If you haven’t been to Burton Catalyst before, this is the setup: during the day, you have the conference sessions, but no vendor expo. In the evenings, the various vendors lay on food, drink and demos in a variety of themed suites at the conference hotel. Sun’s theme this year was ‘Identity City’, complete with superheroes and a game than involved donning velcro boots and racing an opponent on a velcro floor. (Great work, as always, Bianca!) You get to wander round, sampling the victuals, watching vendor demonstrations and chatting with other attendees.
This year, unfortunately, I didn’t manage to get a full conference pass for Catalyst (there are some trade-offs inherent in the move from marketing to engineering). I did, however, get a free pass for the evening hospitality suites. These passes are pretty easy to come by – basically, just talk nicely to anyone involved in Catalyst, a hospitality suite vendor whatever. In fact, I’m guessing that, if you just showed up at the registration desk and asked nicely for a hospitality suite pass, they’d give you one.
Anyway – the upside is that I got to meet a bunch of ‘old friends’ (well, ‘old’ in Internet time) and some new folks too. I was photographed by my colleague Mark Dixon, videoed by Kaliya ‘Identity Woman’ Hamlin and, after the suites closed down, hit the town with a whole bunch of current and ex-Sun people.
The moral of the story? Even if you can’t manage to be there for the whole conference, the hospitality suites are free and great fun. Here’s looking forward to ’07!