Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Being Unprepared Stinks

I'm having a weird week already. There's a technical conference here in town, and I registered and paid long ago. In a truly strange case of odd timing, I got laid off literally a week before the conference, while my reimbursement check is still pending in the system. Company was cool, though, and said that since it was approved by a manager while I was an employee that they would pay it.

So on the one hand, free conference. It's no longer my job, and I can skip if I want, but it is "my thing" and it's a nice excuse to get out of the house and hang with geeks. In theory it's a good networking opportunity.

But on the flip side I need a job. Staying away from my cellphone for 3 days is not exactly a great idea, either.

Long story short, I decide to go. I basically need to get there before 9am if I'm to register and get into the keynote.

I leave at 7am. Problem #1, there is a big accident on Rt93 that takes up an hour of my commute just to go three exits to the train station. I'm not kidding. Decision time -- do I take the 8:15 train, which guarantees to not get me to the conference until 9:30? Or do I assume that the traffic is now broken free, and I've got an hour to get into town? I choose to go for the drive.

Problem #2: Bad gamble. I end up driving for another hour, and literally do not get out of my car until 9:15 anyway. I have parked according to my original plan, which is to drive in and park in my former work neighborhood, where I'm familiar with the traffic patterns, planning to walk the less than 1 mile to the conference.

Problem #3: I basically end up getting to the conference at 9:45. I have completely missed breakfast, and catch the keynote sitting in a corner and trying not to draw attention to myself.

Problem #4: In my hurry to get out of the car and get going, I have forgotten my glasses. So I can't really see any of the presentations at all. Not a problem, as this is a programming conference and every single person including myself has a laptop.

Problem #5: This is my wife's laptop that I am using as backup, since I lost my old machine when I got laid off. The programming environment, that I have set up in a hurry in anticipation of exactly this moment, is not complete.

Problem #6: I cannot get on the net. My iTouch gets on just fine, so I can check email and Twitter, but I can't get the laptop connected. I believe it's because of the old wireless card in there, which is probably still doing 802.11b, and the hotel is not broadcasting B anymore.

So: I'm starving, I haven't met anybody to talk to (having missed the breakfast mingle time), I can't follow the presentations, and I can't do anything meaningful on my laptop. I ended up going home before lunch.

Tomorrow shall be different. I've updated my programming environment and put in a new wireless card. I'll make darned sure to pack a breakfast for myself, remember my glasses, and take the train instead of trying to beat the traffic. I expect it to be 100% better.

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