Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Educause 2007

Here I am up in Seattle, signing in for Educause 2007.

I flew up this morning from Portland to avoid the cost of a downtown hotel stay. This made for an early morning and missing the keynote session.

After getting signed in, I couldn't help but drift up the hill into the familiar Capitol Hill neighborhood, where I am currently situated in a coffee shop fueling up on a double Americano in preparation for the first of the regular sessions. I've spent a fair amount of time in this area of Seattle, especially back in the mid to late nineties. The divey Comet Tavern is close by, and I have a feeling I might be drawn there at some point.

Initial impressions of the conference are that it is huge and well-organized, leveraging IT in lots of ways.

One pet peeve of recent conferences attended: the ever present disposable tote bag. Out of principal, I am refusing to pick mine up this time. These things are worthless and serve only to advertise the vendor on the outside of the bag and fill up our landfills. Educause also is giving out free umbrellas...sort of a nice touch in Seattle. But they obviously don't realize that people in the Northwest hardly use them. We realize that a little water is pretty harmless.

Another environmental complaint: I've never received as much junk mail at work as after having signed up for this thing. Lots of garbage from software vendors and IT service providers. Some of them have even called so I've been using caller ID a lot.

As long as I'm on a roll, I notice that the official dress code for the conference is "business casual." For some reason, the whole business casual concept just ooozes a sense of blandness and mediocrity. I suppose I dress that way at work most of the time, but actually making this official recommendation for a conference somehow seems kind of lame. I prefer a more inclusive dress code--with everyone from jeans and t-shirts to Saville Row suits being okay. If we want cutting edge IT, we need to be open to a Googlely sort of dress code?

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