Feeling very anticipatory this morning. I'm one of the fortunate 270 who managed to register in time to get a spot at the first every BlogHer conference. While I read many of the attendees blogs, I actually know just one of the attendees, my friend Nancy White who is also leading a session: When Globalization is Good For Women.
In case you are not aware of BlogHer here is the group's mission.
"BlogHer is a network for women bloggers to draw on for exposure, education, and community. By holding a day-long conference on July 30, 2005, and establishing an online hub, BlogHer is initiating an opportunity for greater visibility, learning and success for individual women bloggers and for the community of bloggers as a whole."
As I have looked at the schedule of sessions trying to decide which ones I absolutely have to attend in person, and which ones I'll have to wait and hear on audio later on --(yes I want to attend almost every single concurrent session!) I realized that I haven't attended a professional conference in over 10 years.
Attending a conference in the mid-90s meant becoming very adept at the "payphone dash" . To excel at this sport one needed to know exactly when to leave a session so you wouldn't miss any good stuff but in time to preempt any of the other conference attendees from securing a payphone before you did.
At conferences, if you were not a payphone dash winner, you often couldn't make your call before they next session began. Sure, I had a cell phone but the long distance and roaming charges made me think twice before using that tool to call into the office.
Checking email wasn't even on my radar. We had it but didn't have the ability to check it from a remote location. So, I would call my office, punching in an ungodly number of numbers required by MCI card and would dutifully give my office the fax number of the hotel De jour.
Then a couple of hours later, the front desk would call,and let me know that I had a fax. Seems like they charged anywhere from 50 cents to $1.00 a page. Of course once I reviewed the pages, I had to fax back.
I haven't used a hotel fax machine in years. Now all my faxes come directly to my computer. I won't need the conference payphones .I 'll have my Blackberry. Of course, in the event of some technical problem, I realize I don't have a phone calling card anymore -- maybe that would be a good Plan B, just in case.
The whole phone thing has been on my mind because of a message the hotel phone system left me when I arrived in my room yesterday. Evidently, I have a direct dial number that people can use to reach me here.
Being somewhat of a skeptic, I immediately checked out the phone charge policies at the hotel to see if there were surcharges on these incoming phone calls. I couldn't find them.
I did discover that any call that requires dialing a "9" will be charged 99 cents. That includes 1-800 and its various cousins. If my deductive reasoning is intact that charge would apply to every call that I would make outside of the confines of the hotel property.
I have a conference call this morning. I'll pay the 99 cents, begrudgingly . However, I will change to my cell phone at 60 minutes --that's when they start charging 10 cents a minute. As my daughter Berit loves to say,
"Are you jokin' me?"
Which begs the question, is anyone using the hotel's phone service anymore. Evidently, not many.
The revenue that hotels derive from guest room telephones fell last year to an average of $2 a day per occupied room, compared with $4.10 in 2000, according to the Hospitality Research Group of PKF Consulting, which is based in San Francisco, reports Inside Bay Area.
My hotel does offer free high speed Internet service. I like that. I don't like paying $9.99 for the privilege of using the Internet. I do have WiFi in my room.--- although I don't think that's part of the hotel's perks. The WiFi is from the Westin. I'm staying at the Hilton.
Thank you Westin. I am thoroughly enjoying the freedom that your WiFi service is providing. It's making my stay at the Hilton all that more enjoyable.
For folks who are interested in being a part of Blogher virtually, you can attend an all day global chat . For those of you who prefer to read about it, Jay Rosen at PressThink will be covering the day's activities.