Here I am at the University of Nottingham, in Cavendish Hall (one of the students’ halls of residence), and I must say that the connectivity has been fantastic – good wireless coverage everywhere in the conference centre, and wired network in all the rooms.

A major part of the All Hands meeting is the ‘booths’ that house all the major players in the e-Science business, and there seems to be an unofficial competition to see who can give away the best freebies, and I must say they’re pretty good!!

PPARC (who are particle physicists) were giving away “Micro OpticalMouse” USB mice, which are tiny but fab, especially as the touchpad on this laptop is more than a little ropey. CCLRC and GOSC had T-shirts on offer, everyone has pens, and OMII was also pretty good, with stress-cubes, mints, and insulated travel mugs – although to get the latter you had to install the OMII client, which took me the better part of 2 hours. To be fair, this was mainly because (a) I was trying to download everything over the wireless, and (b) I didn’t have Java SDK installed and it was very picky about which version it needed (which it didn’t tell you in advance, so my process was 1. install Java-2 RTE. No joy at all. 2. Install Java2 SDK 1.5.y – no Joy; requires 1.4.x. 3. Install SDK 1.4.x. Success and travel mug.)

Mind you, it took me the better part of day 1 to get the wireless going on the laptop, due to driver issues in Linux. Still, download and install the new module and firmware and it’s solid as a rock. Well, as good as you could expect, in any case.

But as usual with these things, the main useful outcome is meeting up with other people, particularly the project partners in my case. It is also interesting to hear the keynote speakers give their overview talks, and in this case most of the speakers were vey senior academics (heads of funding councils, that sort of thing)