ISWC2005 trip: Wednesday, 9. November 2005

Second conference day. I still had to work on my slides and I was a little over-ambitious with this idea. Well, this day I saw one or the other interesting talk, but the main business remains offline the talks. People coming together, decent fireplace talks in the lobby, etc. Every time I saw Stefan Decker somewhere he was preaching the Semantic Desktop to someone. I wanted to show my slides to Ansgar before the dinner, but he wasn’t available, so I asked Malte. We sat in the fireplace-lobby and I showed my status to him. This fireplace lobby was an awesome place, cosy, warm, enough power outlets, bar personal don’t bug you if you don’t order anything. Luckily, Gerald Reif stumbled by and sat with his suisse friends. I asked him if he could help me with the slides and listen to my test presentation. Luckily, he agreed. Geri was my Diploma Thesis mentor and he already checked my first gnowsis slides in 2003, so he knows the topic and I both trust and like him. Ok, during the first presentation I felt: what is this shit I wrote. It was still very different from the presentation I would give tomorrow. There were much too many much too dull jokes in it and the message was missing. I slightly panicked but both Malte and Geri just said, its ok, and if you do A,B,C then it will work. Thanks to Malte and Geri, they saved my sanity. Geri also measured the time it took me to give the talk using his stopwatch. Later, Malte reviewed the slides and corrected most typos and semantic bugs. Ok, I all this took from 6pm to 8pm and it was time for gala dinner now.

Knowing that at a conference there is no time, I already came wearing my nice jacket in the morning, so that I didn’t have to change clothing now. We went to gala dinner and it was beautiful. The hotel staff removed all of the walls in the conference avenue, even some walls we didn’t think were removable. Result was a huge room filled with many tables, every table nicely decorated and with candles burning. I flocked with a few hacking-oriented people and ended on a table together with Malte, Uldis Bojars, Peter Mika, John Breslin and others (hm, will remember this). Food was great, and my sorrows about my slides fainted away after the first glass of white wine.

Nice parts that happened now was that we were neighboured near to the buffet and got to eat fast and we were also next to some very animating people, I remember especially one great dancer, I think his name was Jerome. Part of the entertainment at this night was an Irish band, that were accompanied by Irish dancers (“riverdance style”) that gave a dancing show. On the second show, they gathered people from the audience to join in riverdancing. They caught me and Jerome, but we both got hold of Stefan and dragged him also to the dancefloor. Poor Stefan, afterwards I felt that this wasn’t so nice, but during our performance with the irish dancers it was funny. All well documented, expect some flickr pics with us.

Later on, I got lucky to dance with Kim, which was real fun. We were one of the early adoperts on stage. The evening transmogrified when they shut down the gala dinner around midnight. We grabbed one remaining wine bottle and accomodated us at one of the remaining tables. Conversation there has already switched to the level of “if you could choose between having children, money, or good health, what would you pick?”. I quickly evaded, based on my belief that such discussions can only be made in a theological mindset and not just based on ethics and moral – just too theoretic. Moved to the other side of the table where the usual crowd of hackers already opened their laptops. I had to refine my slides anyhow. Around 1am we finally made an exodus and went to the lobby, where a few geeks flocked. Talked to some people there, interesting topics but I forgot the details. Went home then.

Hm, not wise to stay up until 3am when you have to give a talk tomorrow, but I only live once and every convesation with peers is worth a billion.