Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Dinner at the Blue Zoo

One of the greatest benefits of a conference is to get your colleagues and business associates together in the same place long enough to learn more about each other and to figure out ways we can help each other. Again, tonight Mike James came through with a fantastic dinner at the Blue Zoo. I guess they are known for their sea food so naturally I had some fish. The Scallops were just awesome. I had the Corvina with some kind of warm crab and mustard sauce which was excellent. Oh and the Pinot Noir was again very good here.

The Sirius Tivoli Security contingency along with our IBM friends. On the right side of the table from the front is Jeff Whitehead, then Keith Zunker, Mike James (Host), myself, then Bob Ramsey. From the left side we have Larry Miller, cant remember, Moe, Bill Steadman, and Tim Nicolaou and finaly at the far end of the table Brian Ebersol.

Pulse - Day 2 a little more like a typical IBM Conference

OK, now we are rolling. It's starting to feel like a conference. I walk from my hotel to the Pulse shuttle and these Disney cast members were standing out there handing out coffee's. Now thats what I'm talking about!

Then I knew I was at a conference when we were herded into a dining tent on the Dolphin parking lot for a continental breakfast. Now, I'm pretty sure I recall having full breakfasts at Lotusphere, unless things have changed recently or something. But, hey the have loads of Starbucks around.

Open General Session was great. Typical of Lotuspherean quality and extravaganza the Pulse Open session was great. The speakers message was pretty clear, demonstration was informative and the guest speaker Lance Armstrong had a great story to tell. I never knew that he was diagnosed with cancer before he had ever one a Tour de France. I never knew that there was no team around who wanted him after he recovered from the cancer. What a fantastic story and very inspirational. I felt bad for Lance when half way through his speech someone from the audience passed out and they had to call paramedics. I mean how weird. Lance is talking about the surgical procedures on his brain and about doctors and stuff and some guy passes out. Granted I felt bad for the guy who got sick and thankfully he was alright after being attended too, but Lance is a trooper for coming back and picking up where he left off.

So, while at the conference this week one of my ToDo's was to get through some certs if possible. So I winged it in the cert lab on the Tivoli Solution Advisor Security test. I really have not had time to prepare for this being on a project lately so I figured I would just wing it on experience. So I passed that early in the day. I actually thought about taking a practice test first, but the real tests are free this week so I figured if I didn't pass then my test would be like practice and I would just take it over later this week. If you are thinking about taking this test, make sure you understand the appropriate meanings (as defined by IBM) for things like "baseline document", "context document", and any other design artifacts relative to an IAM project.

Met Bob Kalka today. If you are doing Tivoli Security in any way you have something to thank Bob Kalka for. Or at least I do. Many of the presentations and positioning information I have used in the past came from Bob. He's a great speaker as well and really knows the security stuff. It was a pleasure talking with Bob today and he reminded me I have to reach out to Chris Craver when I get a chance. See there are not too many Tivoli Security people in the world and when one lives in the same town as you, it's a good idea to keep in touch!

Hit a couple sessions today, but I spent a great deal of time in the Expo talking to Encentuate and some other Tivoli dudes. Met the guys from SecureIT. I'm looking forward to playing around with their stuff soon. Found out some new things about Tivoli Training. Watch for more emphasis on instructor led Online training. Tivoli is putting in some efforts here.

Anyhow, more later

Monday, May 19, 2008

Pulse Business Partner Day

OK, so not quite the excitement that a typical Lotusphere event would be. Last night I camped out at the ESPN Zone like I would any Lotusphere for the Turtle party. Obviously no party really, just lots of people waiting in line to eat dinner even up until after 10:30pm.

I'm staying at the Port Orleans Riverside so to get to the Board Walk, naturally I Disney Bused it. See, this time of year theres a lot more families around so it is busier in general than around the time Lotusphere runs so traveling to the board walk was like ano hour ordeal.

The Business Partner Summit was not exactly a jaw dropping experience. I met a lot of people which was nice and we got some advance word on what the general message was going to be this week. This apparently is the first time Tivoli has brought all the software including Maximo under one conference so I guess it feels a little like a Lotusphere from right after 911. Over 800 Business Partners and about 4000 customers so not bad. The BP Welcome Reception was great. Finally I got to meet up with my "peeps". Up until then I figured I was the only Sirius employee at the conference. Turns out we have 6 or 7 of us attending this year.

Many thanks to Mike James (our channels rep) who sported for Dinner at Shula's tonight. Their 12oz filet was top notch. The Pinot Nior wasn't bad either. ;-)

Well after dinner the old folks had to turn in so I meandered around in search of after dinner festivities. Mind you I'm a trained conference attendee so if there is a party I will sniff it out. I have my old friend Bill Brown to thank for this rare skill. Anyhow, I noticed a nice crowd forming at the Blue Zoo down stairs at the Dolphin. When you see a potential party like this the key is to assume you belong there. Walk up to the waitresses at the club entrance and ask which way to the party. Without question your wrist will be fitted with some fruity colored arm band and your drink order filled. Whomever was hosting that gig, thank you very much for the Amstel Lights!

Well, it really was a productive day anyhow. I was on the job registered by 9:30am and planning my week as I normally do for a good conference. All in all it was a slow start, not the big bang that Lotusphere usually is, but hey maybe the opening general session will get things going.

Monday, May 12, 2008

5 Days until Pulse 08

I was a long time Domino guy since the beginning of Notes/Domino 5.0.a. I think my first Lotusphere was in 2002. I don't think I've ever been to a more passionate geek fest than the one Lotus puts on. I recall seeing the same faces each year with the ever popular Turtle parties to kick off each 'Sphere. Lotus developed quite a cult following over the years at least while I was involved.

So a while back I let go of Lotus (around v6.x) and switched hats to Tivoli (Security that is). This year is my first Tivoli conference (See IBM Pulse 2008). So far my expectations are not all that high. For one, a number of my IBM friends from ISST are not going. Boo! Apparently the way IBM is recording the big profits this year is quite simple. They don't spend any money. Not even on new business cards. So I'm not sure I will see many familiar faces at Pulse. But hey, I'm optimistic that it will be a very valuable experience. I had the Lotusphere Conference down to a science, especially when finding the best parties for the evening. Looks like I'll have to start from scratch this year at Pulse.

Some things on my agenda:

1.) Meet the folks at SecurIT - I'm interested in any companion products to TIM
2.) Take a test or two
3.) Get through a bunch of Security Sessions - Not sure which ones yet
5.) Hopefully find some info on Encentuate - Labs, Sessions, Demos, anything
6.) Need to do some TFIM - Labs, Sessions, etc...
7.) Find some good parties
8.) Work the Showcase
9.) Learn something new - I'm open to suggestions here. Anyone know what is hot hot hot? Besides security.
10.) Buy some Tivoli gear.

Anyhow, I'm hoping this conference will be valuable and hopefully Ill meet some cool people with the same type of passion I used to meet at Lotusphere.

See you at Pulse!