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  Saturday, May 1, 2004

So, we're back from CHI and Vienna.

It was an exhausting, exhilirating week in a truly remarkable city. Everywhere you turn there's history, art, music, and more history. It would take weeks of sightseeing to take in all that Vienna has to offer, and I only had the two days before CHI started to sample it. So we visited the Hofburg and Sch[^]nbrun, the palaces of the last emperors of Austria, saw the crown jewels in the state treasury, saw paintings by Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt and other Secessionists, drove by the Secession building, ate Sachertorte at Cafe Demel, ate wienerschnitzel and tafelspitz and other delights. And drank coffee, lots of coffee. The only television I watched was the "Vienna Waits for You" promotional video featuring the Billy Joel song which played continuously on the hotel's in-house channel.

We stayed at the Marriott, right on the Ringstrasse, which made getting around easy--a tram stop is right in front of the hotel, and an Underground station just around the corner. I bought one ticket good for a week of travel for 12.50 Euros (about $15). This Marriott was just installing broadband internet access--so new that the first few days were free. The connection was intermittent, making it nearly useless, and I would not have paid the exhorbitant fees they had planned--as much as 20 Euros a day, or $25! But the hotel's service was superb; we had breakfast and sometimes dinner in the executive lounge at the end of our floor, with a wide range of food and beverage and gracious service.

The CHI conference itself was wonderful. There were 1,800 attendees, including a large number of walk-ins who helped the conference's financials. There were sessions on robots, on games, on web issues, usability, design case studies, and so on. It was quite satisfying to be part of the conference committee, as there was more than enough recognition--they even had dandy little committee pins with a "Hero" tag for those of us who worked far too hard. . .

The OK/Cancel guys were there, and have checked in with their impressions here. Yes, the WiFi was problematic (well hey, this is the first CHI to have WiFi. . .) due largely to a wonky DHCP server (the conference center's, not ours) that was stingy with IP addresses. And yes, there were so many people there that it was possible to never run into the friend you knew was attending if you didn't go to the same sessions.

More later. . .

7:58:29 PM    Questions? Comments? Flames? []

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