All in all, this has been one of the best TechWave's I've been at in years. A lot of excitement about the products that I'm particularly interested in, and no major hiccups.
We'll, I'm no big fan of Las Vegas. That being said, the Mandalay Bay was still a great place to hold the event. My only issue with them was the wireless internet. Perhaps they don't normally hold technical conferences with that many users who will be taxing the system. It appears the same main line was shared by the hotel and the conference center as well. When we were in the Gaylord Palms in Orlando, the conference center had a separate line which worked better than the hotel line. At Mandalay Bay neither appeared to work particularly well. In any event, I'm still for moving it somewhere else. If we follow past practice, it should be moving back to the East Coast. I wouldn't mind it staying on the West Coast either, I'm just real tired of Las Vegas.
The education sessions, at least the PowerBuilder one's I checked out, were filled to overflowing.
Some were very well attended, some not so. Surprisingly, a number of the not so well attended ones were held in the Islander and other large (e.g., seating capacity 100+) rooms. Perhaps that was so they could be recorded for webcast. Otherwise, I don't understand why the registration information wouldn't have alerted Sybase that a different room arrangement might be appropriate. All the sessions I attended were great, and there were many more that I wanted to attend and couldn't because so many good ones were being offered.
My biggest issue with the keynotes was keeping them on time. They're still trying to pack too much (keynote, customer panel, awards) into a single session. By the time the tools keynote arrived on Thursday, I think we were used to them running late and were all rather surprised that it ended a half an hour early. We sat there dumbfounded for a moment wondering if something else was supposed to happen. I like the plenary sessions as well, but would recommend that a plenary showing far future features occur after a keynote showing just implemented features in order not to steal the thunder from the just released product. Perhaps Sybase should look at making TechWave a full 5 day event and splitting up the information in the current keynotes into seperate sessions.
I'm not sure I would have called it a "special" event. Particularly compared to prior special events, this was just an "event". Next year I'd really like to see something more family friendly (including a reduced price).
I'm a particular fan of having activities (receptions, refreshments) in the exhibit hall, and they did a lot of that this year. From what I saw, the exhibit hall ran smoothly. I'm guessing that even if TechWave was made into a longer event, 3 days is about it for the exhibit hall (evening 1 day, 1 full day, morning and afternoon the 3rd day). After that, everybody has already seen everything.
The recording of the keynotes and plenary sessions, as well as some of the technical breakouts, was a real plus this year. And the company doing the webcasts this year did a much better job that prior years. I was also intrigued by the video clips of customers they've made available on the web site.
ISUG Enhancements Sessions / Meeting
The ISUG Enhanments Session was once again (in my mind) sparsely attended. Some of it I think is timing. Lunch on the last day of the conference has the conference pretty much in shut down mode. I'd like to see them moved so that they are more closely tied to one of the keynotes that discusses the products covered. That is, instead of holding both the tools and databases enhancements sessions on the same day at the same time, the database enhancements session might follow the database keynote and the tools enhancements session might follow the tools keynote. That way the folks might still be excited (or disappointed) about what they saw in the keynote and be more interested and animated in an enhancements sessions. ISUG also really needs to get out of the mode of telling people in the session that they need to submit what they're discussing into the ISUG enhancements request web site. We could do that on our own without attending this session. The point (IMHO) of the session is to generate conversation about enhancements. Telling people to take what they just suggested and go log it on a web site stifles such discussion.