A Room With a View

I’ve just arrived at the Crowne Plaza NEC Birmingham, ready for a meeting with Paul Miller at Talis first thing tomorrow morning, followed by the SirsiDynix Executive Roadshow 2006.

Travelling to Birmingham is never straightforward — today, due to a broken down train, they had to cram two sets of passengers onto a single train.

The Crowne Plaza is officially located in the middle of nowhere, about a mile from the National Exhibition Centre.  Just in case there’s anyone reading this who’s planning to arrive tomorrow via train — get off at Birmingham International, walk straight through the NEC (you’ll see the occasional sign for the Plaza), and when you exit the NEC by the bus stops, you’ll be able to see the Plaza in the distance.  The entrance to the hotel is actually on the other side, so you’ll need to skirt around the edge of the building.

I have a room with a view, but unfortunately it’s a view of a dull car park…

…and what is it with hotels and light switches?  I seem to remember it took Bryony and me about 10 minutes to figure out how to switch the lights on in our hotel room at CODI 2005, and it took me even longer today. 

When I walked into the room, none of the light switches would work.  So, I read the guest information booklet twice (standing by the window as the light of the day faded), but there were no tips in there.  Hmmmmm – should I swallow my pride and ring up the reception desk?

“Hi – Room 149 here… I have a question for you… How do I turn the lights on?!?”

Eventually I noticed that there was a strange box, hidden away in the shadows on the wall near the door.  It says “TESA” on it and, according to Google and the Acronym Attic, TESA can stand for:

  • Texas Educational Secretaries Association
  • Texas Elks State Association
  • The Endangered Species Act
  • Teacher Education Student Association
  • Theater Environmental Situational Awareness
  • Testicular Epididymal Sperm Aspiration

…not much help there, although Google Images has an amusing picture that seems to be someone gaffa taped to a wall.  Sadly, I couldn’t get the full sized version (http://www.pocsmadar.hu/miazmas/tesa.jpg) to load.

Anyway, on closer inspection, the box has a credit card sized slot in it… (gears begin to grind)… and my room door key is shaped like a credit card… eureka!

  1. JasonW said:

    Normally I’d say that a dull car park would be an improvement on Huddersfield and district – but a dull Brummy car park, I think not.

    You’ll be pleased to know it was chucking it down as I passed by Huddersfield on the M62 this afternoon.

  2. I’d like to think that the rain was just following you ;-D

    Cheers to Neil (aka PyramidHead) for chauffeuring me to the nearest curry house. If anyone is passing through the Sheldon (B26 3JR) area, I can thoroughly recommend the Titash International Tandoori Restaurant — easily the best curry I’ve had since my last trip to the Kashmir in Bradford!

  3. Love your story about trying to turn on the lights in the hotel. The same is true of the Hilton at the NEC, which is why I always carry a few extra room keycards from other hotels when I travel. Those little boxes don’t seem to care whether the card you stick in there belongs to that hotel or not.

  4. Steve Benson said:

    Dave, my manager is going to the Roadshow in Melbourne in a couple of weeks time. I hope you will be blogging the proceedings so we can get an idea of what SirsiDynix will be covering.

    We’ve had a lot of fun (not) with the upgrade to HIP4 (otherwise known as the great leap backwards) and aren’t looking forward to Horizon8 if its going to be more of the same. Getting advance warning of what to expect is a good thing.

    Will you be quizzing the SirsiDynix techies about whether the things you’ve been doing with HIP will be doable with HIP4?


  5. Hi Steve

    I hope to blog about the Roadshow later on today. SD didn’t provide any wireless access for the event, and the hotel prices for a single day of internet access were double what I pay for a month’s broadband access at home :-S

    It was worth going to get the product updates from Steve Neilsen and to see Stephen Abram’s thought provoking presentation. Plus, it was a good opportunity to meet some of the Unicorn users for the first time!

    Both Stephen and Pat Sommers included Web/Library 2.0 in their presentations. However, I was left unsure as to what extent some of the Web 2.0 ideas are actually influencing current & future developments.

    From what I’ve learned so far about HIP4, most of the hacks & tweaks should be doable as you’ve still got access to the XSL.

    HIP 4.11 should be available soon, so it’ll be interesting to see what that fixes — people on the mailing list are saying that HIP 4 still seems to be missing a lot of basic functionality (e.g. linkable subject headings in the full bib page).

    What I’m less sure about is getting access to the XML that HIP generates, which I’m currently using for the REST and OpenSearch interfaces.

  6. Cool – the “gaffa tape” picture is loading now! Just in case anyone still can’t see it, I’ve mirrored it.

  7. This nonsense about paying for wi-fi at a convention must be stopped. Next time anyone asks us for our opinions, let’s say “Library conferences by their very nature demand free wi-fi. The attendees are relatively savvy yet relatively poor. Please don’t ask me to go to a conference in a place that treats my wallet like a vampire’s victim.”

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