Amsterdam, 4:31am

Or maybe it’s my discovery of vieux jeniver (I hope I have that right — the old stuff, not the new stuff) at the Poster Reception at WWW9 last night. It’s probably a good thing that it took me longer than I planned to go stash my laptop back in my hotel room yesterday afternoon, or I might have used the extra drink tickets I collected and then I know I’d be in trouble!

More later; I’m hoping that getting this writing out of my system and onto Dave’s servers will let me go back to sleep.

Hmmm…just found a little buglet…I adjusted my timezone to “Central Europe (UTC+0100)”, since that’s where I am, and also changed my page to put a byline on the page with the time of last edit. Much to my surprise, UTC+0100 means exactly what it says — no adjustment is made for summer time. When I get home to California, I’ll reset my timezone preference — I wonder if being in the same timezone as the server will cause it to honor daylight time.

Larry Lessig’s keynote

Larry Lessig (Harvard Law School) gave this morning’s keynote speech. He was erudite and polished — possibly too erudite for some of the audience, I’m afraid. What I took as his message is this: government’s proper role in the evolution of the Internet is to ensure that the net itself remains neutral, that it doesn’t discriminate based on who’s using it or what application is being used, and that a balnance must be restored between intellectual property rights and the rights of the community (the users of the intellectual property). When I get home, I’m going to move his book much higher in my stack of books to read!

Afternoon plans

I’m going to miss most of the afternoon here at WWW9 in favor of discussing the possibility of holding a future Computers, Freedom, and Privacy conference in Europe, quite possibly in Amsterdam. It’s not clear that the timing will work out for 2002 (2001 is already planned for Cambridge, Massachusetts), since there is a great deal of planning needed to pull off the conference. More later.

I had a pleasant walk through Vondelpark while waiting to go to my meeting; it would have been even nicer had the weather been warmer, but it was still a nice change from concrete. Then onto a crowded and late tram (it appeared that two or three scheduled trams didn’t run) to return to the hotel, pick up my briefcase, and tram to Centraal Station for lunch at the “First Class” restaurant (a former first class waiting room; part of the waiting room was converted to a Burger King, so don’t take the name too seriously!) to discuss CFP in Europe. Details when they become clear; I think we made progress, though.

WWW9 is over

I made it back from the CFP cabal meeting in time to use the Internet connection to fetch e-mail and then catch the closing ceremony — it looks as though the WWW10 committee has their act together. I’m hoping they will be able to get more papers on the effect of the Web on society and the world, not just the usual run of technical papers.

Then a last hit of e-mail (well, this is Amsterdam!) and back to the hotel with Andrew Donoho and Kelvin Lawrence (IBM colleagues from Austin), then to dinner. We all wanted to walk and enjoy the fresh air, so we strolled much of the way towards Centraal Square, then turned around and ended up at Myrabelle (an eet-en drinkcafe) at Vijelgracht 1. We had a very pleasant meal (I discovered that I like Amstel mittlebock (I may have the spelling of “mittlebock” wrong)), with good, friendly, reasonably fast service — this was a pleasant change from the last dinner I’d had with Andrew and Kelvin. Then we walked back to Leidsenplein and tried to go to an Australian ice cream place, but it was closed, so we ended up at Ben & Jerry’s. It felt just like home, though it was a little less crowded (and a few cents cheaper, too).

Tomorrow, I hope to visit Keukenhof if the weather permits. Unlike the web site, the real place does not require Flash to be installed!

Amsterdam pages: [15 May] | [17 May] | [18 May] | [19 May] | [20 May] | [21 May] | [22 May] | [23 May] | [25 May]

Amsterdam, the second and third days

Well, I didn’t get a chance to edit anything yesterday (16 May), but that’s OK; I spent the whole day at the conference, so there’s nothing terribly interesting to talk about. :-)

Unless you’re interested in weather, that is — the beautiful weather ended abruptly yesterday evening with a torrential downpour and thunderstorm which reminded me of living in Florida. I haven’t seen so much rain in years — fortunately, the storm was short-lived (maybe an hour) and by the time I was ready to leave, the rain had subsided to a tolerable level. But I was happy to split a taxi with some of my colleagues instead of taking the tram back.

