ICFP, Days 2 and 3, and the Haskell Workshop

The last three days of Snowbird have been pretty routine: breakfast, conference, dinner, sleep. I’m not saying the routine’s bad, of course; quite the opposite. Breakfast at the Atrium has been awesome every single day. Who can go past a breakfast buffet of bacon, sausages, poached eggs, (lots of) salmon, pancakes, french toast, fruits, an exhilarating view, and the company of Manuel, Gabi and cute liddle Leon? I found the talks at ICFP pretty good, and the Haskell Workshop talks were great; there wasn’t a single boring talk from the latter. I did skip a couple of talks at ICFP to mingle with the other conference attendees, do a bit of shopping and/or general admin stuff (like confirming flights etc).

There’s a pretty amusing picture which was taken when I skipped one talk to hang out with Don Stewart, Ganesh Sittampalam and Arthur Baars. Since I was the only one who paid to get Internet access at the Cliff Lodge, I of course decided to share my much-loved Internet connection with Don and Arthur. So, half a minute later, there was an ethernet cable running from my Powerbook to Don’s Thinkpad laptop, and another Apple-white Firewire cable running from my laptop to Arthur’s Powerbook. (If you’ve never tried networking via Firewire, it works very well, and even works between Mac OS X and Windows.) To top it all off, Arthur was using my shared Internet connection to talk to his dad back in Holland on a bluetooth headset via Skype. The Internet still amazes me sometimes!

While at the conference, I managed to meet lots of new people: the whole mob from Chalmers University in Sweden (Pete, why didn’t you come along you slacker?), guys from Melbourne Uni and the National University of Singapore, the Oxford/Cambridge/York folks, and of course I met up with some old friendly faces too. My alcohol-loving friends will be proud to hear that I drunk at least one beer every night: from memory, I had a Pyramid Kezefasomething (see last blog entry for details :-), Sapporo, Becks, and two Pilsner Urquells, not necessarily in that order. There was a funnily-titled beer named Polygamy (which came with the amusing subtext of “Why have just one?” printed on its label), but I wasn’t game to try it: funny name, but probably tastes like crappy American. Will have to ask the Swedish folks to see if they liked it or not.

Probably Snowbird’s only small disappointment is that there aren’t very many restaurants around: amongst the four hotels there, there are six or so restaurants. This would be OK if the food was amazing (like the High Plains Lodge at Dinner Plain), but it’s not amazing: the food’s rather average. Not a big problem, but I imagine the food might get a tad boring after a week or more. Apparently lots of people head down to Salt Lake City during the ski season to sample the finer foods that Utah has to offer.

The only real tourist stuff I did was take the tram up to the top of Hidden Peak mountain, along with Don, Arthur, Ganesh, Tom and Duncan. Hidden Peak had an elevation of 11,000 feet, and was completely white with snow when we got there. Crazy Tom was only wearing a t-shirt up there, which made him quite the Man considering it was 20 degrees fahrenheit. Quite a few people also decided to skip some ICFP talks and hike up there during the daytime, which takes around 3 hours, but I wasn’t quite passionate enough about hiking to do that. Check out the photo gallery for some pictures of Hidden Peak, though.

So, overall, Snowbird was fantastic: ICFP’04 was pretty good, the Haskell Workshop was excellent, and breakfast (very important), the accommodation, the social life, and the view were all awesome. I’m so coming back here one day.

P.S. I’ve decided not to post notes about the talks ICFP’04 on my public website, since I don’t really want to offend any of the speakers by saying who was crap ;-). Email me if you’re really interested about the talks.

P.P.S. Adrian, you’ll be glad to know that I asked around about Suddenly 30, and the general consensus was that if, indeed, a guy asked another guy to see it, most people I asked thought that former guy would indeed be unequivocally gay.

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