PermaLink Attendee Logistics for Google I/O 201305/20/2013 08:31 PM
Before attending my first Google I/O this year, I tried to find an attendee guide (Google doesn't publish info on the logistics until it gets closer to the Google I/O date) but unfortunately didn't find one, so I decided to write up a few of my tips for future first-timers.

Tips

  • staying at a hotel around Union Square is a good choice because the convention center is within a 5min walk of the Powell Bart station
  • you can take the Bart from the airport to Union Square for about $8.25 for a 20min trip if you don't want to take the $18 discounted shuttle deal mentioned by Google
  • get a $28 one week public transportation pass from the ticket station at the street level above the Powell Bart station so you don't have to pay $6 per cable car ride and $2 per bus ride if you're going to explore San Francisco a bit while you're there
  • a continental breakfast (bagels, danishes, orange juice and coffee) is provided every day
  • two days of buffet style lunch are provided (first day was Thai or Mexican, second day was BBQ or Mediterranean) and the third day is a boxed sandwich lunch because some code labs run through lunch
  • there are snacks at the After Hours party but you won't be full so grab dinner beforehand; bring earplugs if your ears ring from loud rock concerts (ringing is a sign of hearing damage and damage is cumulative); only attendees are allowed into the After Hours party, so if you're not coming alone to Google I/O, you should have dinner with them first
  • there is a bag checkin service in case you don't want to carry your laptop or luggage around
  • all the session seating has power strips tied to the back of chairs in case you need to recharge; for your phone, the big green androids at the show include charging cables
  • bring your laptop to the 3rd day and take part in the code labs
  • take some time to visit the demo booths and office hours booths; you can catch up on sessions by watching the videos on YouTube afterwards unless you want to ask developers something at a session
  • pay attention to Google+ for after hours hacking sessions and get-togethers for networking; they fill up very quickly and I wish Google and other companies would sponsor more of these
  • pick up your devices by the end of the first day. For some reason, Google ran out of the LTE variant of the Chromebook Pixel and the little Android robot toy by the end of the second day when I went to pick up; the LTE variant is only for US residents so Google should have known how many were needed and the little toy was for everyone except people who were there to learn instead of pick up devices :-P
  • don't be a jerk by cutting in front of people in long lines, or leaving trash everywhere, or leaving toilet tissue all over the bathrooms, or leaving garbage in your sessions; we're all professionals and shouldn't behave that way

2013's Google I/O
This was a great Google I/O for developers this year (less so for people who wanted device schwag so don't always assume you'll get just released devices). There were a lot of things that made things a lot easier for developers including my favorites:
  • real-time gaming API including handling the network layer and matching games for you
  • 2-way Google Cloud Messaging provides a messaging layer you can use between your users and your server that is capable of sending 10K connections/sec if your server has 10 TCP/IP connections to the GCM server
  • easy integration with Google+ across all devices
  • synchronization of AppData between devices
  • being able to "stage" a rollout of a new version to N% of your users so you can see if you borked anything before releasing an update to everyone
  • you can easily find translation service companies to translate your strings.xml for different languages
  • Android Studio finally lets you preview view layouts nicely and is built on IntelliJ Community Edition which seems to be a lot easier to code on than Eclipse (though the gap is a lot narrower now compared to a few years ago)
  • smooth audio output streaming is still not commercially viable because you have to tune it for each device and you also hit bugs in device drivers
  • the location API has been much improved and includes 100 location fence events per app and includes activity recognition
  • Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 is finally coming in API 18 (Android 4.3) though this doesn't include host to host mode; it will finally enable all the health monitoring devices that currently work on other mobile platforms
  • web components in Chrome is the biggest change in HTML in a while because it will make web sites much more maintainable/modular
  • WebP to reduce image sizes (supported in Chrome and Android)
  • moving to Gradle for Android app builds instead of using Ant (wish there were an Ant import tool for our old projects) including bundle-able libraries (.aar files)!!!


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Full-stack developer (consultant) working with .Net, Java, Android, Javascript (jQuery, Meteor.js, AngularJS), Lotus Domino