Friday, August 20, 2004

Wrap-Up

I guess the question that the folks who didn't attend generally ask is: "How was it?" Unfortunately, I think I was a bit to close to the action this year to give an adequate answer.

AM Sessions: Millard Brown and I were presenting one of the 4-day AM classes (AM40 - Fast Track to PowerBuilder 10), so I never got a chance to see how any of the other AM classes were doing.

PM Sessions: Alex Whitney, Terry Voth and I also did a Wednesday PM session on PFC - Open Source, and since we asked to have it added at the last minute we ended up spending a lot of the PM session time working on that presentation. I did manage to make it to a couple of session: one by Anthony Hill on PowerDesigner tips and tricks which was good (main issue was that I was already familiar with the material) and one by Reed Shilts on advanced PocketBuilder topics (which was very good).

Exhibit Hall: The only point at which I spend any considerable time there was during the ISUG book signing Monday evening, which I spent almost entirely in the ISUG booth. Ruben Pillaca Quispe was there from Peru with his Spanish language PowerBuilder book, Breck Carter was there with his ASA 9 book, and Rob Verschoor was there with his ASE books. It seems that the ISUG booth is still primiarly a draw for the ASE database folks as Reb was swamped and there was quite a bit less interest for the ASA and PowerBuilder books.

There did seem to be even more new vendors than last year, which is another good sign.

Special Event: Universal Studios. Everyone who I talked to who went raved about it (despite it having rained during the event at one point). I'm a bit of a wimp (given that I don't like Pirates of the Caribbean, Spiderman and the Hulk are definately out my league), so I stayed back at the hotel and reflashed SmartPhone 2003 on my Motorola MPx200 and reconfigured it instead. I definately need to get a life.... (A certain Sybase product about to go into beta needs the 2003 version of SmartPhone).

Keynotes: These could use a bit of work. I think the problem is that some of the material they are trying to cover just doesn't present well when you try to present it in a short, flashy demo. Millard Brown and I spoke with John Strano (who participated in the PowerBuilder keynote) about some ideas to get more audience involvement in the keynotes. On the other hand, I liked the customer interview videos, particular the one in which Michael Nicewarner described PowerDesigner as the 'least frustrating' design tool he's worked with...

Breakfast/Breaks: I've got my standard complaint here. This year they seemed to have fruit in addition to the high carb stuff for breakfast, but I'd still like oy bee some other options. And I'd still like to see something offered during the break. I talked with Richard Rogers of Sybase (the guy who sets up all these TechWaves) afterwards about the costs involved with refreshments during the breaks and I now understand the issues, but I'd be willing to pay for them (and I did anyway, because I ended up walking over to PlanetJava during the breaks).

Welcome Reception: Because of some of the travel issues this year, SyberJam (a band involving several Sybase employees and a TeamSybase member) weren't able to perform this year. They did have a DJ playing 80s tunes and 80s video shots on the big screen and pinball machines from the 80s available (a flashback to 20 years ago when Sybase was first founded) .

Lunches: Like last year, the lunches were well done. Monday's was a regular sit-down in the same room used for the keynotes. Tuesday's was in the exhibit hall again, to encourage people to visit down there. Wednesday's was the PowerLunch back in the keynote room, where you sat at tables devoted to a particular topic. And Thursdays was the box lunch. The only issue I observed was that they were either rather quick to pack up everything during the Tuesday lunch or they ran out of food in many areas, because if you didn't go back for seconds quickly you didn't get any.

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