Archive for May, 1999

Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 – 28, 1999, San Francisco, California

May 28, 1999

[NOTE: Some of my older writings… please forgive the grammar]

The great thing about working in the New Media industry is that you are able to experience high-tech conferences such as the Macromedia UCON (Users Conference) ’99 that I attended last May in San Francisco, California. Read all about the trials and tribulations of my short stay there:

Saturday, May 22
Today, I got a good jump on the town. I arrived really early in the morning and checked into my room immediately. I tried to check my email as soon as I got in, but there was something wrong with the modem pool (I kept getting disconnected). I called the font desk (thinking it was a problem with the telephone lines in the hotel) and the lady told me that I could go down to the lobby and use the Concierge’s FAX line to try and connect.


Same problem (can you just picture me running around in the lobby with a laptop in my hand? *giggle*). Anyway, after a somewhat ridiculous amount of wasted time, I decided to head out and see the city. My first concern was to find out where the Moscone Center (the place where my conferences were gonna be) was. I asked the Concierge desk how to get there and they gave me a map and drew some lines on it. It seemed pretty easy, but it’s a lot different (and further) than what it appears to be on a teeny weenie map. On the way to the Center, I stopped at a place called the Sunflower Cafe. It was around lunch time and my tummy was growling. I had myself a nice, healthy tuna sandwich and set off.

Eventually, I found my way to the Moscone Center. It’s fairly easy, but there was a lot of road work being done around the area that had to be avoided. It’s funny because, on the way there, I saw a street with my sister’s name (Minna) and then later I saw one with (kinda) my name (Eddy). Anyway, I took a little breather at the Center and planned what to do next. I sat on this nice patio-like overhang in the center and looked at my map. Since I was in the area, I decided to go see if I could find the 24 Hour Fitness that I looked up on the web before I left. It was not very far from the Moscone Center so off I went. On the way out, I saw the Yerba Buena Park. It’s really nice and actually quite a romantic place. There’s a nice fountain and grassy area, good for afternoon strolls and picnics. There’s even a kid’s area on the other side with slides and an ice skating rink.

Macromedia UCON 99 Trip, May 22 - 28, 1999 - San Francisco, California

After strolling through the park, I made my way to 2nd street, where I was in search of 24 Hour Fitness (I wanted to test my “All Access” membership, and what better way to test it than in another State!). I found 24 Hour Fitness pretty easily so I decided to head back to the hotel. Along the way home, I made a stop at the Virgin Megastore. It’s HUGE! There’s like 3 levels of goodies. The first floor has CDs galore, I think the 2nd floor had more CDs and the third floor had all of these DVD movie titles, among other things! It was insane! I saw a Mariah Carey DVD that my friend Grant might want (he’s in love with her), so I made a mental note to myself for later purchase (Ed. note: After emailing Grant at a later time, it turned out that he didn’t want the DVD, as they sell it cheaper back in Hawaii). I didn’t see anything else I wanted from there so I went back to the hotel. After unwinding a bit (by watching the end of the TrailBlazers vs. Jazz game and some SportsCenter highlights), it was time for dinner.

Macromedia UCON 99 Trip, May 22 - 28, 1999 - San Francisco, California

I felt adventurous, so I decided to catch a cable car up to Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s quite an exhilarating ride. The cable car on the other side of the street zooms like inches away from you! Wowee! Anyway, I made it to Fisherman’s Wharf and walked along that whole strip (from one end to the other). It kinda reminds me of this one road in Lahaina, Maui. Here, I bought some Ghirardelli chocolates for some co-workers, friends and my family. I saw the famous stands that sell clam chowder and crabs (that I always see on postcards and TV) and wanted very much to eat up but decided that the sanitation seemed not so appetizing (especially at that time of the night). I then, made my way on to Pier 39, the beautiful shopping district. A lot of the shops started to close, but it was ok, ’cause I remember it from my last trip to San Fran. It was pretty late, so I ended up eating at Sal’s Pizzaria. How’s that one!? I make a 2500 mile trip from Honolulu to Fisherman’s Wharf and I eat Pizza!!!??? How silly! =) Anyway, I made a final stop at Borders to check out the latest reads and decided to call it a night. I walked to the trolley turnaround point and waited in line for the ride home. While waiting, we were entertained by an outspoken cable car employee. He was cracking jokes and making everybody laugh. Though it was partly for a good tip, he was quite amusing. The cable car ride home was quick (all downhill) and chilly. I got back to the hotel and slept for my big day tomorrow.

