The day of the conference began at 5 a.m. for Coding House. This time, the Coding House Group consisted of the usual suspects (Bill, Taylor, Sean, Peter and I) plus Oswald and the newest member of the House, Angela (Portuguese film intern from Miami). Everyone except Oswald and Angela were going as volunteers at the HTML5DevConf, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Another night of an erratic sleep schedule had me drowsy (maybe I’m working too hard?). Funny thing almost happened: I was prepared to go to the conference in slacks complete with double-ply light blue dress shirt and red silk tie. Alas, I would have looked like a dumbass and so I went with casual. Cut me some slack, it was my first time to such a conference. I’m slowly metamorphing from a suit to a developer. So, I grabbed a quick breakfast of a raisin bagel with cream cheese and email check before hopping on the Hot Wheels wagon (the recently acquired white Dodge van with a randomly-placed Hot Wheel decal) and we made the short drive to the BART station in Fremont. Foot traffic was more than I expected but it wasn’t too bad. The ride to the Embarcadero station was well except Peter and Taylor haven’t yet another debate that eventually made an innocent stranger get involved as well. Just a side note, I always love the stop in front of the Oakland Coliseum with the Raiders banner draped down.
We got off at Embarcadero and walked a short distance to the Hyatt Regency where the conference was being held (beautiful weather by the way). We probably arrived shortly after 7 a.m. Staff organizer Ramona greeted us and had us get familiar with the hotel, find all the rooms being used, locate all bathrooms on each floor and have the EventBrite Entry Manager app downloaded and ready to use. Sure, I was nervous that wouldn’t perform well but isn’t that part of learning? So much to learn in such short time. It did help Ramona was very understanding of our inexperience. So we checked in, grabbed our lanyards (felt some kind of power putting it on) met the other volunteers (Oswald decided to do his own thing and left us to defend for ourselves until we met up with him near the end). I especially enjoyed meeting Jimmy. I won’t go into his personal details but I will say he has a great future for someone who has accomplished what he has at his age.
Before we knew it, mobs of HTML5 enthusiasts were arriving and we volunteers were on the frontline. Actually, it wasn’t too bad for me. I was stationed near the Grand A room on the ground floor, away from the major entry point. I was rarely checking attendees but rather giving out directions. Next time, the conference is going to need to print out MAPS of each floor as there were many of them spread out on the 3 floors of sessions. Nice to see different people attending one conference. There was one fellow giving Taylor a hard time about the demise of the Seattle Supersonics – I found that amusing. Jimmy helped out too as multiple people would try to ask me for directions (and of course, coffee and WiFi). It was around 9:30 a.m. (shorter than I expected) when Ramona told us we were done volunteering and to have fun at the conference. We all agree we were hungry at that point and went across the hotel for food. Even on that street, there was a great variety of eateries to choose from. However, I’m a frugal guy and I can’t bring myself to spend my money on expensive food (I’m the guy at a farmer’s market carrying a 10 lb of chicken quarter legs I got for $6). So I hung out with the guys as they got some Vietnamese sandwiches from Les Croissants. Another funny tidbit: while waiting for food, a wheelchair-bound man (looked homeless) crossed the street backwards while disregarding a cop’s orders to stop due to traffic with a fuck you. I give the cop props for just laughing it off.
After a quick bite, we went back to the conference (this was around 10:30) and broke off to attend the sessions we wanted to see. I wanted to meet the sponsors of the events and maybe network a great career opportunity in node, so I went downstairs to the booths. Heh, I think everyone had the same in mind because the booths were bustling with people (food and free stuff will do that). I think my only complaint there was Microsoft’s booth. I forgot the man’s name but he may have been socially awkward (even more so than some attendees). He knew how to present but it seemed small talk did not make him comfortable. The hotel itself did a great job accommodating everyone with drink and food. While I was checking out the booths, the room I was stationed outside of when I was volunteering held the Famo.us session. I didn’t know about until the Sean gave me text wondering where I was at. I managed to get there for the last 10 minutes (Managed to step away from the free things). It was funny because there were a few boxes near the entrance and people were attacking them like it was a Goodwill box marked “free” with $500 ASUS motherboards. It was just Famo.us t-shirts (I did grab one). Apparently, the session itself was damn good and impressed a lot of people. I regret missing it. Only after 2 hours, the group was hungry yet again. Taylor decided on Ziggy’s Burgers, the other guys on Oasis and myself Subway (a bad choice after I finished half my footlong).
So after lunch and learning a lesson from missing Famo.us, I thought I should start attending some sessions. The first one was one on creative Node.js. I expected something fantastic and what was given was a trite presentation that didn’t teach me anything. I’m certain the presenter was great but I wasn’t feeling it. The next presentation was on supposed to be on HTML5 and HTTP/2, but the presenter (interesting he was from PayPal) pointed out it was going to be just HTTP/2, it was going to be technical and to ignore said technical parts if they bore (which they did for me but hard to ignore when there isn’t anything else to see). Cool thing I learned was latency != response time So I lasted around 25 minutes there and went back to the booths to speak with more sponsors. My early departure allowed me to get a head start on the Auntie Anne’s cinnamon pretzels, fruit kebabs and delicate lemon cheesecake (all very good). This was break time for everyone so I spoke to a few attendees and overheard good conversations (memorable comment on hiring from one guy, “It doesn’t matter what your credentials are, it’s what you can build.”) before attending the last session that the group could before leaving for home. The last one I wanted to attend was Mobile Design by Zurb’s Jonathan Smiley. I saw Jimmy was attending the session and it was funny hearing him mention the HTTP/2 session – he did not like it. But, on the Zurb session: it was by far the more engaging and interesting session I attended and I didn’t fall asleep either. Jonathan was humourous (great slide pictures) and had a great delivery style. I learned about Invision, Macaw, Bourbon Neat, Sketch 3, Reflow as well as some tips (see image of written notes below). Jonathan does know his stuff.
From there, it was time for Coding House to leave. The ideal time would have been the social party that was to come after but we had work that had to be done, so we couldn’t stay. With that, the day at HTML5DevConf ended.