3:25 am

Adobe MAX Europe in Milan

I took a three-day holiday from teaching to go to Milan for Adobe MAX Europe: I was feeling the need to reconnect with my techie roots.

I had an early morning flight on Sunday, and I was amazed at how deserted the airport was:

There were also scads of posters announcing the upcoming Czech presidency of the European Union:

I knew that the sugar cube is a Czech invention (what, you didn’t know that?), but I was a little baffled that this apparently represents the Czech view of their greatest contribution to European civilization. Turns out that this sugary ad campaign has stirred a little controversy, mainly because of its slogan. "To vám osladím" translates literally as "I’ll make things sweeter for you", but is more often used in a negative sense to mean "I’ll make your life hell".

The models in these two posters are chemist Antonín Holý and architect Eva Jiřičná. There’s also a amusing TV commercial featuring Mr. Holý, Ms. Jiřičná, and the other "Faces of the Presidency".

Playing Tourist in Milan

Because it had been such an early flight, I was checked in to my hotel by 10 AM, so I had time to play tourist. I headed first for the Piazza Duomo. The Duomo (Cathedral) itself is the most striking structure on the square:

Because it is so wide relative to its height, from a distance it looked smaller than it is, but close up it is indeed huge.
One of the doors:

I arrived at the Duomo in time for 11 AM Mass, which was celebrated according to the Ambrosian rite. This change in rite was disorienting, since it was in Italian (of course), and so I couldn’t follow all of what was going on. According to the cathedral’s website, the Church in Milan defines as one of its essential tasks the preserving and defending the Ambrosian ritual. I had to turn to Wikipedia to find this description of the differences between the Ambrosian and Roman rites.

Besides the Duomo, the Piazza also features a statue of Vittorio Emmanuel (first king of the unified Italy):

The Galleria Vittorio Emmanuel adjoins the Piazza Duomo. Since I’m not a recreational shopper, I wasn’t all that interested in the shops, but I did admire the looks of it:

And what must surely be one of the classiest homes for a McDonalds:

I don’t remember which church this was: I just happened across it while wandering through the streets and liked it.

The afternoon I spent at the Castello Sforzesco. It hadn’t sounded all that interesting, so I didn’t set aside a lot of time for visiting it, which was a mistake. It is home to about a dozen separate museums and exhibitions, and in the four hours I had before it closed, I was able to visit only 6. I particularly liked Musuem of Ancient Art, although the Pinacoteca is probably the most famous.

The Castello from the street:

And an approach to the courtyard:

To the right as I came in:

To the left:

And looking back the way I came in:

There’s even a statue of St. John of Nepomuk in the courtyard, which made me feel quite at home:

The Conference Itself

Sunday afternoon, I dutifully presented myself at Registration to pick up my badge and other materials, and snooped around the convention center a little. They were still getting set up:

The conference, which began on Monday, didn’t really lend itself to pictures. It was very Flash/Flex-heavy, which was fine, because that was what I was most interested in. I picked up a lot of useful hints and came away with some new ideas: now I just need to find time to implement them! I also collected a bunch of business cards, just in case I decide to go back to web development in earnest. (Yes, teaching is getting a little old by now.)

The day two keynote was fun, although the "Men in Black" theme was a little forced at times. But I’m easily amused.

Unfortunately, I forgot the charger for my cell phone. However, the folks at the Nokia booth were very kind about recharging it for me. I think all tech conferences should have a collection of cell phone rechargers hanging around. And spare USB cables, too.

I liked the Adobe bus:

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