People will be arriving all afternoon, so the festivities of TFD9 will be kicking off very shortly. Hopefully you’ve read some of my background pieces and are prepped for the big event.

I intend to take a slightly different tack from what I believe the other delegates will be concentrating on. My forte is on the wider business context of technology, what with the MBA and all. I intend to ask questions that illustrate what sorts of business problems each technology is designed to address, rather than the specific bells and whistles it has.

The other folks will be better qualified to delve into the technical details and how the various nerd knobs work. I want to try to delve into who the products are targeted at: what sorts of businesses, their size, the complexity of the problems addressed by the products, etc. Also which people in your organisation the products are targeted at. Is it the sysadmins? The architects? The business? The CIO?

Importantly, I want to see if the companies understand these questions. The people presenting are technical, and I’m not going to try to drag things off into a purely businessy conversation; it’s called Tech Field Day for a reason. But that said, the technicians should understand what their products are for. They cannot be all things to all people.

That’s the plan at the moment. I reserve the right to change it if I feel it needs to be changed. :)

Feedback

I’m happy, nay eager, to hear from you about what I’ve written so far, and what you’d like to see. Please get in touch either in comments, or on Twitter: @jpwarren

Blog posts are likely to be sparse while the event is running, so Twitter is where to find me.

Deep breath.

Let’s do this.

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