Dayblogging Ubercon – Day 3

Phew. End of the event.
I had all sorts of connectivity problems with the wireless network in the hotel, so I wasn’t able to keep the postings nearly as up to date as I had planned. It was doubly troubling because we used the wireless services for credit card processing as well. Not good.
I really believe that hotels are rapidly getting more and more out of touch with reality. This is a mediocre hotel in not the most scenic area (Secaucus, NJ). I’d gotten used to dealing with some of the insanity hotels try to pull by working with the Arisia folks, but the Park Plaza is a far ritzier, far -larger- hotel than the Crowne Plaza. Unfortunately, hotels seems to be in the mindset that the reason they’re not makign enough money off services is that they’re not charging enough. So, charge more!
We’ve seen this with $4.00 hot dogs and $35 continental breakfasts, but now it’s escalated to $150 per day per computer, per room! wireless internet access. This is only in the function rooms (such as the ballroom etc) – the room access, on a hardwire connection, is $9.95 for a week of access.
The hotel then decided that serving lunch to everyone in the lobby would be a good idea. At $3.00 for a bagel (cold), and $3.50 for a mediocre soda, they were suprised when folks would actually walk across the street and get a muffin and soda for $1.50.
If their rates were something tolerable, they’d do a heck of a lot of business, but I guess they dont’ just think that way. I expect the next thing they’ll do is make their corkage rules even more fascist, and dictate you can have no food in the hotel other than what they serve. (We were regularly getting bagfulls of Wendy’s cheeseburgers, because the cheeseburgers the hotel were offering were $4.00 and terrible).
Ah well, the event otherwise has gone well. The LAN was managed by NJLP (New Jersey Lan Party), who did a great job. Much Unreal Tournament, Warcraft, Half-Life Counterstrike, and some other new bits. I’m still a fan of the UT2004 Onslaught, which is a team oriented game involving huge outdoor settings and outstanding vehicles. The balance between all the potential weapons, vehicles, and locations is excellent.
I did play a little Warcraft III as well (played Frozen Throne) – that’s a mighty nice game, I’m apparently behind the curve, still considering Neverwinter Nights and Red Alert 2 as the ‘top games i need to play more’.
I think it’s time to get Cedega running on the laptop. Since I got OpenGL running at speed on ‘hunter’, I can consider doing some decent gaming.
The board games got me intrigued again too. I’ve heard good things about Carracasonne, and of course the venerable Settlers of Catan – both of which I’ve never played (really!). I also saw an updated version of Risk (like, ‘Risk 2150’ or something like that). Looks fairly post-apocalyptic but similar bent. Global armies, yaddayadda.
I’m pretty toasty, the car is all packed up, and I’m just doing some gaming before hitting the road heading for my clients site in Pennington. I’ll be there for 3-4 days working on my Java project, expect more geeky yammerings as the week moves on.

Dave Shevett

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A wandering geek. Toys, shiny things, pursuits and distractions.

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2 thoughts on “Dayblogging Ubercon – Day 3

  1. *One* of these years I’ll make it to Ubercon…
    Interestingly enough, the alt.polycon system of including a large meal as part of the cost of admission usually keeps the hotel from otherwise strangling the con. Admittedly this can only work with smaller cons.
    I’m beginning to think that many hotels really don’t want cons, for all that they fill up otherwise-empty rooms.
    (Oh, and that’s Risk 2210. No, I haven’t played it either)

  2. $150 per day per computer, per room! wireless internet access.
    From what I hear from my coworker who’s also our meeting planner, that’s not particularly unusual. Probably doesn’t hurt to try bargaining, like asking to have the fees reduced or taken off in return for guaranteeing a certain (large-ish) number of rooms for the event. Having a good meeting planner on board can make a world of difference, from my observations. (Not to say there wasn’t one here, I have zero idea of what sort of staff the con has.)

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