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The Oregon Trail (Part 1)

As an Automattician, I have traveling opportunities, and I take advantage of them when I can. A few months ago, I was lucky enough to attend the excellent Write the Docs conference. It was held in Portland, OR, and, after it was over, I decided to see what else the state had to offer.

First Impressions

Due to a hotel mixup, I spent my first night in Portland in a hotel on the northern boundary of the city. The next day, I needed to get to a distant part of the city, and the place I was staying at was too far away for walking to be a viable option.

I decided to give the public transportation system a try. I had always heard good things about Portland's setup, and I love trains, so I went with the MAX.

For $4 and change, I was able to get an all day, all zone pass for the city, and no matter where I was, I never seemed to be too far from a train stop. Compared to the New York City subway system, it was nice to experience what a newer, simpler, and cleaner public transportation system could be.

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One thing that threw me for a loop was the honor system that seemed to be employed. After I purchased my ticket, I just walked on the train. I did not have to swipe my ticket and no city employee verified my pass. I just got on.

I come from a place where you are pretty much assumed to be a criminal and it feels like the environment is actively trying to kill you (what's up Southern State Parkway?). The change I experienced was refreshing, though it took some getting used to. The city seemed so mellow, or maybe I just needed a vacation.

The Conference

The conference was held in the historic Crystal Ballroom. The venue was beautiful, the conference was great, and I had the opportunity to learn about scenario-based documentation, the federated wiki, and how success is more than not failing.

I love documentation, so it is beneficial to see how other individuals and organizations approach this topic. I have only been to the Write the Docs conference twice, but each time, the quality of the talks and the surrounding experience have been top-notch.

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If you care about docs and have a chance to attend, I highly recommend it.

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Paul Ciano

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