A large random list of personal suggestions to consider in preparation for Autodesk University 2009.
- Location of Autodesk University 2009
Mandalay Bay Resort And Casino Las Vegas
3950 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas 89119, Nevada, United States
Link to Mandalay Bay Casino Floor Map
My AU 2009 Map
View AU 2009 Map in a larger map
- Print your AU schedule and place a digital copy on your mobile device before you go.
- Make a list of contacts with cell phone numbers so you can find people at AU. You can also arrange a common place to meetup at like the Shark Reef display.
- Grab a shuttle or cab from the airport to the Mandalay Bay, or the hotel you are staying. Cab should be around $20 or a shuttle should be less than $10.
- Autodesk University 2009 expected weather: Be prepared for chilly nights and a full moon to howl at with lows in the 40's and highs in the 50's. There are palm trees and tropical plants but don't let that fool you into thinking this is tropical weather in Las Vegas in the winter. This is not pool and sunbathing weather unless you are a polar bear, so be prepared.
- There was snow in Las Vegas last year right after Autodesk University.
- For first time visitors to the United States, Vegas is not representative of the United States in general. I always get a few shocked foreign attendees that have never been to the US, and their first stop is Vegas. They come away speechless and thinking all Americans do is smoke, drink, gamble and hand picture cards out on the strip. please try to get away from Las Vegas and visit more normal cities while visiting the US to get the full picture.
- Refer to Las Vegas as “Vegas”.
- There is the Mandalay Bay Tram that runs from Mandalay Bay past the Luxor, to the Excalibur for free. The Las Vegas Monorail runs from the MGM Grand down the strip to the Sahara which is near the Venetian and costs $5.
- Carry a laptop, netbook, smart phone, or paper and pen to take notes during the class sessions. Keep a close eye on all your belongings and do not just set them down as they could walk away fast. Remember that many of the presentations will be online as well as notes there so you do not need to write every word down from a session just your top items.
- Take good notes so you can share your newly gained wisdom with coworkers, friends, family, user groups, or pets who were not lucky enough to attend AU. What happens in Vegas, does not have to stay in Vegas.
- If you want to be the smartest person in the group, place the Autodesk product documentation/manuals/guides on your iPhone or other mobile device for fast viewing and searching. The PDFs of the product documentation are included on many Autodesk product DVDs.
- Run antivirus and firewall on your computer if using the free wireless. I know it goes without saying, but a few years back some were upset that they got a virus from the free wireless cloud because they did not have antivirus software.
- Take a good amount of business cards to give out. When you receive a card write a note on the back about the discussion or topic so you can remember who was who and the topic for follow up after AU. There is a cool iphone app that can take pictures of business cards and convert them to contacts. See Robin’s Autodesk University Prep 1.05 – Snap, Business Cards to iPhone
- Meet and network with new people! This is a prime opportunity to expand your network of peers and friends.
- Don't bring only jeans and tennis shoes and expect to get into some of the local clubs or events. Many of the clubs have a policy of “No hats, no tennis shoes, no baggy or torn jeans”. A pair of casual dress pans like Dockers, button up shirt, and casual dress shoes will be perfect. They will not accept the tee-shirt with the image of a tuxedo. ;-)
- You DO NOT have to drink, smoke, or gamble when in Vegas.
- Bring antihistamines, eye drops, and nose spray as the air is really dry and you may end up with dry eyes and sinus problems. The smoke in some areas of the casinos does not help the situation either. Another suggestion for the dry air is lip balm and some skin lotion.
- Carry a bottle of water with you so you don't shrivel like a prune from the dry air.
- Consider aspirin, ibuprofen etc for any unplanned headaches or hangovers. Buying small items like aspirin in the hotel can be much pricier than bringing your own.
- Bring comfortable shoes as there is plenty of walking you will be doing between events, hotels, and classes.
- Know the location of the closest coffee shop to be wide awake for all the great classes and sessions. I have the free Starbucks iPhone app to guide me.
- Don't forget to take a shower and change clothes every day as you can get smelly with all the exercise between classes, extreme brain exercise, and copious socializing.
- Bring some breath mints. You will be speaking with a lot of people and the last thing you want is to leave a stinky breath as their lasting memory of you. If you find yourself speaking with a stinky breath attendee, offer them a mint.
- Every casino is designed using human psychology in mind to keep you unaware of the time and logic, so carry a watch or phone to keep track of time and hotel map to know where you are. The carpets, walls, signs, and just about everything is designed to confuse your senses and draw you into gambling areas even the carpets in many locations have designs that if you follow them you will end up spinning circles around slot machines.
- Autodesk University Blog http://au.autodesk.com/
- AUGI Blog http://augi.typepad.com/
- AU Blog Network: http://au.autodesk.com/?nd=blaug_network
- My Blog http://autodesk.blogs.com/between_the_lines/
- Always tag content such as blog posts, Tweets, photos, etc from AU with #AU2009. This way you can follow the aggregated stream of the event from everyone on Twitter or from the web using a site like Twitterfall for #AU2009, or just the Twitter results http://twitter.com/search?q=AU2009
- Follow AU on Twitter:
- Public Google Wave for AU 2009 (you must have a Google Wave preview account to participate). I am still on the fence about the value of Google Wave as it still feels like information overload and more like a free form Google document online.
- I am planning some fun Social Media events at AU like a TweetMob and a TweetCaching experiment giving away goodies to my Twitter followers.
- If you want a photo of the famous Welcome to Las Vegas sign located near to the Mandalay Bay, please be careful crossing the road as there is fast and heavy traffic that will not stop for a pedestrian.
- I have created a public Flickr group for AU2009 for sharing photos.(http://www.flickr.com/groups/au2009/) just like the previous public groups for AU 2008 and AU 2007. Flickr is free. Anyone is welcome to add AU2009 photos to the Flickr group as long as they are AU 2009 related and G rated only. You can get a free Flickr account if you wish to share photos with others or even keep them private if you prefer. It is even better if you can geotag your photos with their locations which Flickr allows you to do or if you have a GPS software to do this.
- My Flickr Photostream http://www.flickr.com/photos/btl/
- My Autodesk University 2008 Shutterbug event is full.
- Every year there is the unofficial AU lounge hangout for conversations, meeting people, swapping stories, and general laid back gathering place. We have done this for years back to the first AU in Vegas like the Betty Boop in the MGM Grand. This year at the Mandalay Bay I think a nice casual lounge with no cover charge would be the Eyecandy Sound Lounge. I just spoke with the concierge and they said the Eyecandy is a great location especially for computer geeks and the dress code is not strictly enforced. There is also the Orchid. As for the hot spot clubs in the Mandalay Bay there is an AU favorite of the Rum Jungle, and the new Mix Lounge atop THEhotel.
- Attending Autodesk University and a reptile lover? There is a reptile show in Las Vegas the weekend following http://www.lasvegasreptileshow.com/. I think after a week in Las Vegas with little sleep and the dry air we may all look reptilian by the end of the week.
- If you got this far you either have great concentration skills, are bored, or had your Ritalin.
- Remember to put your seat in the upright position and your tray tables up before takeoff and landing.
Finally have a great time at Autodesk University as there will be thousands of the industry top people in attendance.
Hope to see you at AU,