I’m getting ready to go to TNC2010 – this years edition of the TERENA Networking Conference. By tradition, the conference, held annually, roams Europe, from north to south, from east to west. This year we go to Lithuania. As always I’m looking forward to meeting my colleagues from around Europe, to catch up with people, projects, and ideas in the community, to get inspired, and hopefully provoked.
As always when I go to these event – and, actually, whenever I travel – the last step in my preparations have been printing. Hotel reservations, airline reservations, google maps, addresses for restaurants, agendas and locations for meetings, etc. I might live the digital life, I might be heading to a conference about advanced technology and community for the digital life, but for my travel essentials I’m still strictly analog. OK, I do also copy all this stuff to dropbox, as PDF’s, for easy access from laptop and iPhone, and I do copy stuff to my kindle. But I’m not relying on that. I’m a seasoned traveller, I’ve had both flight and hotel reservations disappear mysteriously, and when that happens in a far away place, a place I don’t know much about and where I do not speak the local language, I want my papers. I want paper to show at check-in counters and hotels, and I want paper to show to the taxi driver when I arrive four hours laten, and say “take me to my hotel”. And I don’t want to have a flat battery get in my way.
It’s a hassle with all that paper, and environmentally wasteful. Hopefully some day I will trust the digital version. But not yet.
I had my first travel for more than a month today. I can’t remember when I last went this long between trips abroad, but the volcanic ash situation has cancelled several meetings; I’m particularly sad to have missed the e-IRG meeting in Barcelona (even though it will be done in June i Madrid, so I’m looking forward to that), and the NORDUnet 2011 program committee meeting in Reykjavik. On the positive side, most of the work has been done anyway; the volcano is doing a great job driving the further adoption of video-conferencing.
My trip today was to Stockholm – and into the warm, sunny weather they’ve been having in eastern Scandinavia. That was a welcome change from the rain and cold we’ve been having. Even better, my meeting with CTO’s of the Nordic research & education networks was positive, energized, and productive. We’re getting down to business, finding ways to federate networks & services, extending collaboration to new areas, and sharing experiences. We’re also seeing results of initiatives started in the past year; I’ve been very pleased to see a federated networking proposal evolve quickly and being accepted for implementation. Inter-organization sharing of network ressources to reduce cost for all is a great way to apply the optical network technologies we have been implementing in recent years.
We’re creating change, and we’re having fun doing so. This was one trip definitely worth doing.
Andy Schleck (pro biker) blogged about the joys of modern airline travel – in particular in these days of volcanic ash. The rest of us might not have the glamour of being top athletes, but anyone who travels professionally will sympathize. We’ve all been there with delayed and cancelled flights and endless waiting in airports, and I think we have all probably spent time sharing tales of travel madness with fellow victimstravelers. In the current situation I’ve had to cancel several trips; just this week a trip Iceland (yes) had to go.
Andy is looking forward to the Tour de France. So am I, but only as a spectator. But let’s not forget that we have big events of our own to prepare for; demos, conferences, publications, etc. In the research and education networking world, a major event on the calendar is the TERENA Networking Conference, this year to be held in Vilnius during the first week of June. I have a paper to present, so there’s preparation to do. And as always at TNC, lots of friends to (re)connect with, side-meeting to hold and talks to listen to. It’s bound to be an exciting week. What’s more, I’ve agreed to be “official blogger” for the conference this year. Not quite sure what that will amount to yet, but it sounds like fun; watch this space.