This is a very long post but I just wanted to get it out of the way, so enjoy, there isn't much technical here so if that's what you want you can probably skip this posting.
Demo Floor time!
This by far is my favorite part of the OOW. Some people like the sessions, some people like the keynotes, I like working the demo booth, not only do I get to meet people that are already using the APEX but I also get to try and sell interested people on it as well, it's a bit easier than some other Oracle products since the price (free) fits any budget.
So how can I tell that a person might be interested in APEX?
Well there is two ways
- The person is clustered around one of the two pods waiting for a demo.
- Or if there isn't crowd around one of the demo pods and you slow down by my booth and you look at the sign, even with that confused look of "Oh this isn't what I'm looking for". Yup that's it that's all it takes, your mine. I'll grab you and give you at least the 30 second demo, which leads into a 5 minute demo, and then to a years and years of APEX development.
Truthfully usually though I only had to go with option 1 as there was almost always a crowd.
Past the regular demo booth salesman role, it was really nice meeting the people that read my blog, or I've helped from the forums or have used my sample application. I even had some people want to take their picture with me, I don't take a good picture my smile is always messed up, but I'll tell you this it sure is good for the ego, like I need help with that.
So after a full day at the demo booth I head back to the hotel to work on my session a bit and then go out for the APEX meetup at 4th Street Bar and Grill. Long story short on that it was very cool, the place was crowded and in the beginning it was tough finding a place to stand and talk but after awhile it all came together and we took over the back area and made it ours till we left for dinner. Not everybody went to the dinner but most of our team was there with some of our foremost APEX developers/users/cheerleaders and had a pretty good Mediterranean meal, the dessert and after meal coffee left a little to be desired , well actually they weren't there as I think they wanted us to leave.
At that point I left to work on my session since the nervousness was finally kicking in.
Session day! That's right I finally get to show the stuff I've rewritten 5-6 times and went through different practice runs with various people (thanks sis).
Now here's the big secret. I've never done this before, not just I have never done a session at OOW I have never done a session anywhere, it's just never been in my job description, and I wanted to do something different for a change which is why I signed up.
So full of youthful energy and vigour I marched right up to the speaker lounge with it's well stocked coffee stand and computers for emailing and tables for sitting and ask the person running it ...
Where the test projector was so I can test my laptop out?
We don't have a test projector here.
Uhhh do one of the other speaker lounges have a test projector?
Uh ok, I guess I should be fine.
As a side note I am going to be sending some emails to the people that run these things because there needs to be at least one test projector at this event, or any event like this, and truthfully there should be one in every speaker lounge, it just makes sense, per the fact that I just expected it to be there.
So with slightly less youthful energy and vigour I march right up to the where I'm going to be giving my presentation wait for my turn and then go to the front plug in my computer and watch as my computer and the projector have a slow fight to the death.
I posted about the result here and don't need to revisit, suffice to say I'm not very nervous about doing session's anymore since there is 'almost' no way anything else could have gone wrong.
Morning = demo grounds (see above)
And my Unconference at 2pm, it seemed kinda easy getting my 2pm timeslot, in fact most of the 2pms timeslots were empty when I signed up because I guess I was running up against some tough competition
But it was really well attended I think every seat was full since there was people standing up and I was able to give my Debugging Apex + AJAX with Firebug and some advanced AJAX usage and finally some 3.1 previews both the fancy prebuilt stuff and the building blocks of that.
I will be doing a vidcast/viewlet of the debugging part since I really feel that it was the most important thing I showed and it will be very useful for everybody.
After that I sat around with Joel , Patrick and Dietmar and watched them demo their stuff.
Patrick demoed his APEX builder plugin and has now officially caused me and the rest of the team more work as we want to build some of those features into the product, thanks man ;).
And then Dietmar went through the demo of what he is showing at DOAG and all I can say is do yourself a favour and if you can check it out it was absolutely one of the most impressive things I've seen especially when given the time constraints he was under.
Finished up the at the demo grounds, then went and saw some random bands with about 25,000 other people and had alot of fun.
Woke up to a surprise, I lost my voice the night before and had to demo for a bit without being able to talk.
After about 10 throat lozenges and some water it did come back enough that I wasn't totally mute but it hurt and people were very understanding so it all worked out. I finally made a session and was able to see Dimitri's Advanced PDF with BI Publisher session and it was very cool, I usually render my PDF with handbuilt XSLT but after watching how easy it is to do it using BI Publisher I definitely need to give it a second look.
I decided to stay in the the city for one more day just to walk around and see how things have changed. I was supposed to meet up with some friends but that fell through so I ended up being tour guide for John and Dimitri which was fun, I went to San Francisco State University and at one time took a "Walking San Francisco" class and have all sorts of random knowledge , you do not want to play me Trivia Pursuit trust me, on the city plus what my years there have taught me so I was able to give a different type of tour.
We ended up at Vesuvio for awhile to have a couple beers and then when the time was right to my favorite restaurant in the world House of Nanking.
All I can say is you need to know what your getting into when you go there, there are rules you have to follow or things can quickly spiral out of control, but if you follow those rules, "Don't move the table Dimitri!!!" everything flows smoothly and you have the best meal ever.
During the meal I felt the need to send some family and friends pictures of the food I was eating and within a minute getting replies. I don't think even one of them can be reprinted in the family friendly blog. But it puts a smile on my face knowing that I had Nanking and they didn't that's right I said it I don't even feel bad.
After that it was back to the hotel to the airport and back home to lay low for a couple days.
And that's it for OOW till next year.
Sorry about the long post I can it won't happen for another year at least ;)