Vegas-IBM WebSphere 2001
Friday, March 16, 2001
My alarm went off at 4.45am... which really isn't that bad considering I'll be back in the central time zone soon... but I couldn't fall asleep last night. I barely got any sleep... so hopefully I can snooze on the plane.
That's about it.... I might write something over the weekend, but if not... thanks to all of you for reading... it's been fun writing.
Thursday, March 15, 2001
I have had it with this place. I have been here too long. I miss my wife, house, life, friends, cats, bed, car, and everything else that is not Las Vegas. Too much smoke, too many people, too much noise. "I've seen enough. I don't want to see no more. Cover me."
The day started off well... with two Kripsy Kremes. I can't wait until they open in Minneapolis.
Today's last day of WebSphere was again... too much. We had a sort of interesting general session. The VP of WebSphere talked for a while. And then we had a talk/demo from Todd Rundgren, who didn't really talk enough about the behind the scenes stuff he was doing. I then attended a session on their portal server product... eh... although they did mention one important thing: If you are not doing collaboration, you don't have a portal. Whoops. Then Jim and I hooked back up and we went to the final session: WebSphere Project Managment. Wow. Granted the guy was a consultant, and a bit of a cool dot.com type consultant at that... but he had some really great things to say. From what he said... I think that we are a bit under staffed and under trained for our WebSphere endevour... but hey... we've got at least 3-4 weeks to cram it all in before it goes live... including training. One of the best thing I heard: Book budgets should be unlimited. Woo! It was probably the best session.
And then... with a tear in my eye... WebSphere 2001 was over.
We returned to our rooms and charted out the rest of the day. We took some time to type up notes and thoughts. (WebSphere is about developing middleware.) We headed down to the Flamingo. We had "free" tickets to see Bottoms Up... it's been running for 40 years... and it's time to stop. Go at your own risk... or if you are from a different generation, you might like it. Personally, I could have lived with out it.
Dinner was at Cheesecake Factory. And like all experiences there, I ate too much... and had about 4 cups of coffee... I was so very tired and exhausted and cold. (Did I mention that I just want to go home and be with my wife?)
Jim and I split up and I shopped at Virgin MegaStore. When can we get one of these in Minneapolis? I was ready to buy so many disks, but their prices are a bit high... so I'm going to get them at Amazon. The new Daft Punk does sound really great. It's been hyped to death in the English press, and perhaps it might be worth it. I also heard some loungy-techno-y type thing. What else... some good trance. I also saw an amazing book about the art of music videos: 30 Frames Per Second. Eventually, I had to leave... I was sad.
I started wandering over the Bellagio... I decided to do my last gambling in a busy section... figuring the payoff would be good. I put $20 in a quarter Triple Diamond Deluxe. I never hit it. I'm sure that I got at least $20 out of it... but I put it all back into the machine. Winning was not meant to be.
Bellagio was alright... I hit the wall... yeah, it was beautiful, but you know.. it's a hotel and casino... like the rest. I wandered into the Armani store.. and oh yeah... they had some great stuff there. Beautiful store... but I was too exhausted to enjoy the nice clothes.
So I came back the MGM Grand... and here I am.... waiting to go home.
Yeah... last day.... While walking to Krispy Kreme this morning, Jim reminded me that at the lame-o IBM gala last night, something interesting did happen... I climbed a rock wall. It was really fun... scary, but fun. Perhaps someday I'll get to do it again.
This might be the last post from the kiosk... we'll see how the day goes. We are going to Cheesecake Factory for lunch, and then Downtown tonight. I get to go to Virgin Megastore today! Yeah!!!!
Last day of WebSphere 2001. This time tomorrow, and I'm flying home.. I can't wait. I still feel a little sick... I need coffee.
12:00 AM Thursday, March 15, 2001
blah blah blah... lame evening gala... bad food... lost $20 in the wheel of fortune slot machine... went to paris... played blackjack for a long time... super tired... throat hurts... and damnit... I missed a call from Angie.
Going to bed... so very tired...
Wednesday, March 14, 2001
Back in the room... catching up on things and trying (oh so trying) to relax. And honstly, that might be about it. We are going to score some food at the big shindig tonight. After that who knows... perhaps GameWorks... but I feel so burned out.
I'm pretty much ready to go home... and our flight doesn't leave for about 36 hours and 20 minutes.
Wow... you ask for feedback and you get it! That makes me very happy!
