I traveled to Amelia Island, FL the day before the first session started. I was supposed to arrive at Jacksonville at 6:45PM on Monday, but due to a delayed flight I missed my connection at Dulles and there weren't any other flights on United to JAX that evening. I managed to get transferred to a Delta flight that had a stop over in Atlanta, but I didn't get to the hotel until around 2AM (sans luggage) after being up since 4AM. Suffice to say, I didn't make it to the opening remarks the next morning. Also, suffice to say, I'm avoiding United for the foreseeable future.
I attended some other talks that day that were also good, but these were my favorites. JSConf did something really clever with their talks. They were all 30 minutes long, not an hour. This is what made it possible to attend so many talks in one day, and it worked exceptionally well! The talks felt more focused and to the point as well.
Monday night was the first social event of the conference: a giant cookout and miniature golf! I met a lot of great people and had a lot of good talks. Before I went to the party though, I had to go back to the airport to pick up my luggage which had arrived earlier that afternoon. The Omni hotel staff was amazing though! The bellhop manager personally drove me out to the airport and back (a 45 minute drive each direction) just to get my luggage. It's interesting, you know, how even though we come from different generations, backgrounds, and (possibly) different socioeconomic standings, I felt that there was a real kinship between us. We discussed all sorts of topics, ranging from education to politics to travel to fishing. In a way, it was nice to step completely outside of the world of engineering for a while and form a connection with someone else not based on work. At the end of the day, we're all just people. It was a nice bookend to a philosophical day and, in a way, one of the highlights of my trip.
In my next blog post, I'll talk about day 2, where much robot hackery transpired!