Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Duke Bus to SIGCSE from Atlanta

If you want to take up Owen's offer on this, please contact him directly:

The Duke Computer Science Education Group has chartered a bus to travel
between the Atlanta airport and the SIGCSE Marriott hotel. The bus will
leave the Atlanta airport on Tuesday, March 3 at 7:00 pm. The return
trip from Chattanooga will leave at 7:00 am Sunday morning.

The bus can accommodate about 50 people, it has wireless Internet
access. Travel guides put the trip at about two hours, but traffic can
have an impact.

We're doing this because there are more options flying in/out of Atlanta
than through to Chattanooga and to share the joy and passion of SIGCSE,
of course.

There will be a SIGCSE greeter at the airport for the bus at about 6:00
pm. If you get in earlier you can hang out until then. I'll be getting
in a little after 5:00 on Sunday.

We will defray the cost, but will charge each person $40/round trip. If
you want the bus in one direction let me know, but we'll still charge
$40. We should have an online credit card setup later this week, but
for now you can 'reserve' a spot by committing via email to me. The bus
will leave at 7:00 pm, we cannot wait around for really late flights.
I'll send my contact information to everyone coming.

Hope to see lots of folks at SIGCSE and a subset on the bus.
===== Later Post ===
The Duke Computer Science Education Group is helping to sponsor and
charter a bus traveling from the Atlanta airport on Tuesday March 3,
7:00 pm to the Chattanooga Marriott. Return to the airport leaves at
7:00 am on Sunday, March 8.

There are other buses from the airport to Chattanooga, but the charge
runs about $37 one way. This bus is $40 round-trip, is just for SIGCSE
attendees, and promises wireless access for the roughly 2 hour trip.
There are rumors that we'll have entertainment on board as well.

Sign up at


Owen Astrachan
Duke University, Computer Science
Professor of the Practice of Computer Science
Director of Undergraduate Studies for Teaching and Learning

Monday, January 19, 2009

Three Reasons why Chattanooga is Great for a Family SIGCSE

Here are three reasons why this is a great SIGCSE for bringing your whole family.

REASON #1: ROCK CITY: If you've driven around the Southeast much, you have seen barns painted "See Rock City!" That Rock City, that painted some 900 barns as advertisements over the last several decades, is in Chattanooga. I've taken my kids there, and we all really enjoy it. It's a rock garden featuring caves and an amazing lookout view. One of our favorite parts is always the Weight-Watcher's Squeeze, where you have to turn sideways to get through two boulders about 30 feet tall and about three feet apart (and about 10 feet long!). Rock City is also the site of the first mini-golf in the United States.

REASON #2: CREATIVE DISCOVERY MUSEUM: The Creative Discovery Museum is a hands-on exploratory science and arts museum, mostly for kids. It's a different model than the San Francisco Exploratorium. CDM has this wonderful room for water play with waterfalls and waterwheels that kids can move around. It's got a pit where you can dig for dinosaurs. It has a room where you can explore musical instruments of a wide variety of types. We've been several times and enjoy it.

REASON #3: RUBY FALLS: I have to admit that this one isn't my favorite, but it's almost as famous as Rock City and many families really love it. I'm a bit claustrophobic. So, a trip down an elevator into the earth, then a 200 yard (or so?) walk in caves, to a place where there's a waterfall (which they introduce with a light show--that's preceded by turning off all lights in the cave!!) -- well, let's just say that it's not my most memorable Chattanooga experience.

I already mentioned the Chattanooga Choo-Choo (yes, I've stayed on a railroad car) in this blog, so I guess I can't mention that as Reason #4. I could also mention the great family restaurants, but I'll save that for another blog post. Overall, Chattanooga is a really fun family destination. My family and I have taken several trips from Atlanta for a weekend or day away. I encourage you to bring your family to SIGCSE in March so that they can enjoy Chattanooga, too.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Do you know the way to Chattanooga? Shuttles from Atlanta

Not everyone can find a convenient flight into Chattanooga for March. (Some people, like Owen Astrachan at Duke, are organizing multi-institutional bus and car caravans.) Another option is to fly to Atlanta (which is a hub for Delta and is easily accessed from many other cities), and then take a shuttle up to Chattanooga from there. Lester McCann, our stalwart Webmaster, has worked with Sue Fitzgerald to make sure that travel options like that are described on the the SIGCSE 2009 Website. There are lots of ways of getting to Chattanooga, at a variety of price points.

Best Pancakes in Chattanooga, in an Updated Diner

When Sue and I were in Chattanooga in August, we heard about these absolutely wonderful pancakes that were available a few miles north of Chattanooga. Then we heard that they were available at a "modern" diner called The Blue Plate. It's right next to the Tennessee Aquarium, so it's really nearby for a late-night after-the-reception snack with friends.

Sue and I had lunch there one day, where I got to try the oft-praised pancakes. How unusual -- the praise was matched by the product! The food was terrific. We took the members of the Program Committee at the Planning Meeting in October there. Highly recommended!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

SIGCSE 2009 Postcard in your mailbox now (maybe)

ACM sent out on Dec 29 the cool SIGCSE 2009 postcard that Tom Cortina designed. However, you may still not get it. ACM only sends out advertisements like these if you opt-in. If you opt-out, you don't get to see Tom's snazzy work! So, I'll show you mine here.

The front lists our three featured keynotes: Elliot B. Koffman, Craig Mundie, and Gregory Abowd. (We're not mentioning here the First-Timers talk by Mike Clancy, nor the UPE Award talk by Eugene Spafford -- there's only so much room on the postcard!) The back has a great picture of the Tennessee Aquarium from the Tenneessee River. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Tuesday block already full at conference hotel!

We've received word that the SIGCSE block of rooms at the Marriott is already full for Tuesday night, for those who wanted to come in early. The Sheraton is just across the street (not even 3 minute walk away) and still has rooms ready for Tuesday.

Oh, by the way: ON-LINE REGISTRATION IS OPEN! Come and get it! Early registration ends Feb. 1!