Google I/O 2011: No love for Academia?

2 February, 2011 § 3 Comments

Reading blogs on the web would make one believe that attendees of last year’s Google I/O conference are allowed to register January 31, a week before general registration opens.

Yet a couple days ago I received an email telling me to “mark my calendar for February 7th, when general registration will open.” ┬áLast year I attended the conference using the Academia discount, and as far as I can tell, the Academia discount is the reason why there is no preference.

Why isn’t Google showing appreciation to their peers in academia?

Using Google Alerts for the inside scoop on Google I/O

23 January, 2011 § 1 Comment

Just a couple weeks ago I wrote a post on how to get the inside scoop on Google I/O. I listed a couple Twitter accounts to follow and also explained how to set up a Google Alert for details about conference registration.

Since setting up the Google Alert on January 1st, I gotten twenty-six alerts. Some have been interesting, most have been worthless, but one of them was great! It appears that Google indexed the preregistration page, and sent me an alert saying so.

While this alert didn’t allow me to register earlier than anybody else, I was able to know that registration was coming soon before I saw it on any other blogs.

Tips for traveling to Google I/O 2011

14 January, 2011 § 1 Comment

Are you planning on attending Google I/O 2011? The event is now less than four months from today and registration is likely to open next week.

San Francisco is the 12th most populous city in the United States, and offers some great tourist attractions to see during your visit. After attending the conference and sight-seeing, you’ll need a place to rest your feet.

As part of the conference, Google will offer a discounted hotel rate. Last year the Marriot San Francisco Marquis hotel sold out its discounted rooms by April. Of course, the hotel route isn’t the only way to travel.

San Francisco is home to many hostels that offer practical and convenient living while attending the conference. Last year I stayed at Pacific Tradewinds Backpacker Hostel. The hostel was really close, only 10 blocks walking distance from the conference. This was my first time staying in a hostel and it will not be my last.

San Francisco also offers more than 1,100 places for rent through airbnb. I just used airbnb on my recent trip to New York and it worked out beautifully. Airbnb allows you to rent entire homes/apartments, private rooms, shared rooms, and even couches. This provides price points for all travelers, and the feedback system gives both parties safety.

There are also websites similar to airbnb, such as HomeAway and CouchSurfing. HomeAway uses the same model as airbnb, while CouchSurfing is generally free housing.

On my first trip with airbnb…

6 January, 2011 § 3 Comments

Over the holidays I took a four day vacation with my girlfriend to New York City and used airbnb to book the trip. I had heard about airbnb through Hacker News and thought it sounded interesting. We stayed at “The Stuydio 2″ in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, about a 25-minute subway ride from Manhattan.

At first we were a little apprehensive, but the end result was great. It can be very relaxing to stay in a hotel, but there are some things that are missed by the normal hotel stay.

First of all, we had a kitchen right in our apartment. Eating breakfast before we went out saved a lot of money and reduced some stress from our mornings.

The second perk was free parking. We were able to park right in front of the apartment for free as opposed to our previous stay in Long Island City where parking was $20/night.

The third perk (of many) is the feedback we recieved when we got home from our trip. Like eBay, airbnb allows travelers and their hosts to leave feedback for each other. I’m a big fan of getting feedback so that I can continously improve. I now have positive feedback attached to my name for my next stay, and I was able to give positive feedback to our host. This sharing of feedback is great for the whole community, and will allow a future host of mine to know that I am a clean and respectful guest.

Have you used airbnb, CouchSurfing, or any other similar website before? What were your experiences? How do you feel about traveler feedback?

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