Monday, January 08, 2007
Building a SF Convention IT Infrastructure
Unsurprisingly, the SF community is filled with IT professionals -- it is perhaps the most common job category. But then you also have a wide variety of skill sets -- people that are partisans about one sort of technology or another.
You have several departments in a typical convention that might have a need for some sort of data storage need -- convention and organization membership is the first, but then you also have your programming and other event schedules, your art show, and your dealers' room.
You have two environments as well -- you have the environment of 360 or so days a year, where the convention staff is geographically diverse, and unlike a business environment, there's no way to really dictate what sort of operating system people may use. The other 3 or 4 days you are all at the same location -- but it's an environment that you set up there, and in some situations may have need to get at that data at all hours.
One of the other challenges is that your available pool of skills is limited to what you can have for free -- but that means that you don't really want to make something that requires very specialized skills. You need something that just about anyone with IT skills can pick up.
Technology really helps the modern convention -- I can't imagine how this would have been done in the era before e-mail. But many of the pieces in place right now are frequently of the personal computer era; using Microsoft Office applications like Excel and Access. To go buzzword happy -- and as such I deserve serious abuse -- what is the Web 2.0 convention IT architecture for a Science Fiction convention?
Right now I mainly have questions, and don't yet have answers.
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