I've been to a couple of more sessions now. WebSphere Commerce Suite Architecure (read: marketing overview) and a disappointing session on a test implementation on a Wireless Network (802.11b) at 3Com Park using the IBM Transcoding Publisher. Wireless is cool, producing content for multiple devices from a single content source is cool... the dude from MarchFirst just couldn't bring it all together... and it didn't have much to do with the Transcoding Publisher except for how quickly he could get it up and going. I don't think that the IBM people were happy about it.
Well... Jim is looking over my shoulder.... We're going to go off and chat. See you all later.
One last thing... I got some feedback when I begged on Monday, but since then, no one has said a thing. I'd love some comments or question! Mail me at email@example.com and I can answer rather quickly.
The morning general session was sort of interesting. Danny Hillis was good, but the panel discussion beforehand was too long and lame. The whole thing ran late. Oh well. The coolest thing during the pre-general session time is that the guy who is running the sound keep playing cuts off of the WipeoutXL CD, and then other tracks as intros for speaking. We Have Explosives by FSOL sounds great!!! There's probably a lot of people who just think that techno is for background and intro music. Sigh.
Jim and I went to a session this morning about a dot com (sort of) that went live in 85 days. Well sure, they have 25 people from IBM on site and they were using IBM's hosting. With no infrastructure work to do, why wouldn't you be able to go live that fast.
Lunch looked so bad that we went to Wolfgang Puck's Cafe. Much better.
It's starting to look like we'll go to GameWorks tonight for 2 hours of unlimited play for $20. I'm looking forward to it.
The weather is really nice and there are a lot of people out at the pool, but sadly, not us.
I can't figure out what to do to today... it seems like it's partner and case study day. Oh well. I'm off to meet Jim and see Danny Hillis who is a visionary type guy, and Disney Fellow.
Oh yeah... my morning KrispyKreme was yummy.
I'm tired and I'm starting to feel a little tickle in my throat... I hope I'm not getting sick!
Once again.. this was written last night:
11:15 PM Wednesday, March 13, 2001
We had quite the successful evening's adventure. We took our winnings over to New York New York, where I decided to ride the rollcoaster! And wow... was it cool. What a great view. I totally felt like I was no where near anything that was going to save me. From a roller coaster perspective, it might not have been the best, but it's location definately makes it worth while. Unfortunately, it took $10 of my winnings. Jim doesn't like rides, so he played poker. We found a couple of blackjack machines and very very quickly I got my $10 up to about $12. So we cashed out and went to Excaliber. Not more Lance Alotta Pasta, which is one of the funniest names I've heard for a resturant. We totally got lost in there. We found a nickle Double Diamond Deluxe, but it was not in the mood to pay.
We wandered over to GameWorks... I think we might end up there tomorrow night. We looked around M&M World. $8/pound for the ColorWorks. Ouch! The coolest thing there was faux movie posters done up with M&Ms. They had Austin Power (Austin Pow Ms), The Mpire Strikes Back, and the like. The M Files was really neat too. Unofortunately they were not selling the posters in any format... they would be really cool postcards. Oh well. It was time to go home.
We really haven't seen too much of the beautiful people, but tonight they were standing in line to get into Studio 54, which much be very popular given the length of the line. $10 for guys, chicks free. Utopia, which is a real club, isn't too far away, so I wonder why people are not there. We then headed over to Olio! which is in the MGM, across from the Grill Room where we had dinner. It looks like one of the most interesting restuarants I've seen. We got some gelato there. And then I dropped my last $6 from my winnings back into a fifty cent Wheel of Fortune machine and lost it all.
I can't really complain since my $2 and Jim's $1 investment after dinner paid for our post-dinner entertainment.
Oh yeah.. KrispyKreme does seem to be in almost every hotel-casino.
8:13 PM Tuesday, March 13, 2001
Just a quick note. Finished dinner... it was ok. We decided to through some money into the wheel of fortune slot machine that had been bugging Jim. We got $30 out of it with a $3 investment!
Tuesday, March 13, 2001
I think that I might have burned out at the last session. The guy (who was very very droll) kept using the acronym ORB over and over... So I started thinking The Orb (buy Cydonia!!!!) and then Blue Room, and then I had the main Blue Room theme going through my head... and well it was all over after that.
I'm drinking the worst $2.50 coffee... it's not bad... it was just $2.50.
