Legal Alien: A Scotsman in Montreal

Guess who's back?

Back home and back at work despite only getting back to my house about 9 hours ago - what a trooper! Unfortunately my bag didn't make it - I'm pretty sure it is stuck at Milan airport. To be honest, I didn't really expect it to make it, Alitalia were sort of on strike (some of them were, some weren't) and as my connection was quite tight I didn't think it would make it. Knowing this, I cunningly put some stuff I would need (contact lens case soln etc) in my hand luggage. Of course, last night I realised I had forgotten about toothbrush and toothpaste but luckily I've built up enough of those freebies you get from overnight flights to not go completely without.

What I am completely out of though is food, so no breakfast for me this morning. Technically I did have some muesli but no milk and the bread was mouldy - not uncoincidentally they were both a week old! Seriously, I think the house might fall apart if I wasn't there.

Ah yes, the conference. It was pretty tough. Not only was I surrounded by all the world's experts in a field, who all know each other and converse on a different level of technical detail which makes it daunting enough to speak to them or join in conversations, but they never stop talking about work. Breakfast was at 7h30, and they'd talk work, then a couple of hours of presentations, coffee break and more talking about work, more talks then lunch, where talk at the table is about work. And so on. It was pretty intense.

Even on the 'cultural trips', of which I shall post pictures soon, you could hear the technical discussions echoing back and forth down the coach. And the crowning example of this was that the workshop was officially scheduled to finish at 3pm on Friday afternoon - but cos some of the talks overran they shifted a roundtable to the end (seriously, for professionals, some of them suck at giving presentations; if you have a max of 3 minutes to talk, you cannot try and show 8 Powerpoint slides!!!). Attendance was entirely voluntary, but cos it was electronics it was pretty relevant to me. So, instead of sunning myself on the beach, I spent the next 2 hours of "free time" indoors listening to people debate the merits of discrete controllers versus ASICs.