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« DevCon Short Status Report | Main | Calling DevCon Bloggers! »
Tuesday
May242005

Palmsource DevCon: Day One

You know it's going to be a long day when the line for the security check snakes off past the airport Starbucks cart to another concourse. On Monday I was certain this was an omen of troubles to come. I was wrong. The line through security went surprisingly quickly, though the trip to San Jose would take longer than expected.

No WiFi at the terminal, even though it was promised on several signs on the way toward my gate. No matter, I decided to start reading and preserve the battery of the Powerbook. I'd brought along my copy of Microserfs (a fave of mine) to see how well the story resonated more than 10 years later. I'm happy to report Douglas Coupland's writing is still funny and natural.

Odd Luggage & Tight Squeezes
On the way out to the plane, I saw an older gent carrying a bowling ball, complete with the original AMF cardboard box, wrapped with his baby blue ball carrier. Only in Milwaukee would you see someone with a bowling ball as a carry-on. Well, Milwaukee and Cleveland.

Stuck on a small plane to Denver. Worse yet, stuck in the most cramped front seat next to a selfish, inconsiderate businessman, who hogged the space all the way to the Mile High City. By the time we reached Denver, I had a serious crick in my shoulder from the pretzel-like shape I'd adopted. Thanks buddy. Arg!

Meeting a Cool Google Dude
In Denver I grabbed a bite to eat, and boarded a Boeing 757 (thank the Lord!), ended up sitting next to a very cool guy from Google. We had quite a bit in common, chatting most of the way to Denver. He didn't share any top-secrets with me, though we had a good discussion on why I liked Google, on software tools, trends on technology, jazz, web and logo design, blogging, podcasting and more. I always enjoy being seated next to interesting people.

Got to San Jose at least 15 minutes late, due to headwinds. At the baggage claim I received two messages; one from User Council co-member Jen (PocketGoddess) and a second from Renee that David Nagel had resigned. Yow! I wondered what was up, with Nagel calling it quits on the eve of PalmSource's big DevCon.

Jen and I shared a cab into the Fairmont, where we checked in without fanfare. It felt good to be back at the hotel where I'd built good memories the year before. This time I'm in a 9th floor room, with a nice view of San Jose and prime viewing of incoming jets. I dunno if it's just me, but the low-flying jets over high-rise buildings freaks me out slightly. Must be a 9-11 thing.

Settled into the room, then connected with my partner in crime, Michael Ashby and his wife Holly. They had spent a nice anniversary weekend around Carmel and along the coast, enjoying some wonderful food, great wine and gorgeous scenery.

The DevCon Login
Next we were off to the DevCon to sign in and get our packets. The PalmSource backpack made a comeback this year, with a slightly different design and a bunch of items packed inside. I was most interested in an Audible coupon for one month of free subscription service. I'll have to sign up for an audiobook for the long trip home.

Michael stopped over to do his stint with the Computer Outlook Radio Show guys, John and Rich, just before their live show began at 5. If you're interested in hearing PalmSource's Larry Berkin, the director of DevCon and Kenny West of PalmGear, check out the audio archive (5.9MB MP3) of the segment. Actually, Computer Outlook is featuring folks from PalmSource all week long, so check out the Computer Outlook streaming archives and PalmSource's own podcast feed.

Nagel Resigns: Some Reasons, Maybe?
While hanging about, I learned that at least part of David Nagel's decision to step down as CEO was related to the declining health of his wife (due to cancer). Knowing this tidbit does put the news into perspective. I hope Mr. Nagel and PalmSource come right out and share this reason to cut the speculation going on and to be real with users, investors and developers. I admire Mr. Nagel for giving his family priority.

Ahhh, WiFi...
I finally had a chance to get connected to WiFi in the lobby. I'd hoped to catch someone's free signal in the hotel room, but I had no such luck. Well, at least on the DevCon floor, WiFi floods the airspace and is free for the absorbing.

Met my fellow User Council members down in the lobby and had a chance to catch up a bit in person. Oddly enough, we chat regularly in our IRC channel, so it's less a matter of catching up than it is show and tell with new devices and software. Geeks and their toys. :-)

Palm User Group Meeting
We all headed up for the Palm User Group meeting, sponsored by PalmSource and several developers. Saw several marketing spiels (the giveaways are always left for the end of the event). Dave Nagel spoke at the event, but made no mention of his resignation nor any of the reasons why he was resigning. Hmm. I really wished he'd said something directly about the issue — this pretending there's no elephant in the room seems the wrong tack in the Cluetrain age. C'mon PalmSource, get real with us!

Left early for a private dinner the User Council folks, myself and several others attended at a nearby restaurant. We were all a bit bummed to lose out on the freebie swag, but hey, you can't do it all. Dinner was quite good, with many interesting discussions and of course, good food. I enjoyed the best tiramisu I've tasted, since visiting Germany 4 years ago. Yum!

Back at the hotel I stopped down to the lobby to run a last check of email, where I met a woman from Cingular's developer division, who was trying to get her laptop on the WiFi network. She'd received some bogus info from someone at PalmSource (wrong SSID name) so I helped her sort things out. Had a nice chat about what we both did, and had a chance to share some info on SnapperMail which seemed suited to their enterprise focus. I love these kinds of spontaneous social meetings. in my opinion, these types of meetings are one of the best things about DevCon.

End of a Good, Long Day
And so it's begun, DevCon 2005. It seems the Palm OS on Linux should be the big deal at the event. I do hope PalmSource can finally clarify their OS strategy for developers and users. Having so many variations of their OS out in the wild really confuses people about what's what. Even I, who should know the intricacies of the OS variants feel pretty clueless, which is not good. I hope the next few days will provide a clear picture of where PalmSource is heading in the future.

I'll post a new entry tomorrow on my experiences on Tuesday. And be sure to check out other blog sites in the previous post, who are doing a much better job than I am with the latest scoops and technical details.

Until tomorrow...

Reader Comments (4)

In the 5th paragraph it puts"jazz, we design and more"

It should be

"jazz, web design and more"

May 25, 2005 | Unregistered Commenternowhereman
Thanks -- I've updated the post with those and a few other changes I saw. :-)
May 25, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterMike Rohde
Mike, you must have left before David Nagel ended his talk at the User Group Meeting. He did mention that he had resigned from PalmSource, though he didn't give a reason.
May 25, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterOliver
Mike: have fun! I love your field report...

;-) Lo

P.S.: Where are the PalmOS 6 devicecs?
May 26, 2005 | Unregistered CommenterLo Szabo

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