Thoughts from CanUX 2008 Day 2 in Banff

I skipped breakfast this morning but still found the day extremely packed! Fortunately it seemed to go by quickly, which means I wasn’t bored or overwhelmed. You can read more about today’s sessions in my post at Techvibes. Once again I am enjoying the size of CanUX 2008, as I’ve had a chance to chat with many of the people in attendance.

CanUX 2008Sally Borden Building

In the first session today, Luke Wroblewski used a metaphor I really like:

“No one raindrop believes they are to blame for the flood.”

It’s simple, effective, and applies to so many things! In terms of software development, I immediately thought about requirements. It might seem like asking for a feature enhancement is just a raindrop, but eventually you’re going to have a flood.

Another concept that stuck out for me came during the creativity session. We broke into three groups, and mine focused on improv. Our first activity was called the sun and the moon. We started as a big group in a giant circle. Everyone then had to pick out two people from the circle and keep their choices to themselves; the moon would be your protector, and the sun would be “too hot to handle”. Then we were to pretend we were at a party, walking around meeting people, but always keeping your moon in between you and your sun. What we found was that being so focused on moving around and staying away from your sun meant that you couldn’t actually get beyond a simple hello with anyone.

You have to decide whether or not it’s worth getting a little burned if it means you can have that meaningful conversation.

The entire session was full of activities that generated similar thoughts.

Tomorrow is the last day of the conference, and I’m looking forward to it. The last session is on Microsoft Surface, so that should be interesting. As is often the case, I’m both enjoying my break from a regular schedule and feeling a little behind on my normal day-to-day tasks. I’m glad to be learning some new things though, and I definitely have a lot to think about when I get back. You can see my photos here.

Banff Day 2

Faced with the prospect of $24 for the day for parking or walking for an hour in the rain, I decided this morning to make my way to the Fairmont Banff Springs on the Roam bus. I didn’t know this, but as of June 2nd, Banff is home to Canada’s first all-hybrid bus fleet. Adult fare is $2, and the ride from my hotel on one end of Banff Avenue to the Fairmont on the other was only about 15 minutes.

The first day of the conference went very well, though the wireless was pretty crappy. As more and more people got out their laptops and connected, the speed and reliability of the wifi plummeted. On more than one occasion I crossed my fingers as I pressed the “Publish” button.

You can read all of my nextMEDIA 2008 coverage at Techvibes.

This evening the weather was much nicer, so I walked from the Fairmont back to downtown. The sidewalks are all extremely wide, which I guess is no surprise given that Banff is a major tourist town. I walked the rest of the way back to my hotel tonight too.

Banff Bus nextMEDIA Jeff Barr & Kurt Kratchman Banff Banff The Underground Studio

Tomorrow is going to be just as packed as today, but I’m excited. There are a few sessions tomorrow that look quite interesting, and I’m trying to get a mini-tweetup going. I love meeting fellow Twitter users!

As promised, I’ve written a review of Timbers, the Italian restaurant I ate at last night. You can read it at Only Here for the Food.

Banff Day 1

I finally left the city today around 11:30 AM and made my way down to Banff. I’m here all weekend for nextMEDIA 08. The drive was uneventful, which is always good. It was extremely windy the entire way, with pockets of rain every now and then. It’s hard to describe how amazing the mountains look when you head west out of Calgary. Even with some cloud, they are impressive and humbling.

I’m staying at the Inns of Banff – it’s a nice enough hotel. The conference takes place at the Fairmont Banff Springs – it’s an incredible hotel. You certainly get what you pay for 🙂

After registering and checking out the opening reception (which had free drinks, yay!) I went to help Kris Krug and Megan Cole do a webcast interview with Revision3 CEO Jim Louderback. That was kind of fun, despite the spotty Internet connection. Jim is very personable and engaging. I think he looks kind of like a Hollywood star, actually.

Fairmont Banff Springs Opening night reception Jim & Megan Banff Avenue Timbers Food Co Beef Tortellini with Cream of Tomato Sauce

Next I decided to walk around a bit, checking out some shops and seeing what people were up to. I stopped at a place called Timbers for dinner – I’ll be posting a review later. Then after getting a coffee at Starbucks I came across The Underground Studio, an Internet cafe. That’s where I’m sitting at the moment! It’s open until 1 AM every day. Internet access is $4/hour, with an extra single $1 charge if you don’t have your own computer.

Both hotels have free wireless, yet both are very slow and unreliable. I guess it’s one thing to offer free wifi, and quite another to make it usable. Thankfully you can usually find a decent Internet cafe!

I’m very much looking forward to tomorrow, though I know it’ll be busy and tiring!