Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Take Me Out To The Ballgame ...

The SIGCSE community works in many ways, some not so "conventional" -- for example, Jeff Salvage, CS professor at Drexel University and SIGCSE attendee, asked me to participate in his recent marriage proposal to his girlfriend Jen. The plot involved a trip to Yankee Stadium in NYC where I would present myself as Brian Cashman, a member of the Yankee's Front Office. I would invite Jen, not really a Yankee's fan, to become a true member of the franchise/family and offer her a Yankee's cap (that would contain the ring) -- I am not making this up.

Well, I arrived at Yankee Stadium early on WED, August 15, and stood in line for Monument Park inside the Stadium. The line was so long that I could not make it to the actual proposal, so Jeff went ahead without me -- thanks goodness, I was a little nervous handling the ring.

So, you may be asking, did Jen accept Jeff's proposal? Or was it a long ride home to Philly? I believe the photo provide a clue :-).

Jeff (no sunglasses) and Jen, with Jamie (sunglasses) and me.

For the record, Yankees lost to the Orioles 4-3 in ten innings (I stayed for seven).

Do you have a SIGCSE adventure? Please feel encouraged to post your SIGCSE story!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Submissions Now Open

Recently, "Team SIGCSE 2008" has been working to again provide the online submission system for proposals. Special thanks go out to John Dooley and Henry Walker for changes that make it easier to generate proceedings and programs directly from materials submitted to the DB. Also, kudos to Program Chairs Sue Fitzgerald and Mark Guzdial for developing reviewer guidance in hopes of improving the entire review process, especially since each is involved in the ICER 2007 conference in Atlanta in September (also, they both have "z"'s in their last names, making it easier to compose email to them :-).

Now that we have a better sense of the space available in Portland, we are putting together the pre-conference activities. For example, the Doctoral Consortium will again provide opportunities for our future CS educators. Thanks to Josh Tenenberg and Donald Joyce for their work now and "yet to come." We hope to have other announcements of associated activities in subsequent posts.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Visiting Portland in Aug 2007

First, welcome to my Blog for SIGCSE 2008, I am very excited about the conference, and after visiting Portland, OR this week my level of enthusiasm has increased -- exponentially (bad for algorithms, good for conferences :-).

The weather in Portland was cool relative to my hometown of Haverford, outside of Philadelphia (temps in the mid-90's -- yikes). My co-chair Susan Rodger met me at the Portland Hilton, and away we went all over town, visiting the people from POVA, the Oregon Convention Center (OCC), the Hilton, The Inn at the Convention Center (guess where that's located???), and the Red Lion. I can say with confidence that Portland is ready, and very accommodating, especially to ACM conferences.

Downtown Portland is full of life, including shops, an eclectic mix of people and culture, and (of course) restaurants -- please visit the SIGCSE 2008 website, eventually Susan and I will post some of the great restaurants we "tested" for your benefit ;-).

Another great feature is public transportation in Portland -- it's only $2 from the airport to any of the hotels and the OCC on the MAX, the city's light rail. Better yet, the MAX is free once in town between any of the hotels and the OCC, as well as most of Portland. People just jump on, ride and "de-MAX" to get around. It is so successful that Portland is expanding it yet again -- fortunately the construction does not impede getting around.

Susan and I each jogged/walked the park along the Willamette River and across the bridges -- it is a nice route that people may want to try -- there are also nice shops and a harbor at the south end of the town, near the OMSI.

My final comment (for now) is that Portland is a wireless city. As it was a pleasant day today, I sat for about an hour in Pioneer Park using the public free WiFi -- you have a few ads and medium bandwidth, but certainly useful. Furthermore, the Portland Airport (PDX) is wireless, with workstations and coffee bars with power (I am "blogging" from a coffee station now).

Until next time, I encourage all to consider proposals for the conference, the first wave of submissions (papers, workshops, panels, special sessions) are due Sep 7, 2007 -- it's sooner than you think!