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Wow, Cisco Live 2014 is only a few months away –  where has the time gone since last year’s Cisco Live!

So, in case you have not figured it out by the title and the picture, Cisco Live is in San Francisco, CA this year and being held at the Moscone Center.  The last time Cisco Live was in San Francisco was 2009 for the 20th anniversary.  I think that it is kind of fitting for it to be back there for its Silver Anniversary.  So, what memories of Cisco Live 2009 do I have to share with you that will make Cisco Live 2014 great –  let me think.

Memories…

First up –  and most import –  the Customer Appreciation Event last time was held at Treasure Island –  I am not sure where this years will be yet –  but I do have some memories of Treasure Island!  First up, Cisco Live 2009 was in July and the average temperature is around the mid to low 70’s. This year the event is in May, and the average temperatures are in the 60’s –  so you should be prepared for some cold evenings.  Back in 2009, I think most of us came close to freezing –  it was VERY VERY chilly!  Below is a historical chart from 2012 from WeatherSpark that shows the average temperatures for San Francisco in May.  Yeah, it might get chilly!

Temperatures

Other memories from Cisco Live 2009 are that the event was spread across two buildings –  Moscone North + South and Moscone West.  Moscone West is the building you normally associate with the WWDC Apple Event – it is a beautiful 3 story building as you can see in the picture below (picture courtesy of Moscone Center). Moscone West is also where the majority of the classes were held in 2009, I would almost guess that this will be the same in 2014.

MosconeWest

Moscone North + South are catty-corner to Moscone West as you can see from the Google Map below.  Moscone North + South is where the Meals, World-of-Solutions, and the Keynote were held.  There were also some classes in this building, but not that many.  Now keep in mind that this was 2009 and the attendance was around 10,000 –  no where near what we had in Orlando in 2013 (that was closer to 20,000 according to Cisco –  link.  I am sure that what we experience this year with classes will be different that what we had in 2009!

GoogleMaps

As with San Francisco, they hold some neat street events from time to time. This year there will be a Bay to Breakers 12K run on the 18th, so if you see people in costumes (or nothing) running –  you know why. Here is a Wikipedia link that has some information as well –  Wikipedia. Below is a picture by Geoffrey Weber that was posted on Wikipedia illustrating a runner in a Pink Gorilla costume.`

401px-2010_05_16_Bay_2_Breakers_pink_gorilla

Lastly for the 2009 recap, I wanted to share with you my card insert from my badge that has a map of the facilities.  You can click on the thumbnail for a full size image

Scan0003

Ok, recap and trip down memory lane is over. Now onto Cisco Live 2014 info!

Signing Up and Registration

There are 4 registration packages available this year –  Registration Link –  Full Conference, IT Management, Explorer +, and Explorer.  Most attendees take the Full Conference pass as this allows them access to everything –  the WoS, Tech Sessions, CAE, etc.

RegPackages

The cost for the event is listed in the chart image below –  these prices were taking from the Cisco Live registration page on 1/10/2014

Prices

One quick note here on registration –  if you want to attend the event but are not interested in the Techtorials (classes), you may be interested in what is called a Social Event Pass.  This pass allows you access to the World of Solutions, CAE, and all the Keynotes and is only $195 per the registration page.  Might be an option if you are unable to attend the full conference but will be in town during the event.

Hotels and Transportation

You can see a map of the hotels in the image below, if you click the image it will take you to Google Maps so you can see where each hotel is located.  I make no guarantees on accuracy of the map, I just entered the names and saved them to the map. The official list of hotels can be found here –  Official Cisco Live 2014 Hotel List   From the look of it, most of the hotels are within mile of the event, so easily walking distance for most of us.  There are hotels with shuttles as well, in the PDF link they have an asterisk (*) next to their name to denote this.

HotelMap

The local airport code for San Francisco is SFO (20 minutes from Moscone), but you could also fly into Oakland (OAK –  30 minutes) or San Jose (SJC –  60 minutes ) if you wanted to.  Just keep in mind traffic will have an impact on these times depending on your flight!  You can use a shuttle service ( I have used Super Shuttle in the past –  they are OK but remember it is a shared ride ) or you can cab it from the SFO airport. For an idea of costs from SFO –  Cab will be about $50–65 each way, a shuttle from Super Shuttle will be about $20 each way, or Super Shuttle ExcuCar will be $85 each way.  You can always rent a car too, but be aware that most (if not all) hotels will charge for parking.

UPDATED 1/12/2014 – Another option that has been brought to my attention is BART (Thanks @blakekrone and @jfilliben)  – Bay Area Rapid Transit.  You can catch the BART from SFO to Powell Street.  Powell Street is about .5 miles from the Moscone Center.  I would  urge you to visit www.bart.gov and from there you can get the information for BART to your hotel.  Here is a link from the Moscone that also has BART directions – http://www.moscone.com/directions/index.shtml If you are on an iPhone, HopStop is an app I have successfully used to navigate the NYC Subways and can be downloaded here – HopStop

system-map-med

Attendees and NetVet

So what can an attendee expect from this event?  Well that is simple, ALOT!  There are sessions that range from beginner to expert and beyond.  You want to learn about OSPF basics, they have a class for that. You want to learn about what it takes to design a Nexus switch, they have had classes for that.  One year I sat a Cisco 3750 Switch design class that even included how much of the hardware, ASICS, and how things worked in such a detail that it was amazing!  I will never look at that switch quite the same –  it was like a walk to Mordor you learned so much on the way!