Macromedia UCON 99 Trip, May 22 - 28, 1999 - San Francisco, CaliforniaMacromedia UCON 99 Trip, May 22 - 28, 1999 - San Francisco, California

Sunday, May 23
I decided that I had to see Japantown (J-Town). My culture was calling for it. Hawaii has a Chinatown, but no J-town and I just wanted to see what one was like. Small problem: I had no car. Stupid me, thought that walking it would be easy. I’m young and vibrant and can face anything. DAMN, that walk was long. Mark my words: “Never walk from the SF Hilton to J-Town!” Hehe! Besides being far as heck, it’s damn dangerous. I found out quite quickly that it’s not for the weak-hearted. I put on my scariest, angry face and walked through what seemed to be drug/beggar/bum central. It’s the kind of place that you can’t just turn around and walk away… I was already going so I couldn’t stop, so I just made like I can’t be messed with. To my delight, nobody did! LOL I finally made it to J-town. It’s a lot nicer and safer than Chinatown in Hawaii and many of the other streets here, that’s for sure. Pretty much the only thing I did there was eat though. I’ve started a tradition that wherever I go to eat, I take a picture of it outside. During my Japanese lunch break, I planned out my attack again. In this thing that I found online, it said to be sure to check out the Japantown Bowling Alley. I did. It wasn’t that great, but at least I can say that I checked it out! At this point, I wanted to check out the Union Street Shops, but it was too damn far. I decided to go to California Street and attempt catching the cable car there. As I went, however, it seemed like I’d learn more about the city if I just walked it. I saw those VERY steep hills, some nice temples, and even a graduation ceremony (speaking of which, I saw many people last night who seemed to have been going to a prom)! By the time I made it to Powell Street, it was getting dark. I decided to head back and get ready for dinner. I had no idea where to go tonight (I’ve already been to Fisherman’s Wharf), so I decided to look through this guide that I picked up last night. I saw an advertisement for a place called China Sea that was pretty nearby so I went there. I had a nice shrimp fried rice dish.

Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, CaliforniaMacromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, California

After coming home, I packed up and got ready to go to 24 Hour Fitness. This was gonna be a make-or-break situation because I wasn’t quite sure if I was gonna be able to get in (and it’s quite a hike to go to and get turned away). I decided to risk it. I was paying for “all clubs” so if they wanted to turn me away, I could complain right? Anyway, when I got there, I made a straight face when handing the lady my card. As she scanned my card, I prayed deep inside and waited for the beep. SUCCESS! She said “Thank you, have a good workout!” Woo Hoo, I’m was in! Now, I know I’m legal everywhere. I did a chest workout while browsing the entire gym. Well, I was pretty crazy because instead of changing back to my warm clothes I went all the way back to the hotel in a T-shirt and surf shorts! Boy was it cold! Heehee!

Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, California

I went back to the hotel and got a good night’s sleep in anticipation of the first day of Macromedia classes.

Monday, May 24
Unfortunately, I could not get into the full-day courses that I registered for. It was quite annoying as I had this entire trip planned around these pre-conference classes. I made my way a few days earlier just so that I could attend these classes. My reservations were in weeks ago, but I only recently found out that my forms were not processed due to a miscommunication in check receipt. My contact there told me that if I just come to the conference with my check, I should be able to get into the classes. Turns out that they only STARTED my registration process when I got there (and seating was very limited)! I was pissed. I gave that lady a piece of my mind, prompting her to squeeze me into some other absurd classes that did not apply to me. I did not go. Instead, I just went back to the hotel and read the pamphlets and booklets that came with our info packet.

YIKES! I fell asleep for a couple of hours. I must’ve been beat from all that walking yesterday. I feel lazy. I am going to walk around the area now. I ended up going to a place called Lori’s Diner that overlooked Powell street. I had an Edsel Burger – “Smothered with Sautéed Mushrooms and Jack Cheese. This Ain’t No Lemon!” It was cool.

SF is such a unique city. I’m not sure if it’s a very good place to raise a family there though, at least from what I saw. To be honest, there’s no other place I’d rather raise a family than in Hawaii. For now though, I would love to live somewhere like SanFran while I work. It’s also quite a romantic city and it seems (with the exception of O’Farrell Street!!), rather safe. I’ve recently been to Virginia for a Road Runner Editor’s Conference… now that’s a beautiful city. I was actually thinking about moving to San Fran. I sent this guy from CNET my resume, but no word as of yet. I think if the right opportunity presents itself, I would move out of Hawaii. Gotta stop being so small-minded. Although I see a promising future where I work, I keep thinking that I could do so much more with my life while I can. Anyway, that concludes my “lazy” day. =)

Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, California

Tuesday, May 25
Well, the conference is going pretty smoothly. Kinda finished our first full day of sessions today. There were keynote speakers like Tom Jermoluk (@Home CEO) and Rob Burgess, (Macromedia CEO) this morning. They even had the speeches streamed live over the Internet… I wonder if I was in there? *giggle* There are lots of exciting things coming from Macromedia. I can’t wait to start trying some of them!

Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, California

Anyway, I better go check out what’s going down here. I think there are a few more informal sessions going on. Been meeting some interesting people so far.

The sucky thing about my hotel connection is that there is a 30 minute time limit on 800 calls (my internet connection) to avoid a charge, so I always gotta watch my time and hang up/connect every 30 minutes. I guess I shouldn’t complain though since it is free. =)

I got a voice mail message from my friend Jen today. It’s weird because the voicemail system here (Merridian Mail) is the same as the one at work. I listened to the same lady and for a second there, I thought I was back at work! *laugh* .

Well, I had a mini-adventure tonight. After the conference, I was hungry. I started to walk around, looking for a good place to eat. Eventually, I found myself to China Town! It was kinda neat because I wasn’t even looking for it. I just tried to go to to areas of town that I haven’t been to yet. I walked straight through China Town (up Grant Street) and just took everything in. It was nice. I took a bunch of pictures and continued to roam. By luck, I found this place called the House of Nanking. There was actually this line outside which prompted me to ask the guy at the end of the line if this place was any good. He had nothing but good words about it. I came to find out that it’s a mucho-popular place that has won numerous awards. I was pretty stoked that I found that place out of luck.

Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, CaliforniaMacromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, California

I had a prime seat right near the cook. I think I actually got his attention when I took his picture! I hope he wasn’t upset! *laugh* The Kung Pao Shrimp that I ordered was excellent. Hey, they didn’t get all of this positive press for nothing!

Wednesday, May 26
Well, I’m all done with my meetings for today. We have an optional “Sneak Preview and People’s Choice Awards” and a “Hacker Session” (hands-on stuff) at 8, but I think I’m gonna skip outta here. Since the gym is close by, I’m gonna go there now. It’s weird here. It doesn’t get dark until really late. It looks like it is like 5 or 6-ish when it is actually like 8 or 9-ish. It can really throw a person’s mental clock off! After I lift, I’ll probably stop by the hacker session on the way home (it’s open ’til 2 AM!) to get my feet wet in some of these software packages. Damn, I wish I could get as awesome as some of these guys here!

The “Hacker Session” was really cool. Although you were pretty much on your own (there was no instructor giving a lecture per se), it was really helpful. Check out what I made while there. Yeah, it looks really simple, but hey, it’s my first attempt. =)

Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, California

Believe it or not, I ended up staying at that late night “Hacker Sessions” thing until like midnight! YIKES! The good thing is that I learned “Flash” a lot better. Before the session started though, I got a chance to go to the gym and eat at this one place called Max’s Diner. I had a grilled chicken sandwich with these yummy fries, while watching the St. Louis Cardinals vs. San Francisco Giants on TV. That was fun, but I forgot to take a picture of the place afterwards. Maybe I’ll go back tomorrow or on my free day on Friday. =)

Tomorrow brings a design lecture from well-known Lynda Weinman ( I’ll see ya then.

Thursday, May 27
Yesterday also brought something frightening to myself and some friends. Right near the area that I was in, there was a murder that took place. A tourist was robbed and murdered by two men at Russian Hill. I’ve only been here a few days and already something like this happens. How scary. With the exception of my first few days here, I try to stay on the path well traveled. I’ll leave the hidden secrets of San Fran alone next time!

I’m on lunch break right now and just doing my email thang. Well, it’s not really lunch break yet, but the last class was lame, so I stepped. Some of these classes don’t really teach you how to do things. It’s more like companies just trying to sell you their stuff. They are giving you their best marketing pitch and it’s a waste of time. I’m using one of these cute, little IMACs. Good for nothing, but they are cute. *giggle* Hey, it’s officially lunch-time now. I hope it’s something yummy.

Friday, May 28
I’m on the last leg of my vacation now. I’m kinda sad, but happy, know what I mean? I got another message from Jen today. When I saw the flashing light on the phone, I thought it was my pops calling to confirm my flight. To my surprise, it was HER! I guess she cares about me more than my own dad! *laugh* Nah, well I did call them later that evening from the pay phone downstairs. The operator/collect calling system is weird. My mom is cute because she sounds like she is always soooo happy to hear from me. I have a sibling, but my parents did a great job balancing the attention so as not to favor one. That’s what I love about them. I’m gonna make them proud and happy at all costs!

I checked out Fisherman’s Wharf again, and I also came back to town to eat at this place called Blondie’s Pizza. Dennis from work told me to check it out so I did. Whenever you see someplace with a line, that’s always a good indication that it’s a popular place. I also checked out Gap to buy some clothes and a belt and Computer City to do my last minute emails. The line at the Computer City Internet connected PCs were insane, but I finally got on one.

Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, CaliforniaMacromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, California
Macromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, CaliforniaMacromedia UCON 99, May 22 - 28, 1999, San Francisco, California

Then, before I knew it, I went home. The conference was a great thrill and I look forward to going to many more like business trips in the future.