FITC Amsterdam 2010 Recap

First, this will be a rather lengthy pictorial of the last few days here in Amsterdam. For those that have never been, I’ll also share my insights and tips on visiting the city since I’m a seasoned pro now, LOL (4th time).

The City

Amsterdam is a really cool city. It hasn’t changed that much since my last visit about a decade ago. It has a good mixture of rustic Old European charm and 20th century modernism. It’s almost as vibrant as New York City but tends to slow down during the week around 2am 🙁

The locals are generally friendly and often find amusement in the confused faces of the American tourists. This is also definitely a bike-friendly city with a lot of the population opting for beach cruisers and mopeds over cars.

The city is filled with quaint little coffee shops, bars and restaurants where one can enjoy an evening of good conversation and more with friends.

Having traveled abroad during an era when technology wasn’t as prevalent, it’s always amazing to see how it has become so deeply integrated into the fabric of life. On that note, if you have an iPhone, (2) useful apps to have are ATM Hunter and Amsterdam GPS Guide. Both are free and can save you a considerable amount of time. ATM Hunter helps you to locate the nearest Geldautomaat so you can gain access to some local currency. Amsterdam GPS Guide provides offline maps for you to use to scour the city. These free apps will have you motoring about like a local in no time.

Here’s a list of some places, in no particular order, worth checking out when in Amsterdam:
– Kadinsky’s (several locations)
– Abraxas
– Supper Club
– Chipsy King
– Renee’s Croissants
– The Greenhouse
– Coffee Shop Reefer

Amsterdam also has its dark side so enjoy but be wary of your surroundings always. While you’re busy watching the sites, someone is always watching you. Should you feel drawn to de Wallen (RLD), try visiting first during the day then return after 10p when it comes to life. DO NOT take pictures of the girls in the windows and if a local approaches you talking about a “party”, politely tell him no thanks and keep moving (either dealer or thief).

Now, these are just a few of the things I’ve come to learn about the city over the past 2 decades of visits. Hopefully they’ll be helpful to 1st timers or those who have visited previously but a lot of time has passed since their last visit. If you think I’ve got it twisted, let me know.

The Conference

FITC was filled with many amazing presentations and workshops. Everything from audio to video to 3d to converting images into sound and even workflows for building iPhone apps with the forthcoming Flash CS5. While the general consensus was that the entire conference was outstanding, the talks by Mario Klingermann, Jared Tarbell and Ralph Hauwert seemed to rank high as the crowd favorites. Additional talks that peeked my interest were Joa Ebart’s overview of his open source project and Sam Agesilas’ preview of the forthcoming Orchid open source framework.

The Fellowship

This alone is worth the price of admission + trip. Being able to hang out with industry geniuses after all the tension of putting on a successful conference has passed is priceless. The post-conference wind down is often just a continuation of the past days’ events but in a much more relaxed and social environment.

Here we’re at the Hotel Ambasade participating in a linkup w/Flash Brighton hosted by Seb Lee-Delisle (a/k/a “Awesome”). Pictured from left to right are Jim Corbett, Grant Skinner and Sam Agesilas discussing the mobile platform.

Later on, Ralph Hauwert chimes in on a response to a question from the Flash Brighton group.

Stacy Mulcahy and Masakazu (Mash) Ohtsuka patiently awaiting their turns to share in the discussion.

Influxis co-founder, Richard Blakely, and Seb discussing Rich Media.

Adobe’s Lee Brimelow and Mike Chambers arrive on the scene to share in the festivities.

The evening was definitely off to a good start. Later that night, in a dark, subterranean and smoke filled room, the leaders of the Flash community gathered to pontificate further on the future of the Flash platform. Sorry, can’t show those pictures as I’m under an NSTPA…;)

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