October 17 - October 23: Travel, Conference and a Hurricane thrown in!

Well, that was an interesting week!

A while back, I applied for a fellowship program with ARIN, the American Registry of Internet Numbers. I’d hoped to get picked but didn’t bet any money on being so. To my surprise, I was picked as one of the ARIN52 cohort of Fellows. I was invited to participate in the policy discussions and the general meeting in a virtual capacity. I was very happy to be selected as there are only a few places, and many people apply each year. I felt I had something to offer, and I felt that being “entre deux chaises” would give me a unique perspective coming from the French-speaking region and having deep knowledge of both the English-speaking and French-speaking Caribbean. That’s how I left it, and I was looking forward to the meeting.

However, that’s not quite how it turned out.

Due to a participant being unable to secure a travel visa in time, I was asked if I wanted to travel to San Diego to participate in person. I immediately said yes, but I had a couple of administrative things to take care of to ensure I could travel. Passport expiration and that sort of thing! I got the ESTA, sent off my details and received the flight and hotel bookings. This all happened in the couple of weeks preceding the week this post covers.

This week, it was travel and conference time. The journey was long, requiring two layovers, one overnight and the other in the middle of the USA. After a delay of 3 hours or so, I finally touched down in San Diego and grabbed an Uber to the hotel. I was greeted with an evening cocktail where I could meet some other Fellows and the ARIN representatives already onsite. To clarify, I had the opportunity to attend not only ARIN52 but NANOG89 (North American Network Operators Group).

NANOG was fascinating, and I met many people that I will keep in touch with. We discussed some of my research, and they kindly provided me with data and other contextual information. So valuable! One was a researcher from ICANN. It’s not every day you get to exchange with people like that, so despite my introverted tendencies, I tried to make the best of the opportunity, and I think I succeeded in that goal.

The ARIN meeting was very interesting, too. I think I’ll be spending a bit more time with them, trying to devote some time to internet governance and maybe even applying to be part of the Advisory Council. I’ll let you know.

Travel back was a little more interesting, shall we say! The overnight from San Diego to Miami was uneventful, and arrived a little ahead of schedule. Aside from being dog-tired, I felt fine and had a little breakfast at the Airport. Shout out to the super kind waitress who could see I was very tired. I don’t tend to sleep on aeroplanes; consequently, with an overnight flight, I’m not particularly rested when I arrive at the destination. That was only the start of the bad day I had. Hurricane season decided to develop a hurricane that ruined my chances of flying home on Saturday morning. The flight was delayed 24 hours, and I had to scramble to find a hotel for the night. Hotel found, and with one short Uber ride over, I was checking in. The flight home the day after was uneventful, and I was glad to be home. The evening granted me a lovely sunset, and I found it comforting and felt happy to be home.

A big thanks to the ARIN team, particularly Amanda. You all made me feel welcome and part of your team from the outset. That’s no trivial task, and you did it with flying colours!


I picked up a couple of The Internet Protocol Journal issues at the conference. If you’re interested in networks, this is a must-read.

I have nearly finished Walled Culture from Glyn Moody. He talks about the Internet, freedom, copyrights, content filtering and many other important subjects to understand if you will be using the Internet anytime soon. I have a couple of chapters left, and I suspect I’ll finish it this week.

If I do, I’ll start one of the other books I listed here.

Of note

Not technology-related, but I have been keeping up with the Cricket World Cup. What that means is more that I have been disappointed with England’s performance. Something is out of whack, and they can’t get it together to win matches that are, to be fair, seriously difficult. What stands out to me is the upcoming nations like Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands have shown that they are progressing well and will be in the big leagues sooner than most anticipated. This is great for the sport.

One last prediction. In 5 to 10 years, I fully suspect the United States will put out a world-class cricket team, particularly in the T20 and One Day International series. Mark my words!

Have a great week.

Matthew Cowen @matthewcowen