So my conblogging didn’t exactly go according to plan – one entry and it was all over. It was supposed to be a bit more comprehensive than that.
A very busy week at the conference. Each day we had six slots, each with a good 20 sessions to choose from, most of which were interesting – leading to some difficult choices. I spent the first couple of days exploring WebSphere Message Broker topics, and the rest of the time learning about some of our newer products such as WebSphere DataPower, WebSphere DataStage TX, and others. I also took a look at some of the newest Eclipse WTP tooling, in a great hands-on demo presented by one of the project team.
My own presentation went pretty well, with an audience of 40 or so of my peers. I messed up my timing a little bit, so it wasn’t all according to plan, but it seemed to work and I got some useful questions afterwards.
I also took the opportunity to finally get certified in some of the products I’ve been supporting for a number of years. Generally, I’m of the opinion that my background, experience and demonstrable skill in a product should be more than enough – but I know that it is also useful to have a set of product certifications on my CV. There is no WMB v6 certification test yet, although I’m hoping to be able to help to develop it based on the fact that I wrote the beta education and worked with the code for months before release. There’s even a couple of lines of code in WMB v6 that are all down to me (in the Linux version, anyway). So, I decided to go with the v5 tests, since they were available.
I decided that I really ought to be able to pass these tests, given that I’ve been using and providing consulting in the messaging family for six or seven years now. That didn’t prevent each one of the tests from being a nerve-wracking experience to sit through – what if I didn’t pass?! Anyway, I passed tests 294, 298 and 299 (WMQ v5.3 Administration, WBIMB v5 Administration, and WBIMB v5 Solution Design). The V6 tests are next on my list.
As for stuff beyond the conference, well… the Rio was a good hotel. In previous years I’ve stayed at the MGM Grand, which is the size of a small city… I remember it used to take me 40 minutes to walk from my room, through the casino, past the theatre and restaurants, and out to the conference center; and Bally’s, which is smaller, but the conference overall was split with attendees in about 7 hotels and the conference venues split between 2 hotels on opposite sides of Las Vegas Boulevard. In both cases it was just too big – you never got to meet people and the constant movement became tiring. The Rio was just right in terms of size, and away from the strip there was less temptation to slip outside and see the sights. We did get a few nights to ourselves. A few of us went up the Stratosphere Tower (although I avoided the Big Shot and the other rides), saw the city from the Voodoo Lounge, and wandered around the huge shopping mall at Caesar’s Palace… that place gets bigger and bigger each year. I only left the Rio on 2 nights out of 5, though, and it wasn’t a big deal – I’d done the tourist thing in Vegas five years ago, and it doesn’t really interest me much any more. The casinos absolutely bore me.
So that’s it, I’m back. Totally regret not having had my camera with me, now – the photo opportunities were tremendous. Never mind. I need to get back to working on my portfolio, I’ve not uploaded anything new for 3 weeks and I’m beginning to get itchy!