Well, another COMMON Conference & Annual Meeting is in the bag.

I’m currently at my departure gate in Orlando Airport and I figured this is a great time to make a post (especially since they have free wifi).

My current, totally unscientific, impression is that attendance was up. I’ve heard other people, including COMMON officers, mention the same.

The expo was well attended and the usual vendors were there, although I wasn’t able to wander the isles myself (had to do booth duty for MKS).

Some people were conspicuous by their absence.

A number of other people, on the other hand, were pretty prominent. I would specifically tip my hat to Birgitta Hauser who, in just her 2nd conference, submitted at least 4 technical sessions (2 of which were doubles) and picked up at least 2 more because the original speaker’s had to cancel at the last minute.

Scott Klement was an absolute dynamo … I think he presented 8 sessions. When he wasn’t presenting a session, he could be found behind the lens of his little Flip video camera. You can find the results of his cinematography on YouTube.

During the opening session, Larry “Dr Franken” Bulhius was given the Al Barsa Memorial Scholarship from the COMMON Education Foundation. This award is very near & dear to my heart, as midrange.com was instrumental in it’s creation (midrange.com also makes a donation to the scholarship annually).

I attended a number of sessions … Steve Will’s session on IBM i 7.1 overview was quite enlightening … as I was a bit fuzzy on the benefits of storing XML data in DB2. I also learned about a new product coming out soon that will help customers (and ISV’s) diagnose configuration problems due to system changes.

Although I wasn’t able to attend any, I heard that the RPG Open Access sessions were very well attended … in some cases blow-outs. That’s a very good sign … I just hope they can get the pricing fixed.

There were a few organizational changes in the COMMON organization …

  • Randy Dufault stepped down from the board as Immediate Past President.
  • Jeff Carey is also leaving the board.
  • Pete Helgren, Kevin Mort, & Jim Oberholtzer have joined the board.
  • The officers of the board are:
    • President: Pete Massiello
    • Executive VP: Trevor Perry
    • Treasurer: Jim Oberholtzer
    • Secretary: Dan Kimmel
    • Immediate Past President: Wayne Madden

During the Wednesday Power Down event, they had a game of Jeopardy … where all the answers were IBM i related. Yours truly was in the 2nd round of contestants … although I didn’t win, I made a pretty good showing. To be honest, I’m glad I wasn’t in the final round … because the questions were pretty tough. My favorite, in the COMMON Officers category, was … Answer: “Immediate Past President of COMMON” … Question (Answered by Randy Dufault): “Who is me”. Randy was the winner of the game, although Dawn May & Jeff Olen both did well.

Who said you could have a party?The main event was also a hoot … the theme was ‘The 60s” … and there were some hilarious costumes. Pete Massiello came as a hippy, complete with bags of weed in his COMMON badge holder (it was only oregano, or so he claimed). Randy Dufault and his wife Laurene came as Ma & Pa Cleaver, complete with antique camera and horn rim glasses. Jeff Carey also dressed as a hipster. For those interested, pictures from the main event can be found on Flickr.

On a personal note … I presented two sessions again … Email security techniques and Introduction to RDi Plug-in Development. Both were well attended and good questions were asked. I had friends who attended both sessions and was given good feedback.

I’m hoping to get to the next spring conference … which is in Minneapolis … and will probably submit one or two more sessions (maybe 3). I’m already working on the outline of one of them.

I was also drafted^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hrecruited to serve on the board of the COMMON Education Foundation. I’m looking forward to see what I can contribute.

About David:
David is a Principal Software Engineer for PTC, Integrity Business Unit. He cut his teeth on the S/36 and has more than 25 years of experience on the IBM i / System i / iSeries / AS400. He primarily works in Java and ILE RPG specializing in cross platform integrations. David has received the COMMON Distinguished Service award and was named an IBM Power Systems Champion. David is an active volunteer with the American Diabetes Association's Tour de Cure fundraising bike ride. He is currently captain of Team RED Chicago. David runs and maintains midrange.com. His personal blog is Geeky Ramblings.