California (Side A: San Francisco)

Posted on June 29th, 2012

Filed under: General — Karl Olson @ 5:16 pm

Since I’m taking a relaxing little 8 hour or so bus ride down to Los Angeles, I figure I can take little break and write something that for myself rather than something for Bilateral Warp or toonzone.

So, I lucked out and managed to score a pass to Google IO 2012. Thus, after a drive, a plane trip and a BART ride, I arrived in San Francisco, vastly too early to check into my hotel, yet late for the free breakfast Google provided all of the attendees present (the first of many free meals and free goods Google would provide.) Still, in terms of the stuff you’re supposed to be coming to IO for, namely informational panels, new product announcements and networking with other developers and tech enthusiasts, I have to say I’m just as pleased with IO 2012 as I was with IO 2009. There wasn’t as much in the way of live coding demonstations, but the information was quite useful. Those panels also made me realize just how much I’ve picked up from the classes I’ve been taking at Simon Frasier University. I’ve retained a lot more than I’d thought. The other attendees were quite cool as well; I had a lot of vigorous and fun discussion about all the new stuff Google dropped at the con. In fact, one of the discussions was so lively that it caught the attentions of a staff writer for the BBC. I don’t think anything will come of it immediately, but she did ask for my business card and contact information. Those discussions and panels were very exciting, and have renewed my passion for development. I can’t wait to wrap up school, and start making cool stuff.

Of course, while the previously mentioned elements are easily worthwhile themselves, Google always puts some frosting on cake by giving every attendee all sorts of tech goodies, apparel and toys. This year, they hooked everyone up with the surprisingly nice Nexus 7 Tablet, the (Made In The USA!) Nexus Q media streamer, the Nexus Galaxy cellphone and a Samsung Chromebox computer. Yes, they basically gave everyone four computers (all be it in very different form factors.) On top of that, I netted a couple Google shirts, some cute Android and Google lapel pins and even an Android Rubix Cube. It’s a silly amount of swag. I’ve already started to use the phone as my new Canadian cell phone, and I’ve already played around with the tablet. I can’t wait to dig into what the Nexus Q and Chromebox can do, but those will have to wait for a monitor or TV screen with HDMI inputs, and some WiFi. I’d write a whole bunch more here, but I have full review of the Nexus 7 coming over at Bilateral Warp.

I also managed to take break from the conference and poke around the city a little. Specifically, I took a bus up to San Francisco’s Japanese neighborhood, and paid my first visit the Baby, the Stars Shine Bright boutique. The second I entered, I was immediately thankful the staff was already busy helping another customer as I was absolutely at a loss for words. I had never seen so much Gothic and Sweet Lolita fashion in one spot, and it was really quite breathtaking. I know that at a technical level, houte couture from top line brands is made from fancier materials and with more delicate and intricate work sometimes, but seeing all of those outfits was something otherworldly. It was like I’d stepped into the film Kamikaze Girls, perhaps in part because I sort of had. Thankfully, I regained my sense by the time all was said and done, and between a quick call to Nursehella to take an order from her and the helpful staff at the store, I walked out of there with a lovely mint green, red riding hood-patterned skirt for Nursehella. If I hadn’t gotten a thing from IO, I think that store would’ve made the trip. I may be a tech geek by trade, but I am and always be a sucker for niche Japanese fashion.

However, like the title and intro says, this is part one of the journey. The next part will be my adventures at Anime Expo 2012 in Los Angeles. Considering this is my first time down there since 2007, it’ll be interesting to see what’s changed in 5 years. I already expect to a see a lot of companies missing, but I expect to see some new faces too. Good times.

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