Vegas birthday conference

Spent the past week in Las Vegas for the IBM WebSphere Services Technical Conference. Had a direct flight from Gatwick with Virgin Atlantic which was infinitely preferable to having to spend an extra couple of hours in some random US airport. We were based in the Rio for the week both for accommodation and the conference itself. Much more pleasant being off the Strip (in fact, I only made it to the Strip once and that was for an early morning run) although it did mean it was possible to spend the entire day inside a dry air-conditioned box. Sadly, by the time the presentations were over for each day the sun had dropped behind the buildings meaning that the hotel’s pool and beach weren’t as enticing as they might have been.


The conference coincided with my 30th birthday but, as I was presenting the following morning, there wasn’t much of a chance to celebrate. I didn’t wake up with lots of grey hair the next day though so I guess I’ve survived the change of decade! Made it up to the Voodoo Cafe/Bar on the 51st floor of the Rio on a couple of occasions. It was nice to be outside and offered good views over the lights of Vegas.

Went to see Penn and Teller (also in the Rio) one night. I can’t have watched as many of their shows on TV as some of my colleagues as I recognised very few of the tricks. It didn’t start too well as, from our seats, we could see Teller sneak in to the box on stage behind a black panel that shot out from the wings. The couple of tricks that they revealed the workings of were also pretty obvious. That said, it was all good entertainment and I had to resort to Google to find out how the final “Magic Bullet” illusion worked!

As for the conference itself, if nothing else it served to demonstrate the need to specialise as there is really far too much WebSphere for any one person to get their head around. My presentations on “Service Integration Bus Security”, “Service Integration Bus Advanced Topics” and “Introduction to Java Message Service” all seemed to go well. Let’s just hope they don’t result in an inbox full of questions over the next few weeks.

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