This has been revised since originally posted due to the lack of handouts this year.

au09 badgeOne week out folks!  Get your stuff prep’d and hang on tight.

I missed last year, and don’t know exactly what to expect because they changed things dramatically over the 2 years I did attend.  I expect the core things to be similar though.

For those that have never been, or who are still not sure about the event, here are a few things to remember:

Don’t wait till Vegas

Get it, buy it, pack it, prepare it NOW.  Once you get there, it’s too late.  Nothing in Vegas is affordable.  There are thousands of people like us there every day, and need just one thing… and will often pay dearly for it.  No one there will cut you a break.  Toiletries, Snacks, Smokes, Currency.  Get it before you leave.

Study up on the event, and make sure you are prepaed for your classes.

AU preview guide

General Check in

Have the cabbie to take you to your hotel first.

Lugging all your luggage around to AU check in will be the biggest drag (no pun intended).  Get in with a group going to same hotel, and share the fare. Get to your hotel and set up first.  If you get in early, then ask the concierge if they can hold you luggage until check in.

Immediately scoot over to the conference check in. 

You will receive all manner of things from them, including some special event announcements.  Get this over with before the rest of the herd shows up.

Make sure all your information is correct

Do you have all the ribbons and stuff?  Are you supposed to attend subscription events?  If so, you better have your registration stuff properly taken care of. The registration area should have a booth with Autodesk employees that have computers and phones.  Press them to fix your problem.


In 2007 they fouled up my handouts, and half of them were wrong.  What happened is that after November 11th, whatever classes were applied for, are the handouts you got.  They fixed it this year.  NO HANDOUTS!! 

You have to print your own.  Agendas, handouts, it’s your problem..

Print them out NOW and pack them before you leave.  They are coming online as we speak. Thomas Tremblay even emailed his students to tell them his class was up.  Nice touch, Tremblay.

Copies and Downloads there

In 2007 after receiving the wrong handouts, we learned that the handouts were available online, so we set out to download them Monday night, and get some printouts. 

Yeah….um…$1.00 per page. 

You will still have to either pay for the internet fees, or go to the Kinkos place ($5 taxi ride each way) and pay for the download time there, and then to copy price.  You won’t get out of it for less than 50 bucks.

Get acclimated

The main herd of cattle will arrive on Monday.  There are no mainstream event planned for that day.  It is check-in day.  If you get in there at average time, you will likely have moderate wait and little problems.  Take the extra time to walk around and get an idea where everything is.  If you plan on breaking out of the herd sometimes, then look at some of the online maps before you leave. 

  • Find the concierge
  • Find your class areas
  • Find the chow hall
  • Find the latrines at each major area
  • Find the event areas
  • Find the nearest smoking section (I still have not quit yet)

Get an idea of how you will get from event to event.  There will be a thousand people between you and it.  Get a plan of attack.


Look at the surroundings.  Walk the area, say a click (kilometer) or so.  You may be staying at another hotel.  Figure out the best way to get to and fro.  That’s also how we find the Denny’s (priority 1), the Walgreens, and the nearest casino with $5 tables.  Find a liquor store.  If you want to hang out and watch the ball game Sunday, you’ll need beer. Figure out how to get to and from each location on hands and knees.  Generally at least to the Dennys in that condition.

If you are staying at the Venetian you will need an extra day just to recon that place.  Very nice… I’ll mss it.

There are trams that run in segments from one location to another.  This will be very useful at off times, especially if you want to go shopping (Caesar’s palace).  Figure these out.  They have off times and some only take passengers in 1 direction. 

Some newer maps are out there, including an interactive version of that one.

Comfortable shoes

Shoes are important.  I only own 4 pair, and 2 of them really have to do it all, comfortably. 

  • 5.11 Forced entry; Waterproof; Black Nylon; and Leather (Daily work, running)
  • 5.11 Desert; coyote tan; half height; Zip-ups (Airplanes and casual)
  • Python Cowboy boots (dress)
  • some old sneakers (yard work)

My wife purchased the 5.11’s for our trip to Japan, so I’d have good shoes to walk in.  Best stinkin’ boots I ever owned.  I walked all over Japan in those things.  I wear the Black ones to work.  The Lather is shined, and they look sharp. ….I digress.

Unless you have been wearing GI issued combat boots and humping 5 miles a day, then you will need some good shoes. I used to wear my dress boots to fly in an out with.  Problem is I don’t wear them every day, and once you get to Vegas, you will be walking A LOT.  First trip, First day, my feet HURT!  SO BAD! But I looked good. You decide.

First trip I was so amazed that I didn’t think about my feet; Alcohol helped.  Second trip I made the same mistake, and I payed for it.  This trip I got gooooooood comfortable shoes.


I don’t know if there is a currency exchange in Vegas.  Get it ahead of time, or at least at the Major airport that you come through customs.  This ain’t Kansai International.