As for NetVets, those of us who have attended 3 of the last 5 Cisco Live events, we can expect our normal routing –  but there is one difference this year –  the books.  When I registered last month, the only option for books was Electronic Copies, so I guess no more hard-copies of books for us.  I will miss that as I liked having the hard-copy of a book.  Maybe I am old skool or maybe I just like having post-it notes sticking out of my books where the good information is.  I dunno, but I wish we would have had the option of hard-copy.

Also for NetVets, Cisco Live is requesting that you vote on the 2013 CCIE/DE NetVet Lapel pin here –  LINK

NetVetPinOptions

The lapel pin is give out at the CCIE/DE NetVet reception with John Chambers.  This is probably one of the best parts about being a CCIE/DE NetVet at Cisco Live.  This time with Mr. Chambers and his team is just amazing! You can get up-close and personal with him.

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Cisco Store

If you have never attended Cisco Live, you should know that there is a Cisco store at the event.  The store has everything from clothing, to knickknacks, to bags, and a huge selection of Cisco Press books.   Below is an image from Cisco that of the Store for you to see.  Oh, one really cool thing that Cisco Press does is a “Meet the Author” book signing from time to time. Watch for their schedule to be posted as the event looms closer.

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There is one item I picked up last year at Cisco Live that I still use to this day –  it is a battery pack charger for a Cell Phone.  The batter pack uses solar to charge its batteries, and its batteries then charge your cell phone. It is nothing fancy, just something simple that I keep on my desk so that it is ready to go when I need it.  Below is a picture of mine (I only have one charger, so the image below is a photoshopped photo to show both sides) with all of its accessories.  You will notice that it does not have a charger for the iPhone 5/5s, but it does have a USB port so you can use your iPhone USB cable for charging your iPhone.  It is no Mophie case, but it works well in a pinch!

SolarCharger

Customer Appreciation Event and the Bag

The CAE, as it is called, is a wild and fun time!  There is music, food, and a chance to just let loose and have some fun!  This years CAE has not been announced, so look for a future post on that!

Also on that note, the bag for Cisco Live has not been announced yet –  so more on that when (and if) we find out ahead of time.

One thing I would like to see them do with the bag this year is to build on Blake Krone’s suggestion of donating your backpack.  There are programs out there where you stuff a backpack full of school supplies in a backpack to help someone who cannot afford the supplies –  there are a few so I will not name any particular one.  I would like to propose to Cisco Live is that they create a location for this function – a session that a person can use to donate their time and their backpack stuff it with school supplies to the kids.

If you agree, please click on the tweet button and share your thoughts.


Other things… (EngineersUnplugged, Fitbit, Site Seeing, Food, etc)

Engineers Unplugged

Amy Lewis (https://twitter.com/commsninja) records a wonderful show called Engineers Unplugged.  The gathers some of the great talent in the market and at the trade shows she attends, puts them in front of a whiteboard or such, and lets the cameras roll!  You can see the videos here – http://www.youtube.com/user/engineersunplugged

EngineersUnplugged

Fitbit

You will do a lot of walking at Cisco Live! If you have and use a Fitbit, I have created a Fitbit group for Cisco Live US so that we can share our walking experience –  you should be able to join it via this link Cisco Live US 2014 FitBit Group

The host for Cisco Live, Blair Christie, showed off her Fitbit at Cisco Live 2013 and had days where she walked over 20,000 steps a day!  You see what she shared in the tweet below from Dan Munro:

FitBit

Site Seeing

There is plenty to see in San Francisco if you have time.  Some of the highlights I would like to point out are:

Alcatraz –  aka –  the rock.  This is an amazing and historical place to visit.  To get there you need to take a quick cruise to the island.  The cruise is run by Alcatraz Cruises and is very much worth the trip if you have the time to take it. Be aware that it is recommended to purchase your tickets in advance (current prices show $30 per-person) as this tour has been known to sell out.  Below is a picture by user WPPilot that was shared on Wikipedia.

800px-Alcatraz_Island_photo_D_Ramey_Logan

Fishermans Warf –  This is a neat little area that is loaded with restaurants and shops and is located on the bay about 2 miles from the Moscone Center.  Not that close, but not too far either if you have the time.

392px-Fishermans_Wharf_Sign,_SF,_CA,_jjron_25.03.2012

Golden Gate Bridge –  This is probably one of the most famous bridges in the world and has been in many movies of the years.  It is an amazing site to see and there are quite a few parks around the bridge where you can get breathtaking views.  If you have time, visit it!  The photo below was taken from the Wikipedia page on the Golden Gate bridge and was posted there by Rich Niewiroski, Jr

800px-GoldenGateBridge-001

Food

Just wanted to mention a great food places in San Francisco –  Mel’s Drive-in.

Mel’s Drive-In –  What can I say about this place but IT IS AMAZING!  When we where there for Cisco Live 2009, I think some of us ate there every day.  It is just around the corner from the Moscone West and has awesome food for a great price.  The atmosphere is of Mel’s Drive-in is based around the file American Graffiti ( IMDB Link ) and is just a good, fun time with some awesome food! I personally recommend trying the Avocado Burger!! The below image is courtesy of Mel’s Drive-In and is the actual restaurant located at 801 Mission Street.

MelsDriveInSF

That about covers it for this post – I will share more as more information becomes available.  Also. if you are looking for a Twitter List, Tom over at NetworkingNerd.Net will be running that list.  I will put up a link when that list goes live.

Look forward to seeing you at Cisco Live US 2014!

Oh, and watch for more posts on Cisco Live US 2014 in the near future!

Click here to register if you have not!

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