april 9-11, 1998: zürich - bombay - hong kong - cairns - brisbane
philipp and i met at the airport zürich at 18:00. at check in, we were told that swissair had upgraded our economy class tickets to business class as an "easter present". this means we fly in the upper deck of the boeing 747 in a very convenient environment. we certainly liked and enjoyed that very much. we left zürich shortly after 21:00. 7.5 hours later we made a short stop over in bombay, india. only 75 minutes later, we were in the air again on
our way to hong kong, on the same plane, but with a different crew. we had the opportunity to visit with the crew in the cockpit for a while. we did not only watch some oncoming planes below us, but we also learned that the body of the jumbo jet gets heated up from -50 degree C to -6 degree C due to the enormous friction of the air. the flight to hong kong took another 4.5 hours. when we landed, it was 17:00 local time. shortly after 20:00, we left hong kong on board of a quantas boeing 767 which
finally took us to brisbane with another stop over in cairns. we arrived at our final destination around 8:15 local time. when we got out of the plane, it was about 27 hours since we left zürich, this was quite a journey !
april 12, 1998: brisbane
it's close to 30°C outside and my GPS reports latitude S 27° 28.6' / longitude E 153° 1' / altitude 80 m there is no doubt: this is brisbane ! today we tried to get adjusted to the local environment and habits. activities included: breakfast buffet, sightseeing, swimming at the beautiful, artificial sand beach, exercise in the gym room and diner. i also saw mr. jean-françois abramatic
from INRIA sitting in a nice beach restaurant, so i guess i'm at the right place for the oncoming converence.
april 13, 1998: brisbane
today, i saw dave raggett, the author of the HTML specifications - including the latest HTML V4.0 - at the breakfast buffet. so the important people seem to come in. our bodies have adapted quite well to the 8 hours time shift so we decided to do some more extensive sightseeing. we boarded the "city cat", a catamaran that runs on the brisbane river zick-zacking its way from one end of the city to the
other. first we rode upstream to the terminal station at the university of queensland. we stayed on board and drove downstream do the other end of the route near the harbor. on the way back to the center of the city, we disembarked the cat at the financial district and visited some places of interest by foot. after having strolled through the botanical garden, we took another boat across the river back to the south banks. after all this travelling, there was only one place to be: the swimming pool. later
on, we had diner and got ready for the first day of the conference tomorrow: the tutorials.
general comment no 1: HTML code of the WWW7 website:
i do appreciate the fact that they provide frameless versions of the web pages. pages without frames are much easier to download for local copies. however, i am very concerned about the quality of the HTML code. as an example, the page tutselections.htm produced with Microsoft FrontPage 2.0 is a typical example of bad HTML code. it starts with the fact that the title "boo" is quite meaningless. in addition and more important,
this document is 249 kB in size, a huge document with a lot of useless coding in it. for example, my entry looks like this:
for each and every field in this table, the same attributes for the font and the alignments are defined over and over again, plus a large definition for the date format. the real information is only a small fraction of the whole document. a waste of resources, especially network bandwidth. this entry could be reduced from 516 bytes to 116 bytes without loosing any information at all:
i wonder if we will see better HTML code next year, when softquad is one of the hosts of the 8th WWW conference.
general comment no 2: Internet cafe:
the Internet cafe - sponsored by Sun Microcomputer - was supposed to open in the evening of april 14. but even at april 15 noon, not a single workstation was up and running. it is well known that the Sun goes down every day, but here in brisbane the Sun doesn't even raise. this is the poorest performance of a connectivity provider i have experienced ever - hopefully they find a real networking company for WWW8 ...
the full day tutorial i attended today was titled "a comprehensive introduction to XML". i learned what the basic features of the eXtensible Markup Language are, such as the ability to define ones own declarations and attributes, having links with multiple targets and multiple directions etc. details can be found in a separate document. unfortunately, the tutorials were not held at the beautiful convention center where everything had been under one roof, but they
took place on the campus of the Queensland University of Technology (QUT). the sessions were held in different buildings and lunch was served outdoors. it was raining cats and dogs all day long, so everyone was soaked by the end of the day, even though the tables were covered with tents. there certainly is a difference between queensland and california !
opening session: i guess there were approximately 1000-1200 attendees.
the opening ceremony started with three dances by aborigines: a welcome dance, a fishing dance and a farewell dance. it was followed by a wonderful performance of australian singers backed up by a chorus.
in his welcome message, the hon david watson of the state government queensland, said:
it shall become possible to conduct business with the government 24h electronically
every school will be connected to the Internet by the end of the year
the conference was then officially opened by his excellency the honourable sir william deane, governor-general of the commonwealth of australia, who
mentioned that attendees came from 34 different countries
expressed a lot of concerns about abuse of the web
first keynote by tim berners lee, director of the W3C:
his message: evolvability ("futureproof")
HTML future: transition to XML
partial understanding is sufficient most of the time
at the end of the opening session, the southern cross university gave a doctor title to tim !
second keynote: john patrick, VP IBM Internet technologies this was his third talk at a WWW conference.
his visions include:
connectivity everywhere, in the office, at home, in the car, at the kiosk
the individual will set the schedule, doing business at any time they like
web-centric marketing will become important in the future
W3C session stream: this stream of presentations started with an overview of the W3C activities since the last conference. it was followed by a report of the recent work done in the architectural domain, including HTTP-NG, Jigsaw and SMIL - please find the details here.
distributed diner: because there was probably no restaurant in brisbane large enough to accommodate all participants, the conference diner took place in about ten different locations. it turned out that the italian restaurant we have chosen was quite nice and we enjoyed the company at our table very much.
W3C session stream: overview of the work done in the user interface domain. there was also an interesting and entertaining speech by cathy marshall about reading, annotation, gathering and collaboration on and beyond the web.
world record attempt for the world's largest Internet cafe: approximately 100 Sun workstations and more than 70 people with notebooks - including me - set a record for the world's largest Internet cafe (see the ETHZ/UNIZH delegates on the very right in the 4th row). after a lot of hassles, we ended up with 172 simultaneous connections to the web.