Austin Mega Do 3.0: Do Harder - February 20-23, 2014

Discussion in 'Community Center' started by Mackieman, May 22, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    Welcome to the discussion thread for the 2014 Austin Mega Do. :cool:

    As always, the website (http://www.ausmegado.com) will have the latest and greatest information in the not unlikely event that I forget to update this post. :) We announced the event dates last week (February 20-23, 2014) and today we've released the Event Schedule. At this time, registration has been opened and almost all events are sold out.

    FIrst and foremost, we will be returning to Franklin Barbecue for a private dinner event. This event is happening thanks to continued gracious sponsorship by Milepoint and Randy Petersen. We're also doing an event at the Alamo Drafthouse featuring HeckleVision (you text your one-liners and jokes and they appear on the screen with the movie) and we'll be visiting the offices of LIVESTRONG here in Austin for a live concert and charity auction. More details about all of those things are available on the events page at the website. Here's a brief rundown of what we have planned for 2014:

    Schedule of Events (tentative)
    Thursday, February 20, 2014
    12:00PM Noon - Lunch at Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew
    2:00PM - Visit Pinballz Arcade.
    3:00PM - Pickup ID badge and sacred tome at the Sheraton.
    7:00PM - Private event at The Flying Saucer.

    Friday, February 21, 2014
    9:00AM - Depart the Sheraton Austin
    10:30AM - Tour Garrison Brothers Distillery
    12:30PM - Lunch at Pecan Street Brewing
    2:30PM - Tour Real Ale Brewing
    5:00PM - Reception at Sheraton Austin (Sponsored by Starwood Preferred Guest)
    7:30PM - Private dinner at Franklin Barbecue (Sponsored by Milepoint)

    Saturday, February 22, 2014
    10:00AM - HeckleVision with Die Hard 2 at Alamo Drafthouse Ritz
    1:30PM - Rainey Street Pub Crawl
    7:00PM - Visit LIVESTRONG offices for live concert and charity raffle

    Sunday, February 23, 2014
    11:00AM - Brunch buffet with open mimosa bar at Z Tejas on 6th Street

    Hotel Information
    The official hotel for the 2014 Austin Mega Do is the Sheraton Austin. The room block is sold out, but cancelations do occur so please contact me if you'd like to be notified of an available room for the event weekend.

    Registration will open October 30, 2013 at 7PM Eastern Time. Stay tuned to the website, this thread, and the Facebook group for more details as they're released.

    We look forward to seeing everyone in February 2014! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2014
  2. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Mackieman, thanks as always!

    Do you expect that there will be a bus this year?
     
  3. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    You bet. :)

    We will have some limited form of transportation available for the Friday events where we're going out west of Austin. It will not be a charter bus given how godawful expensive those things are, but perhaps a couple of 15 passenger vans. There will not be space for everyone who attends, so it will be first come, first serve. We're still working out details on that and I'll provide updates once we have them.
     
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  4. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Giddy up! Looking forward to it!
     
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  5. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    This looks fantastic and I'm looking forward to making it to my first Austin DO!! Thanks for all of the hard work that goes into putting this together!
     
  6. infamousdx

    infamousdx Silver Member

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    Whoa private dinner at Franklin! This is on my radar now! :D
     
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  7. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    Sounds like a great time. :)
     
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  8. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    Later today, there will be a few updates to the ausmegado.com website. Namely, the DNS will change to a new host. The change should be seamless for you, but if anyone encounters errors, please let me know and I'll look into it. If you'd like all the gory technical details about the various changes, see below.

    Additionally, I added a new feature down on the right rail called Who's Coming. You can click the text to toggle display of the registered attendees for the 2014 event. This was something that we've gotten feedback on as we don't use these threads on MilePoint and FlyerTalk to fully plan the event the way that other Do's and community events tend to do. This way you can see who has registered after event registration opens. Until then, it will remain empty.

    ***BEWARE Gory Technical Details Below. Abandon hope, all ye who enter here.***

    Because I get asked by some people for all the behind the scenes junk, here's the details: As you may or may not be aware, the Austin Mega Do has, heretofore, used Google Checkout to handle all registration payments for events that are prepaid in nature. Google Checkout was chosen for the ease of integration, allowing HTML shopping carts to be constructed and submitted without a bunch of trouble, programmatically speaking.

    Of course, as with all good things, this one is coming to an end. Google Checkout in its current form is being shut down in November so they can focus on digital transactions through Google Play and whatnot. Gee, thanks Google. :rolleyes:

    Given that, I had to find a new payment gateway. Luckily I located one that would work, and thankfully it's not Paypal. It's called WePay, and they have cart SDKs for submitting credit cards securely, which is great. What is not so great is that the SDK is written in PHP, and the Austin Mega Do website is written in ColdFusion. If you're familiar with ColdFusion, yes, it is ok to laugh.

