Sunday, October 9, 2011

Techzone 2011 - Oslofjord convention centre

Techzone is a technical conference organised by Cisco Norway (formerly Tandberg).  Every year the entire company goes on a short escape to somewhere fun, which have included venues outside of Norway such as Barcelona.  This year it was held in Oslo from the 12th to 13th of September (Yes, I'm just a few weeks late in blogging this. :)) at the Oslofjord convention centre (which is apparently owned by a Christian cult group called "Smiths Venner").

Lanyard with program attached.  Notice the Norglish. ;)

Program for Days one and two

Day one

Work arranged shuttle buses to take us to T√łnsberg at 10am.  I almost missed the bus because I woke up late due to the alarm not going off but I made it in the nick of time.  I sat next to a taiwanese work colleague on board the bus, she studied in Sweden then came to Norway to work.  Apparently I'm a topic of discussion at work amongst the Asian girls who wonder where I'm from.  She didn't give herself an English name even though she is living here and in fact she tells everyone her hanyu pinyin name so everyone calls her by her actual Chinese name.

Anyway, we arrived at 12pm according to plan and checked in.  The weather was not very good on Monday, it was grey, cold and frankly, just bloody awful.

Giant chess board outside the entrance.

I was allocated house 211.  Here's photos of our accomodation.  Ground floor.

Upper floor.  8 beds!  There's also another bedroom on the ground floor but I took the upper floor.

If you get drunk good luck going up and down these steps without breaking your neck.

Shirt and other misc. The design looks like a rip off of the Wall-e robot.

Also took photos of the surrounding area.

We were supposed to be sharing the house with a house mate, but I had no idea who my house mate is or even if I was going to have one at that point, but anyway after that I went off to the conference centre and had lunch with the rest of the team.  Also attended three technical sessions.  A hardware one, one related to testing and the other related to C which I found the most interesting.  All speakers were internal since this is a Cisco only event.

We had dinner at 830pm but not before a welcome session kicked off by one of the SVPs in the company.  The other VP was in San Jose.

To the left, Norway.  To the right, USA.  The magic of technology.

Dinner.  It wasn't very filling but it was tasty.  Meat was a bit salty though.  Also no vegetarian option.  I heard some poor Indian woman only had asparagus for dinner.  Eek.

I thought this was a starter.  It wasn't.

Dinner was followed by "So You Think You Can Invent".  Several teams presented their idea, and the judges (Two judges were in Norway and the other two were in the US.) decide on the top three and then the audience decides on who is the winner by cheering the loudest, which was measured.  The winner walks away with $1000 US.  That was cool, hopefully some ideas will actually be implemented rather than just remain as ideas!

The party started at 10pm, the most important part of Techzone. ;)  Just check out the photos!

Angry birds, run, jump and don't break any body parts

Shuffle board, little doughnuts on sand

This proved to be my undoing.. sprained my wrist from hitting it too many times.  Ouch.

We were trying to get two player mode to work and eventually we figured it out.


Cisco band

At 230am we had an after party held at some other houses.  I tagged along and eventually went back with my house mate (someone from the other team that I know, which is good!) to crash at 330am or something like that.

Day two

Day two was literally a pain from my sprained wrist which had become huge and swollen but I tried to make the best use of it.  I didn't sleep at all because of my wrist, woke up and spend a large amount of time icing it.

Breakfast was served at our door.

Food!!  Energy!!

There were morning sessions but I didn't attend any.  Instead I waited for the BBQ lunch at the beach which was burgers.  And ice cream.

Of course we also had fun and games.


Human foosball!

Connect Four

More Angry Birds

There was also some climbing activities at Himalaya Park which is about a 10 minute walk away.  So we went to check that out.

You attach a climbing harnass to yourself and go on various obstacles set up between the trees.

Before the last remaining technical sessions at 5pm I walked back and snapped some more photos of the area.

Mushroom mushroom...

Near the beach area.  Apparently the night before some guys who couldn't swim went skinny dipping and there was a life guard who had to keep watch.

Dinner was tacos, which was rather average.  We attended the last few sessions then I caught the 1030pm bus back to the office.  Didn't get home till after midnight.  It was a fun two days.

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