Here follows my recollection of the COLLECT (Wylbur user group) and SHARE meetings last August.
As convention cities go, Atlanta is pretty convenient. The MARTA station is adjacent to the Delta baggage area and the downtown hotels are a straight shot, half a dozen train stations away. The Marriott and Hyatt hotels are connected to the Peachtree Mall by enclosed crosswalks, so it isn't necessary to get rained on unless you absolutely desire it.
We went to The Abbey for dinner one night on Bob Staring's recommendation. It's a nice restaurant: an old church where the waiters dress in monk's robes (try to imagine a black Friar Tuck with a Cajun Man accent). For pure yuppie pleasure try the Buckhead Diner, a former blue-plate-special place that has gone unbearably upscale.
The big excitement was a visit by Jack the Rapper. Apparently Mr. Rapper is a well known personality, and his stay at the Hilton attracted, well, a boisterous crowd. Lots of strangely dressed and very noisy people; we heard stories about screaming and spray paint down the corridors of the Hilton. There were posters put up in the Hilton lobby saying:
LOTS of Jack the Rapper stickers were stuck EVERYWHERE in the Hilton Hotel, and to a lesser extent in the Marriott and Hyatt hotels. Thousands, maybe. So I conclude that Jack the Rapper fans can read, and that they must have simply missed the exhortation not to trash the hotels.
Much less exciting was the visit by Bill Clinton at the Hyatt. He breezed quickly through town to pound nails for Jimmy Carter and the cameras. I didn't know about any of this until one of the crosswalks filled up with gawkers hoping to get a glimpse of Clinton walking out to his limo. Sheesh!
Attendance for this SHARE was at a depressing low -- only 1700 people were preregistered, and we finally topped 3100 by Wednesday afternoon. This is about 1500 people less than we generally attract, so I guess the economy has finally hit here. SHARE management is running scared (they ought to be!) and are taking steps to broaden attendance. They have already lowered membership requirements to include RS/6000 installations, and I understand that they are considering taking installations with only IBM PCs.
This was an election SHARE also, and most of the Good Guys won. The major disappointment was that John Bevis (University of Florida) lost his bid for Treasurer; he's done a fine job over the years as a Director and as Secretary. I was also more than a little miffed at the nominating committee, who submitted a single nomination for SHARE President. At the last minute a sacrificial lamb was found to stand against the nominee, and her platform was basically "there should be a choice when you go to vote". Her bravery notwithstanding, we seem to be stuck with John Chapman from Amoco (he'll still do okay).
I attended the following sessions: