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IMPACT 2011 – and the Unconference

This week is the last before I hop on a plane a head over to The Venetian in Las Vegas for this year’s IBM IMPACT conference. I’ve been privileged to attend the last few of these customer and user conferences, and I’m always happy to have the opportunity to meet users and techies, as well as to talk to new folks about what is happening in the WebSphere Messaging portfolio.

IMPACT 2011 banner

This year I’ve been given the task of talking about what’s new in WebSphere MQ (hint: if you look at the whole WMQ family, there is a lot going on); and to talk about our Smarter Planet protocol, also known as MQ Telemetry Transport.

As before, we have a social aggregator where you can follow the conference. One particularly exciting addition this year is the idea that we’ll run an unconference within IMPACT itself, and we’ve carved out the Thursday in order to do so. If you’ve never been to an unconference before, the concept is that the organisers put up the venue, framework, and support, and the attendees build up the actual agenda. The call for participation is open now… if you are really a techie or an architect and don’t want to be bored by the business-oriented stuff, you need to be at the unconference. It’s for developers, by developers (actually – that’s YOU).

WebSphere Unconference

The ideas will be posted at Impact 2011 April 11-13 using the wall grid posted onsite, where you can continue to submit and vote on ideas. The Unconference is held on April 14th from morning through afternoon. Sessions will run about 1 hour with several rooms open during each time block. The kick-off is at 8:30AM with a special guest speaker. The format of sessions is up to speaker(s) to decide – go solo, pair up or make a roundtable with a group. Make it your own.

There’s a slightly different way of doing things here, as instead of only having folks nominate themselves to present on the day, we’ve got a forum where you can suggest and vote on topics right now.

If you don’t believe that this thing is going to be “the place to be” on the Thursday of IMPACT, here’s what I actually consider the second best part (apart from the conversations with developers themselves): RedMonk. The guys are going to be all over the Unconference, including a keynote by James Governor, and a breakout session with Stephen O’Grady. Listen to @monkchips:

James Governor: Developers should be excited. The pendulum is swinging back… you are the new kingmakers, so what are you going to do about it?

For more on the unconference, you need to be following Ryan Boyles and Kathleen Holm. Oh, and if you’re coming to IMPACT, and you use Twitter, give Lanyrd a try – it’s a great way of sharing what you’re up to.

Impact 2010 (and the cloud – no not that one!)

Despite the efforts of the volcanic cloud of doom, I’m currently teaching some of my peers from across north-east Europe (NE IOT in IBM parlance) at an education event in Germany. My specialist subject(s)? WebSphere Service Registry and Repository, Service Federation Management, Enterprise Service Bus, and MQTT… the torch for last one of these having been passed to me recently by a very “hard act to follow”, aka Mr Martin Gale.

Assuming I can get back to the UK, and then assuming I can get out of it again, the next conference – and the last one currently in my calendar for this year – is going to be IBM Impact 2010 (#ibmimpact), the premier annual WebSphere event. There, I’ll be teaching about WSRR, presenting on WebSphere Message Broker, and attempting to also provide ongoing commentary of what is happening. Wish me luck! 🙂

Impact 2010 | IBM Software Conference | May 2-8 Las Vegas, NVIf you’re also going to the event and want to get a head start – or perhaps more importantly, if you are not going, but you want to follow along – you might want to check out the Social @ Impact 2010 site, where we’re aggregating content.

Eyjafjallajokull image credit: Boaworm via Wikimedia Commons under a CC license.

Making an IMPACT

Apparently there’s some Rational software conference in Orlando at the end of May. Of course, Lotusphere was out there at the beginning of the year too.

Pah! Forget those! 🙂

For me, the place to be is IBM’s IMPACT SOA conference in Las Vegas – in just a couple of weeks’ time. Barring unexpected circumstances, I should be in town for the duration of the conference.

IBM Impact 2009 - The Smart SOA™ Conference

I’ve been heading to Vegas on a regular basis for the past few years, but it has always been for internal events rather than customer ones. In my role, I’ve always been excited by technology and the innovation we get up to internally – but much, much more importantly, I need to be talking to customers and partners to understand how that technology and innovation is being used in the real world. I’m very much looking forward to talking to WebSphere and other IBM customers about their experiences with our products, what they are looking for from Service Oriented Architectures, and taking those messages back into our labs.

I’m also looking forward to finally meeting a bunch of my colleagues such as the legendarySocial Media Sandy” aka Sandy Carter herself, who I’ve known for a number of years now through various networks, but have never had the opportunity to talk to face-to-face. Incidentally, Sandy has some great background info about different events and partners at IMPACT on her developerWorks blog[*]. I’ve just read her most recent book, Marketing 2.0, and I’ll try to post some comments on that soon as well.

One nice feature of the conference site is that there are a range of widgets and social media tools directly available there, as well as links to different social networks where it will be possible to pick up some of the content.

Let me know if you’ll be at IMPACT, as it would be good to connect with my blog readers.

[*] I’m worried. Sandy has got nearly as many blogs and social network profiles as me now. I need to step up! 🙂

Gadgets part 1: SATA/USB enclosure

It’s a three-part miniseries on gadgets now that I’m back from Las Vegas. If you’ve followed my Flickr then you’ll know what I’m about to talk about. Techie geekery starts here. Yes, I probably shouldn’t get quite so worked up about technology, but here I am.

One thing that I’ve not found that easy to get hold of is an external enclosure for SATA disks. IDE/USB caddies have been pretty widely-available for a while now, but most disks now use the SATA interface so I needed something that would let me backup my Thinkpad onto a spare 200Gb 2.5″ disk I’d been given.

I had a look through a bunch of enclosures in Frys and I have to say I just pretty much went with what seemed simplest (a NexStar SX from Vantec), without really spending too much time on the features… the decision was mainly based on cost ($20) and size. So when I finally (!) got around to opening the box today, I was completely astounded at the quality of the product, given the cost.

The NexStar SX packageThe box itself was solid cardboard (not the flimsy sort of stuff I’d expected). Inside was a soft carry case, and inside that was the metal enclosure itself. The product also ships with a USB cable with a “pass through” socket which seems to enable more devices to be attached, a driver disk, some screws and a screwdriver – very complete.

Once I took the enclosure out of the carry case I had another pleasant surprise. It’s metal and very compact. There are two small squeeze clips at the back… press them in and the top and bottom are released to slide off. The other USB enclosure I’ve previously purchased was really poor compared to this, with ugly screw lugs on the top and a very loose lid… this thing is really elegant. Case open

The only small issue I had was that the Hitachi drive I’d been supplied for my Thinkpad initially would not fit into the actual case, because it is so compact. The side screws made the drive just a little too wide to fit. I had to remove the top cover of the drive (see photo), but since Vantec provided a screwdriver this was no big deal.

That’s really all I have to say, but I just wanted to point out that this seems to be a really good quality bit of kit at a decent price. I probably ought to look for a 3.5″ version and then I can whip out the drives from my old Linux tower before decommissioning it!

Poster at WSTC 2008

I haven’t had a chance to write up many of my thoughts from the WebSphere conference I’m attending in Las Vegas yet – the agenda is, as usual, absolutely jam-packed with content so I’ve not had much time to form notes into blog entries. A bunch of people are twittering from the conference.

If you took one of my cards at the poster session last night, you may be interested to find out more about me and links to the tools we were discussing via my internal blog.