Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Au Canada...

Hi everyone,

this is a report on the conferences I visited so far and first thoughts on the one I am currently at. The i-Know'07 in Graz was a very nice first conference. Lunch, coffee breaks (with a selection of nice cakes) and a nice gala diner with live music were included in the conference fee. There were about 500 attendents and I easily managed to get into contact with a set of nice people. My paper attracted quite a lot of people (the room was so full some people had to remain standing at the sides) and the questions were very focused. I received a lot of positive feedback from people who had seen the presentation, so overall I am quite content. I collected business cards like a madmen and handed out my old one, which reminds me: I need a business card holder.

Graz was also nice as a city, though it was raining most of the time and though it was actually quite similar to most German citys, down to the same kinds of shops. Well I know Austria isn't that far away, but I had expected more diversity. What was funny however was that along the central townsquare there were at least 20 loungerie shops ;) They sure like their sexy underwear the Austrians.

The Bell Tower of Graz - The city's landmark

The Hotel Feichtinger where I stayed was very nice and comfortable and had a simple but nice breakfast included in the price, just as well as free wireless internet access. It was really hasslefree and good service and also located in walking distance from the city center, so if you're
staying in Graz I can only recommend you stay there.

The 'Graziens' sure like their pillars and statues

More proof of 'pillarism' - Sadly the weather was a letdown...

The next conference the GMW ("Gesellschaft für Medien in der Wissenschaft" = "Society for media in the sciences") was quite a different thing: It took place in Hamburg and our research group tried winning the so called 'Medidaprix' which can mean a funding of up to €100.000. Originally my prof wanted to do the presentation there, but when the jurors came over 10 minutes before his presentation, he asked me to do it. So in just ten minutes I went through my prof's presentation, built my own presentation sheets together in a consistent manner, added a few new ones and raced to the assigned room to present out paper. It was rushed and that is also how the presentation felt: Not well prepared at all. A video of that shameful event can be found online, if you can find it.

Food at the Triple-I in Graz was plentyful and of nice quality, not so at the GMW in Hamburg :(

Naturally PetPet and I had a huge piece of wonderful Sacher Cake in Graz! Strangly however I ate some at the GMW as well, since our booth neighbours from Austria distributed them quite liberally. That was the only real food we got at the conference (of course excluding the one nice evening gala).

Needless to say: We didn't win the price, we didn't have a nice hotel and we didn't get any food between sessions. Only the evening gala dinner in Hagenbeck's Tierpark (the oldest and most famous zoo in Hamburg) was quite good, though that might be related to the bottle of wine, each of us must have emptied ;)

The view from my hotel room in the Hilton Quebec. The view was nice the service not as much. No wireless internet and the standard DSL costs extra. Breakfast isn't included in the room proce either.
(Again: I can only recommend "Hotel Feichtinger" in Graz. They had a nice breakfast, very good location, free wireless internet, a very good overall service and everything at one very moderate room rate)

Now I am at the E-Learn 2007 in Quebec-City, Canada and am enjoying the nice weather. I will write a little more on the conference tomorrow or Thursday, but so far it has been a nice experience (although we are again not provided with any food *grin*). The presentation went quite well in my opinion and what makes me even more sure of it, is that a lot of people told me so. The speaker after me however was a little bit lost, which is a nice way of saying that his presentation sucked big time. He had won a best paper award, but aparently was only firm at writing english not speaking it and to make matters worse had apparently pasted his whole paper onto the power point slides with a general font size of 12-14, I guess you can imagine ;)

A very nice fountain, depicting ladies (and a few kids and a bearded guy) bathing, in front of the houses of parliament, her in the nightime overview...

...and for all of you who like more detail a daytime close-up shot.

Edit: Quebec was very nice, we enjoyed beautiful weather and I had the special pleasure of a nice French/Canadian Dinner for 100$. That was really a Lucullan pleasure and totally worth it. Let me note however, that a lot of that amount went into tips and wine (which cost almost as much as the menu at 50$ a bottle for a 2004 Côte Du Rhone). Most of my readers probably know that food is my special hobby and thus, I think one sometimes has to spend (a little) more money to get a special meal. I really hope other people think the same way :)

Btw.: The pictures in Quebec were taken with my brand-new Canon Powershot G9 camera. This thing really makes beautiful pictures, but I still have to learn using its features properly.

The third course of the five course French/Canadian Dinner: Tartar de Caribou (a sort of North-American Deer), with poached quail's egg.

Quebec's trademark - Château Frontenac, which was being restorated at the time of my stay in Canada. I tried to catch a perspective without the massive scaffolding and I think I succeeded. Also notice the blue sky: The weather was pretty nice with about 15°C.

Another trademark of the city, a mural depicting the same view you would get from turning around on the plaza.

Hope you like the update. I know it's been a long time, but I tend to keep my promises (*grin*). Next (recent) post will be up, in a minute too.

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