Hello again.. well i’m still in the US but now fully recovered from Connect and the nasty bug that took me out and apparently used me as a carrier to take out 40% of the community. Last year I spent most of Connect down with flu so this year I thought ahead, got a flu jab and lasted until Weds night, right after the geek challenge before being wiped out by a stomach bug. Curse you random travel bugs preying on my lack of sleep and reduced immunity!!!
So how was my Connect? Truthfully I had braced myself for this year , I was concerned there would be a small pocket of techies roaming amongst HR bods and it would feel like we were visiting our own conference. There was definitely a touch of that, but mostly I was really pleased to see so many first time attendees in sessions and certainly the ones I was at and did were well attended. It was a very different Connect for me as well. Usually I am tied up doing presentations but manage to get to sessions too and meet with friends – this year it was wall to wall presentations , customer meetings and IBM meetings. I barely managed to get to the labs and to the showcase not at all. I didn’t even make the Social Cafe at the back of the showcase – one minute it was Sunday and everyone was setting up and next it was Thurs morning and it was all over. From a business sense it was great and I made a lot of contacts within IBM that may regret giving me their business cards, but I didn’t get to learn as much as I do usually and I have a long list of sessions to track down.
What about the news from IBM? I actually enjoyed the Opening General Session which was well paced and i’m used to there being little technical “how we did this” content. That’s not what the OGS is anymore and no I don’t expect to hear new features about Notes or Domino during it. Those are both mature established products, I want to know IBM is continuing to support and develop them yes but I don’t expect exciting news to come just from those products. Mail Next is interesting and reinforces support for Domino which is clearly the back end architecture. It’s good to see IBM attempting to innovate in the mail , calendaring, personal productivity space and using their best server to do that – overlaying what appears to be a slick web interface with some , I assume, J2EE application analytics. All I need to know about Mail Next is that it was in the Design , not Development, lab for us to see. It’s an evolving concept and I don’t need to know answers to the technical questions beyond “yes it’s Domino underneath” right now. We’ll see what happens and I hope there’s a design program to support its development throughout 2014.
Other than that there were some great technical sessions. There’s no doubt the combination of technologies available to us is getting more complex, not just within IBM, and so the technical skill required to select, design, install and support them is too. That led to some difficulty in writing sessions – mine with Chris Miller entitled “Simplifying The S’s: Single Sign-On, SPNEGO and SAML” took some creative thinking as well as some real concentration when attending them. In short if you come to Connect to learn, the lotusphere track presentations this year were at a higher technical level than ever before.
Other than that I saw a few friends this week, not as many as I’d like. The Dolphindor cards put together by Julian Robichaux, Kathy Brown, Chris Miller and myself were, I think, a big success. Check out our Facebook page for some hilarious photos – thanks to everyone to joined in, hope you had a good time. The Spark Ideas sessions were wonderful even if they did make me cry and hopefully Chris will be able to upload the videos to the Nerd Girls’ Vimeo channel so you can all see them. The Great Geek Challenge, possibly our last one, was a lot of fun and thanks to Carl for bringing the electrocution machine to make awarding the final big prize fair and to Kathy and Katie for running the room.
My final thank yous to the guys at LDC Mark Myers, Matt White, Julian Woodward to the goddess herself, Susan Bulloch, to Chris and Kathy and Carl and Paul and everyone who laughed with me and made me feel part of the community.
It was a good year. Possibly one of my best despite all the things, and people, I missed. I’m cautiously optimistic about 2015.