Computers at the Conference

Lest conference attendees miss their daily email fix (a comment about this was made at one of the plenary sessions), quite a number of internet-connected computers were made available to anybody who could type ``telnet.'' They were-well received.

Portable computers were also quite the rage. I don't think more than half had them, but it's difficult to tell. A table full of mini-DIN-8 cables with AppleTalk to the internet was made available: it was completely full every time I saw it.

How Presentations Were Made at the Conference

Using Mosaic as the presentation software was the rule. Each conference room had one or two overhead projectors with computer-connected LCD screens, and a mac, a Windows box, and some unix box, all of which were connected to the net. Some clever types actually used their remote servers (rather than a local file) as the source for the HTML with their slides. This once or twice caused problems, most often when a full-page image was coming across the Atlantic.

Of course, most presenters were smart enough to bring a backup set of physical transparencies made from their HTML documents.


Everybody, their company, their cousin, their dog, had a homepage or something worthwhile on the net. I've never scribbled ``http://'' more often in my life. It would have been really nifty if there was a printed, or better yet, online listing of everybody's URL. As it was, people often resorted to giving out business cards with URLs written hastily on the back.

Sayings and Acronyms

I'm sure you've heard our current crop of graphical interfaces referred to as the Windows Icons Mouse Pointer, or WIMP interface style. This conference introduceed me to a few new ones: Also, a few other, more serious acronyms were heard far and wide:

Comment on Demand

I think there is something fundamental going on here: Mosaic and the World Wide Web has been growing at an exponential rate. Larry Smarr, the director of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at UIUC, said NCSA's WWW server eventually turned into a supercomputer to handle the load: nothing else would have been fast enough.

So it stands to reason that the conferece would be overbooked; its sessions overcrowded, about half were standing room only; its hotels full, since I ended up in not the first hotel I called, nor the second, where I had a reservation, but a third, where the second sent me after informing me that they, too, were full.

Don't they get it? Exponential Growth Exponential Growth

The I Can't Believe They Made a Bumpersticker with That On It department

Microsoft, I swear to god, was giving out stickers with
On the Internet, Nobody Knows You're Running Windows NT
printed on them.

I wonder if the clever marketing person got the original joke, which asserted that creatures which might not be otherwise be allowed into ``normal'' circles are allowed on the Internet. What is this trying to say about Windows NT?

Actually, this isn't even a true statement: you can tell. See Wendell Baker's comments on this.


Just for fun, here's a listing of all the forms of transportation I used getting to and from the conference, roughly in order of appearance:
  1. Bicycle
  2. Pickup Truck
  3. Escalator
  4. People-Mover (horizontal escalator)
  5. Boeing 757
  6. Airport Shuttle Van
  7. Taxi
  8. Elevator
  9. Chicago City Bus
  10. Chartered Bus
  11. Car
  12. Chicago Transit Authority Train
  13. Douglas DC-10
  14. SamTrans Bus
  15. BART train
And I walked a bit, too.