Seriously. Do I even have to say #bestmeetupever? It totally was the best! Kidding aside, it was a fantastic weekend and I have a great review of it by a forum member. I think it is best to let Phil explain.
Even if you don’t live close to Indianapolis; participating in a Meet-Up from UK or mainland Europe is completely do-able as I proved this weekend. Flying to and from Indianapolis from Norwich in England was smooth, efficient (11 hours) and affordable (~£600). Several US based participants travelled far longer than my easy straight forward journey.
Having enjoyed and learned so much from HGG/HSS for several years; attending a Meet-Up had been an aspiration for ages. But until this year, joining one had always seemed impractical.
In the forums I’ve always lurked more than posted, but the few times I have left voice mails or messages I’ve been impressed with the prompt well thought out responses and spirit of our community.
Meet-Up 2016 started with an ice-breaker on Friday evening where we all met each other in advance of the main event on Saturday. Our tour of Dave’s HSS HQ, where we saw an impressive home IT system, was inspirational and made me realise how limited my home set up is. Afterwards we went to Fry’s where we geeked out in an amazing huge one stop shop “boy’s toys” supermarket. Our tasty casual burger and beer dinner together rounded the introductions and evening off so well. Meeting Dave and Jim was a highlight; albeit unusual, as I felt as if I knew them both but of course they knew nothing of me.
Saturday’s main Meet Up in the Microsoft Indianapolis training room completely met my expectations. Dave, aided by Jim, cleverly scheduled a series of informal periods and organised topical presentations. Our breakfast coffee with pastries, catered bbq lunch and afternoon ice-cream bar were tasty and enjoyed by all of us. Big appreciations to Microsoft for making the venue available to us. Several individuals and companies generously donated gear for a substantial give-away at the end of the day. Big thanks to Synology, Securifi, Home8, Insteon, Silicon Dust, Kevin Schoonover, Alan Eisen, Jim Shoemaker, John Aydellote, Dewain Robinson. Special thanks to itGeeks who donated the big prize of a three pack of Lumas which I was lucky enough to win. I also won a completely misnamed “box of crap” donated by Kevin Schoonover, which is full of interesting stuff. Afterwards we descended on mass to the nearby Microsoft Store where the staff made us welcome and several of us bought some tasty kit. Our dinner together in a nearby Irish Bar rounded off the day.
This morning we enjoyed a farewell breakfast in a rural Waffle House and said our goodbyes. This particular Waffle House personified my mental model of a USA diner complete with booths and bar to eat at.
Today I’ve explored downtown Indianapolis where I needed to buy a suitcase to bring home all my shopping and kit I’d won.
All of you who have thought about attending a Meet-Up; I urge you to take action and book a ticket next year. You won’t regret it.
Special thanks and well done to Dave for organising Meet-Up 2016 for us to all enjoy.
Chris Compton was shooting 360 video all day and brought some awesome give away items. Check out some of the 360 video here. I also have a few photos that I took and will pursue attendee photos to show you as well.
Featured photo by Vinylfreak