    So I've had to undertake recoding the entire ausmegado.com site in PHP. Thankfully, one of the few smart moves I made was to templatize the layout and backend code so that the changes for everything other than the signup form were fairly straightforward. The signup page itself, on the other hand, is an unwieldy slagbeast from beyond the fiery pits of the sixth concentric circle of hell; combine that with PHP's syntactical proclivities that lean toward the stupid, and it's a daunting task. So if anyone needs me, I'll be spending the next month going through that nasty mess and testing thoroughly.

    And before I get another ten PM's asking if you can help me test in order to get early access to register for the private dinner at Franklin's, thanks for the offer, but we're covered. ;)

    ***END TECHNICAL JUNK. The morning sun has vanquished the horrible night.***
     
  9. davef139

    davef139 Gold Member

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    Hope to make it next year!

    Also when did Checkout tell you they were going to axe service? I don't remember seeing that email.
     
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  10. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    The nice thing of it all is they didn't send e-mail, the butthorns. I found out about it through a friend of a friend who had an online business and was being affected by things that broke in Google Checkout but they already disbanded the dev team so no one was responding to the bugs. Next thing I know, there is a banner at the top of the pages saying it was being sunset. I'm generally cool with Google and believe they offer some nifty services, but this one was handled like warm ass.
     
  11. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    The Sheraton booking link will be released at 12:00PM (Noon) Eastern time tomorrow, so make sure you jump on that quickly as space is limited. :)
     
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  12. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    The booking link for the Sheraton Austin is now available! Head over to the website (http://www.ausmegado.com) to grab it and reserve your room. :cool:
     
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  13. tommy777
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    tommy777 Co-founder

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    Thank you

    The roomblock seems to be sold out already
     
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  14. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    Only if you include the 20th. 21-23 are still open.
     
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  15. Mackieman
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    Yeah, they did not load inventory for Thursday correctly. The folks at the hotel are working the issue right now and I'll provide an update when it's resolved.
     
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  16. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    Ok, looks like the issue with Thursday is resolved, so go ahead with your bookings. Please let me know if you run into additional issues.

    If you're trying to book Wednesday night too, that still appears to be broken and I'm working with the folks at the hotel on it. I figure that's a pretty small number of people, though.
     
  17. Mackieman
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    Alrighty, Wednesday is fixed with a couple of rooms now too. Everything should be good to go. Enjoy! :cool:
     
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  18. gleff
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    gleff Co-founder

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    Thanks for this! Question: are there any events where it's necessary or specifically desirable to stay at the event hotel? Are there obligations the organizers need to meet via our staying there? Cheers, Gary
     
  19. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    I think it's advantageous to stay at the group hotel simply to be where the majority of people are. For the events that leave in an organized fashion (Friday morning, for example) we'll be leaving from the Sheraton so if you're caravaning with us but not staying there, you'll have that additional step to contend with. Also, I had to sign an attrition agreement which I'm sure you're familiar with, so I'd love to sell out the room block so that I don't personally have to cover things. :)

    That said, there is no specific requirement to stay at the Sheraton in order to participate in any of the events. Some events do that and offer perks for doing so, but that's not a route I've explored to date.
     
  20. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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    Last year the hotel was in the boondocks, I did not miss being in the host hotel. This year the hotel was downtown and those at the host hotel walked everywhere, that looked like a good situation. Next year the host hotel again is downtown, for the walkabily I'm staying at the host hotel. Plus the price point is a good bit lower than the W that was used this yer.
     
  21. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    Indeed, and I'm really hoping that the addition of about 3000 rooms to the downtown Austin market in the next two years (JW Marriott, Fairmont Austin, and a Westin property are all under construction) will knock down the ADRs in the area just a wee bit. Time will tell.
     
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  22. okrogius

    okrogius Silver Member

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    Sheraton isn't quite as convenient for walking (possible, just sometimes inconvenient) as the W. With that said, it is a fraction of the price (of course it isn't as nice, but I think the W is somewhat overpriced too).
     
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  23. Scottrick
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    Scottrick Gold Member

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    I'm hoping to go.

    P.S. Shouldn't the title be "Austin MegaDo 3.0: Do Hard with a Vengeance"? :cool:
     
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  24. iolaire
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    iolaire Gold Member

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  25. Mackieman
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    Mackieman Gold Member

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    And we'd love to have you. :)

    I thought about that, but instead took the tag line from the movie we're watching at the Drafthouse event on Saturday.
     

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