So now I'm finally dialed into work trying to catch up on email. The Simpsons are on... ah the Simpsons. There are little Homer-like represenations of sperm!
Tonight Jim and I are going to Mark Miller's Grill Room for dinner.
I wish we could do work mail via the web or POP!
Well.. my time here is almost up... only 30 minutes of dialup before they start charging per minute
I totally forgot to mention the most gross thing that has happened here so far. Sunday when Jim and I were starting to walk along the strip we saw a guy up on a stretcher, surrounded by police and paramedics. He looked like he had about 10 too many. Next thing I know, he's projectile vomiting... a nice clear liquid. Oh it was great.
Nothing new in WebSphere world....
OK. I'm feeling a little bit better now about not dealing with mainframes. I finally got a nice introduction into WebSphere Application Server, EJBs, Servlets, and the like. However, I do feel that the "point" of WebSphere is to extend IBM's legacy systems in to the web space. With that comes all of the business, processes, and methodology that is associate with that type of computing. We've been working from the ground up, in the immature microcomputer space... and in some way from the earlier days of web technologies (at least from a Wintel perspective). I don't think that they (IBM) recognize that. I am very comforted at their commitment to open source, however, that is being outway by how they are trying to sell services and hardware.
In lighter news, I got lunch today. It really wasn't that great. Jim and I are going to Mark Miller's Grill Room tonight for dinner. Schmancy! Oh, and I got a Krispy Kreme this morning. Yummy.
I guess if you are not doing big iron... it's just doesn't matter. You've got to be running mainframes. We don't really so business.
That's what we were told this morning. Moving on...
I like the internet... I can sit in my room and chat with Jim, but I can seem to find my wife anywhere.
I wrote this last night:
12 March 2001 11.22pm PST
Hi all. I'm not dialed in right now, but I wanted to write before I went to bed, otherwise I'd forget things.
Jim and I had a really fun night. The solutions center reception really kind of blew. We had no idea what was going on there. It's was very OS/390 and very "business". Obviously we did not belong. So we had some free food and a free drink and left.
That's when we found KrispyKreme right in our hotel. Yumm yumm yumm. I plan to have more before we leave.
We tried to find a blackjack machine. We did OK playing as a team, and we got more free drinks. Woo. We played for a while and then cashed out - we were even. We took some notes based on John Ebert's blackjack rules and figured we'd see if we could do better.
I needed food, so Jim had to watch me eat sushi. Cool restaurant, but Jim wouldn't even try a tuna roll. Oh well.
We had a hell of a time trying to find a blackjack machine that wasn't like the one we had already played. Somehow, we ended up in Paris. And that's where I struck it rich. Jim was playing a nickle poker machine while I played nickel slots. I was better 5 at a time, when I did the right thing and got a 240 coin payout! Yeah! $12 off of $0.25!!! If only it would have been quarters!
Jim discovered two blackjack machines, and that where we lost track of time. I have no idea how long we were there. I turned $20 into $5. Jim lost only $5.
And then we left Paris.
And now it's late and I need to go to bed.
Monday, March 12, 2001
Day one... almost done. We have a reception tonight to look at... well... marketing stuff. Jim and I will probably do dinner after that. Interesting stuff here. I went to a session on high-volume web sites. I really enjoyed it. The guy giving the presentation really was talking about a holistic approach to web site monitoring. He talked briefly on patterns (there's quite a few session about patterns here). I feel like a very different person now compared to TechEd 99 listening to talks about Homer and IIS 4.0 optimization. It's all about the architecture of the network and application now, baby.
Well... I should probably get back to the hotel. Unfortunately, I'm having all of my work mail sent to showcow.net, and apparently, I have stuff I should reply to. Who picked this infrastructure ready by 3/30 anyway?
They ran out of food. I kid you not. Jim and I bailed and grabbed some food court food. Now I'm just pissed people off by checking mail and blogging.
I keep forgetting to mention the most annoying thing about Vegas: smoke. You can smoke indoors here... and not just in designated areas. Oh sure, I expect it in the casinos, but not just walking through the hallways.
Tonight we have the solutions center reception... I wonder how many people will ask what type of Enterprise Server 390 I have... I don't even know what the differences are.
My current perception of WebSphere (the application): it's a way to integrate all of the legacy/host (read: mainframe) data into the web world. They don't talk much about client presenation issues, or even http server issues... it's all about the back end here... but you know... that's just me and my Microsoft-centric view of things. Perhaps my attitude will change soon.
