Tuesday at ESC

So as I mentioned last week, I skipped out on class Tuesday and decided to drive back down to San Jose for the day to attend the Embedded Systems Conference.  Needless to say, the day went better than I ever imagined.

Before I showed up at the convention center, I decided to stop at the classic Donut Wheel in Cupertino to get breakfast.  This turned out to pay off in folds, since I happened to get a few too many donuts, so when some random guy sits down next to me waiting for the keynote lecture hall to open, I offered him a donut.  Turns out that this random guy just happened to be Chris Gammell, who's post last week mentioning the conference was the entire reason I was there!

Sitting next to Chris Gammell listening to The Woz talk about inspiring engineers and teaching our children.

This was Chris' first time in the Silicon Valley, so I tried to lend myself helpful as a native throughout the day, with the added advantage that he introduced me to other big names like Jeff Keyzer, Jeri Ellsworth, and Grant Imahara.  Chris also pointed out that I could upgrade to a press badge with him, which got me free meals and all-access at the convention.

Being very excited about my MEDIA conference badge.
 My free lunch at ESC which wasn't worth the paper the lunch coupon was printed on.
Having a real lunch with Chris and Jeff at St Johns.  Of course, we were there because it was Tri-tip Tuesday.

I did try and spend as much time on the convention floor meeting the industry folks, as you do at conferences like this.  It was just so many hours of being completely overwhelmed with information, but very informative getting to talk to sales people at all the companies like TI, Atmel, ST, and on and on.  Talking to people throughout the day, two things really kind of surprised me:
  • People have actually heard of my work.  I'd say something like 50-60% of the people I talked to had seen or heard something of at least one of my recent projects, like the MSP430 LCD clock, or the Nixie Thermometer.
  • People were particularly excited that I'm doing work with the TI Launchpad.  All day people were complaining that for the amount of buzz and popularity the Launchpad has garnered for the last year, there have been relatively few impressive projects built on it. I assured them I'm working to correct this as much as possible.
Of course, I tried to get as much useful swag during the day as I could, since booths were giving away whole development kits, and I'm a poor college student who can't afford dropping money on any these days.
Complementary STM32L-Discovery dev kit.  Thanks ST!
Texas Instrument's MSP430G2452 vending machine.  Really drove home how low cost their value line parts are.

Of course, when the day at the convention was finishing up, Jeri had had the forethought to tweet a few days ago to meet up at Flames and to bring our hacks to share.  I didn't happen to have anything these days that was portable (all still breadboarded), but showed up anyways and had a lot of fun hanging out with a ton of people WAY smarter than me.  Good times were had all around.

A terrible picture of Jeri, myself, and Grant at Flames after the conference.

All in all, I had an amazing day matching faces to names.  It's just too bad I had to leave to get back to Davis for school.  Now I'm sitting here watching everyone else blog and tweet about all the awesome things happening in the other two days, and I'm just sad I couldn't stay there with them.

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