A reflection on conferences


So much of the work I do at conferences involves skipping formal sessions. The SQL workshop was great, but this round I’m getting a lot more done with a bit of peripatetic evangelism.

Gretchen Freeman asked about my online patron pre-registration wizard, and I explained that we don’t connect to a state database to validate driver license data; I figured out empirically that the penultimate group of digits is (month – 1) * 40 + day + (500 if female), for example. (Mine is 305: male, August 25.)

I encouraged John Craig to write a book on portable standard SQL practices.

I encouraged a wifi-management vendor to let library users register multiple MAC addresses, so that I could use my phone, my work laptop, or my personal laptop — and only have to enter my barcode and PIN the first time I claimed each MAC as my own.

I talked to Jim Rosaschi (who always reminds me of Jack Warden, may he rest in peace) about network tuning and URSA, and especially the idea of using a QoS appliance to let library-automation data trump mere web surfing.

So much of this depends on roaming, chatting, things not always considered Real Work. But I’m fortunate to work in an organization and a professional community that recognizes the value of shooting the breeze.

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