I've got to print some stuff and then move on... the natives are getting restless.
Hi. I'm standing up at a web kiosk. I just went to my first session here. It was called WebSphere Scalability and Availablity. Guess what? It's not that much different that we've been doing... what a surprise. I'm always surprised at conferences like this how many stupid questions people ask. Oh well.
This conference definately has a different feel than TechEd. It's so much more business-y, not that many jeans and t-shirts. But... like Microsoft, they don't really have this printing of slides thing down. No TechEd water... just Mountain Valley... oh darn.
It's freezing in here, like any good convention center... It's starting to get crowded... I should probably print some slides and move on.
Bye from cold Vegas.
Sunday, March 11, 2001
I'm finally dialed in through AmEx Online. Jim and I walked around a whole bunch. We started up at Circus Circus and worked our way back. It got really really cold and windy here. In fact, we couldn't see the pirate battle at Treasure Island due to high winds.
We saw the MGM Grand lion cubs as well as a white tiger at The Mirage. Slots of Fun... is a slot of fun. At Westward Ho we got some food. I talked Jim into a 99 cent shrimp cocktail. Unfortunately, I talked myself into a 99 cent 3/4 pound hot dog. It was obscenely large, and obscene looking. I'm very sorry I had it.
For dinner we ate at an Italian place in Bally's. It was pretty good. I just wanted some simple pasta, so that worked out well. Had some gelato for dessert... and now I'm set to watch TV before I crash.
See ya'll tomorrow.
Sunday 3/11/2001 12.50pm PDT
Jim and I checked into the MGM Grand, and it is much nicer than the San Remo. I kind of have an obstructed view of New York New York: we are only on the fifth floor. Oh well.
We checked into the conference. The computers aren't all set up yet. This seems much smaller than TechEd... and we don't get notepads in our bags. Damn.
I'm waiting for Jim... and then we are going exploring. I'm watching WorldBeat on CNN. I've never seen it before... it's a very good music show. Moby is on right now.
Oh.. the room is very art deco with some nice pictures of some movie stars who I recognize. Oh well.
Sunday 3/11/2001 8.50am PDT
OK, I wasnt't planning on writing while I was at the San Remo, but I just had to.
We got in a little after 11pm Pacific Time. I was bet. Vegas is Vegas: Hopping. Except there were a lot of tired people at the airport. The San Remo didn't really look that great from the outside.... and the casino has a very old school feel to it... in fact I saw a lot of nickel machines. Jim (WorkJim, not Jim) and I couldn't get rooms on the same floor. Big deal, we are only going to be here 12 hours.
My view is amazing. San Remo is on the south side of the strip, and east of it by the airport. The Tropicana is right in front of me... but I can see Mandalay Bay, Luxor (where Jim and I stayted in '98), Excalibur, New York New York, MGM Grand (where we will be moving to today, Monte Carlo and even Rio off in the distance. I'm 16 floors up. This could be the view in Vegas. I don't think that I appreciated it last night because it was so bright, and I was so tired. But today it all looks so amazing, and yet fake at the same time. Luxor is especially black! What a great looking building. There's a hotel in Cairo right next to the pryamids.. but it doesn't have a 20 story tower where guest can look over at the great pryamids. Oh well... that's why vegas is Vegas, baby.
I haven't had coffee... I've got to find some, shower and track down Jim.
Saturday, March 10, 2001
OK, I'm not sure how it happened, but we got through dinner. We made pork tenderloin and it was taking way too long. But it cooked, and we ate... well.
I have to leave in 20 minutes. I'll be asleep before the plane takes off.
Just picking up my mail, and then I'll be off.... oh, and we're watching Sex And The City: The Baby Shower, because Kathy is here, and she's pregnant.
See you in Vegas.
Just starting to pack. Angie's cooking. And... I got to watch an episode of Square Pegs... OK, I really must pack.
BTW... clean jeans.
Watching movies isn't getting my jeans clean. I need to go do some laundry. But Sixteen Candles is such good 80s fun. Angie and Lilly didn't want to watch the 4 hours of Square Pegs I taped last night. I know that the Devo episode is in there! :)
Having a bagel. The paper says not to be worried about the NWA strike. I guess if I get stuck in Vegas, I get stuck.
I haven't packed. Some of my jeans are still dirty.
Oh... my page got 5 hits yesterday. I'm sure that it was just me and Jim.