Saturday, September 27, 2008

Post-conference

Regular readers here may have heard from me in one way or another about the Conference on Urban Parks sponsored by the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy that I was helping with last week. That was a lot of fun and, I'd say, a resounding success. We had some 600 people in attendance from ten countries (and it would have been eleven if the guy from Pakistan had his visa approved). I was in charge of collecting all the PowerPoint presentations (in .ppt, .pdf and .pptx format, which was difficult because I couldn't open .pptx files to check them for completeness). This was more epic a task than it might at first seem; I was downloading these files from sometimes-fickle FTP and Gmail servers. Then sorting through who was late with the presentation, who wanted to make changes, who just never got back to us on whether he or she was going to even have a presentation. Not to complain, but between the technical and the interpersonal difficulties, I had a few moments of frustration.

But in the end it worked out fine with no major (or even, I think, minor) issues. One attendee, who was asked to moderate a panel discussion after the scheduled moderator was unexpectedly unable to come, said that she had been to dozens of conferences over the years and this was the best-organized of them all. She also noted that she is not always so friendly and can sometimes be acid-tongued, so it was all the more rewarding to hear that. Praise from Caesar is praise indeed.

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