Yesterday I returned from a whirlwind four days in San Francisco. The primary reason for the trip was to conduct training for folks at the California Digital Library, but of course all kinds of other things happened. Here’s the brain dump.
I can’t believe what great friends we have. At a Sunday afternoon party at the gotomedia pad, we were joined by college friends from Oregon, others who live a four-hour drive from San Francisco, and another from Cleveland. You read that right: one of our local friends flew out to the Bay Area to be at the party. Well, that and to take a vacation in California, but still! And that doesn’t even count the WaSP folks who also attended, like Simon, Porter, and Molly, who came from Kansas, Washington DC, and Arizona respectively.
It was at the same party that I finally met Porter’s wife, so I can now stop referring to her as “Porter’s imaginary spouse.”
If there’s one thing I envy about San Francisco, it’s the BART system. You can get darned near anywhere, and it makes commuting from the city over to Oakland a snap. This is particularly true when your hotel is on a stop, and so is the place you’re headed. Despite this, I still got turned around in downtown Oakland and was very nearly late for the second day of training. The only reason I was able to find the place at all was that we’d walked over to the training facility the day before, so I was able to identify and use landmarks to reconstruct our path, and thus find the labs.
It turns out the BART ticket machines run on Windows. I found this out by the usual method, of course.
In a conversation about the presidential campaign and Ohio being considered a key battleground state because of its employment situation and political complexity, one of my hosts opined, “The Bay Area pretty much spans the political spectrum from liberal to extremely liberal.”
At the WaSP and Friends after-dinner party on Tuesday, Tantek publicly announced his departure from Microsoft. He refused to say where he was going next, although we’ve since learned that he’s headed to Technorati. By Wednesday evening, I’d actually come to that conclusion without having seen the post, but of course I didn’t manage to post until now, so I look like a poser instead of eerily prescient… although if you’d take the word of a VP at Macromedia, he could attest to my prediction.
Like others, in a way I’m sorry to see Microsoft losing such a passionate, intelligent, and committed standards advocate. We could speculate all day as to whether or not there’s even room for people like him, but one could assume the same about AOL, and they funded a whole standards team for a few years. In any case, Tantek firmly believes this is the right thing for him to do and seems happy with the life change it represents, so I can’t be anything but happy for him. I can’t wait to see what he does at Technorati (and really hope the service stabilizes in the near future).
I spent a goodly portion of Tuesday evening talking, at various stages, with Rebecca Blood about the Web, adoption, growing up in the Midwest, and more. On my flight home Thursday, I was delighted to discover a mini-profile of her in a Time article titled “Meet Joe Blog.” It’s kind of a weird feeling to open a national magazine and read about someone you’d talked to just two days before.
At one point during the party, someone was copying a movie to his or her laptop. I observed this activity for a few moments, then turned to Jonas Luster (who managed to get a picture of me drinking some MS kool-aid) and said, “You know, in Soviet America, the movies rip YOU!”
Okay, maybe you had to be there.