Note from the editors: The hotel lottery was a major logistical milestone for some attendees. “Michael M”, a member of the FoCC forum, has shared his experience in a unique fashion.
‘Twas the Day of Hotelpocalypse…
‘Twas the day of the Hotelpocalypse, and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…well, except for my two dogs and me with 3 laptops going with browsers on each one, and what would eventually be multiple cups of coffee.
(Editors’ note – the author is doing his lottery submission based on 3 badges purchased.)
There have been many threads of information flying around on how to set up machines to do all sorts of things for this years’ Hotel Request process, affectionately called Hotelpocalypse, but I decided on a relatively simple setup: 3 laptops each running Google Chrome.
Per the email we all received (well, eventually received, we all know how well that went) I fired up one machine’s browser to enter promptly at 9 AM Eastern Time. What I elected to do with each machine was to not fire them all up at the same time. Even though it’s been said that the waiting room is all about random entry, I spread out signing into the waiting room about an hour for each machine. So, I signed in with Laptop #1 at 9 AM, Laptop #2 at 10 AM, and Laptop #3 and 11:30 AM, all Eastern Time. Each machine served up the “Waiting Room Welcome Page” with the standard greeting and a very small, plain, unobtrusive green flashing light. Let me tell you: keep staring at a screen for close to 3 hours and seeing this thing blink back at you on 3 different machines, you start thinking that light is mocking you, but that could’ve been the coffee.
Keeping an eye on three machines (I did have a fourth set up to go, but that machine flaked on me at the last minute – that was not a good omen) was actually kinda tough but not impossible…think of watching a tennis match or a really fast hockey game. But, come right at 12 Noon, the page changed to state that you were now in the “official waiting room” and that started the real wait. But actually, this is where that sacrificial bucket of KFC seemed to help…
Laptop #3 got in after about a weird 20-30 second wait, while #1 and #2 were still in the waiting room. After frantically filling out the form I submitted it and got the “Form Successfully Submitted – Thank You” page (at around 12:01 PM), which I promptly took a screencap of. I actually kept this confirmation page up for about an hour because closing it so quickly almost felt like I’d mess up the process…totally unreasonable but we all know how that goes. At this point I shut down #1 and #2 as there was no reason to submit further requests for me.
I actually went back in to do a quick check and was able to confirm that the available hotels were actually shrinking. This lent some credence to the idea that the system was actively following requests versus inventory available. Whether that’s actually the case I don’t know, but it “looked” like it was.
The overall experience seemed to go as expected and really wasn’t painful. The waiting room functioned as expected. As one of my 3 sessions got in, I was able to submit my hotel request and grab a screencap of the confirmation page. This, much like badge sales, was really all about the stress leading up to the event. There was a lot of chatter about “what does random mean” and exactly how they’d count the submissions and everything around the entire process, but the actual process went, at least for me, smoothly. The next stressful piece of this is actually waiting for some sort of confirmation email.
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