I’m currently at the IBM Power System Technical University conference in Las Vegas.

Originally I wasn’t going … but a scheduling problem with another person in my office came up and I got tagged to pinch hit for him.

So far the conference is going well … although I’m only here for the “Solution Center” expo (no sessions) … I’m enjoying it.

The conference is much more oriented towards hardware and system management people. There are a few application development sessions on the grid, but not that many. I’m pretty sure there are zero sessions on Java & RPG programming. A few on SQL & PHP.

The expo itself had a lot of energy last night, the first night it was open, with people hitting all the booths to get their ‘bingo’ card filled up (not sure what they are drawing for).

A few things I’ve observed right off the bat (keep in mind, my only previous big conference experience has been COMMON) …

  • A lot of IBM’ers. They are collecting stickers for their bingo cards as much as other attendees (which kind of surprised me).
  • A significant number of people from overseas. More than I’ve ever seen at COMMON.
  • Only a handful of IBM i users. Mostly P Series people.
  • The people that stopped by the MKS booth and did more than just get a bingo card sticker & badge scan (for our drawing) seemed genuinely interested in what we had to offer.
  • The 2nd day of the expo (today) had fewer people coming by, but those who did were much more serious about getting good information.
  • IBM is trying to use social media more … they have a designated tweeter and, as it happens, I won a prize for having one of my tweets picked.
  • COMMON seems to have more of a social aspect to it … although I can only judge from my limited observations in the expo and in the halls between sessions.

Even though there aren’t a lot of IBM i people here … I did run into a number of friendly faces … here’s a few of them …

I also ran into Allison Butterill, Dawn May, Sue Baker, & Linda Grigoleit.

There are only few midrange.com subscribers here (maybe some potentials though). Bryan Dietz scored a midrange.com ball cap.

Oddly, it just doesn’t seem like a ‘real’ conference when I’m not running into Scott Klement, Brian May, or Trevor Perry (just to name a few) every 10 minutes. 😉

From a purely logistical perspective … the hotel the conferences is at, the Rio, is OK. Not great, but not that bad.

Wifi in the conference are is reasonably good … although there are some areas with poor coverage.

The hotel isn’t that expensive … I think it’s $139/night. The room is comfortable & big. It’s a bit dated though.

The hotel’s internet is expensive … as usual. $14/day. Although I don’t think I’ll have to pay for it, as my connection had problems and I had to work with the ISP to get it resolved. Ironically if you have a problem with the internet connection you have to call a 800 number … but the hotel charges for 800 number calls (I’ve never understood that). I had to call the managers office to get them to connect me without a charge. I ended up getting my problem escalated to tier 2 support to get it resolved.

The expo is open again this evening and tomorrow around lunch time … so if you’re reading this blog, stop by the MKS booth and say hi.

On a personal note, this is my first time in Vegas … and it probably won’t become a destination for me in the future. Gambling isn’t my thing. That said, I did buy tickets to see the Penn & Teller show tonight.

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.