We had dinner last night at an Argentinian Steak House near the hotel. It was a much more drawn-out process than any of us had expected — one of our number ordered soup, which resulted in the main courses being delayed for close to an hour! Silly us — we didn’t realize that it was impossible to start the main courses until he finished his starter and the waiter had picked up the empty soup bowl. It was close to 10pm before we got fed, which was a bit late for a heavy meal — so I had a hard time falling asleep. I finally managed to drift off about midnight; the alarm came awfully early this morning!

I had breakfast with colleagues this morning at the hotel; again, we had some service problems, resulting in our arriving at the conference at 9:15am instead of 8am and so I missed most of the opening plenary panel. But I got to see enough to have an idea of the preceding discussion.

And now I’m in a panel session on “Practice and Experience”. There’s Internet connectivity in the back of the room; but there’s only one power outlet here, and that’s being used by the hub, so I’m on battery power at the moment. More later….


By popular demand (my mother), here is a picture of me in the terminal room at WWW9.

Amsterdam pages: [15 May] | [17 May] | [18 May] | [19 May] | [20 May] | [21 May] | [22 May] | [23 May] | [25 May]

Amsterdam, the first day

I had an uneventful flight (I slept more than usual for a trans-Atlantic flight, which was nice…but probably only four hours, which is not really enough). But I got to Amsterdam too early; the hotel wasn’t ready for me. So I left my luggage and walked to Centraal Station to buy a train pass for my entire stay; then I took the tram down to the RAI convention center to register for WWW9, and that’s where I am as I type this.

But en route, I stopped for lunch, having an old Dutch favorite…

Falafel: (The Hebrew means "Falafel like in the land [of Israel]". Thanks to Yiftach Ravid for the translation!)

I also noticed that some of the least savory aspects of the global culture have reached Holland.

It’s a beautiful day in Amsterdam, making for very pleasant walking. And my path took me past the street of flower markets, which was very pretty.

I only wish I were wearing short sleeves — it’s probably 80 or so, so long sleeves are less than optimal (on the other hand, they’re keeping me from getting sunburned). I have a few pictures, but they’ll have to wait till I get back to my computer — this one doesn’t seem to have a PCMCIA slot. (Thanks to Rohit Kahre for loaning me his computer; it’s different enough that I’m going to stop editing now after getting one picture up. Macs may be easy, but I’m too imprinted on Windows….)

But now it’s 3:15pm here and my hotel room should be ready, so I’m going to blow off the tutorials here and head back to the room. More later, perhaps.

Later the same day…

I eventually got into my hotel room, where I discovered that the phone charges are rather high by my standards (roughly 40 cents/minute (US), topping out at $10/hour/call, or $1.75 to access AT&T, plus AT&T charges), so I don’t think I’ll be connecting up from the hotel very much!

I went to dinner with Rohit; we ate at Little Tel Aviv, which, of course, was a pizzeria. I declined the ham pizza in favor of mushroom, which was very good.

Little Tel Aviv

After that, I joined a private canal tour set up by Sally Khudairi of ZOTgroup.
I’ll post more pictures when I get a chance to edit them.

Amsterdam pages: [15 May] | [17 May] | [18 May] | [19 May] | [20 May] | [21 May] | [22 May] | [23 May] | [25 May]


Preparing for Amsterdam

So far, I like the DC280 quite a bit; I’ll know better after my trip, of course. I am not quite so happy with PhotoDeluxe; after I use it, my display is sometimes fouled up (odd colors all over the place) and there doesn’t seem to be any good way to recover short of a reboot. (A little experimentation shows that I can recover by setting the desktop to 256-color mode and then back to 24-bit color. Whew!)

At any rate, I’ve taken and edited only a few pictures so far. Here’s one of Diane (well after Passover!) and one of Jeffrey in his room.

Now, I should get off the computer and start packing. Oy!