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Blog Category: conference

Engage 2015

This post is WAYYYYY late but never mind (I promise no more false starts or Kale pictures)

Each year we tootle off to the Engage/Blug conference knowing full well that @theoheselmans is not going to be able to top last years awesome conference.

Each year we are wrong…. and this year was no exception, so much so that I forgot to take pictures of a number of the important stuff (including the OGS and the Library at the venue)

This time LDC were there as LDC Via and we went live with our first product on the first day of the conference.

It was great to be a proper sponsor and we had a steady stream of interested people, gave lots of demos and walked away with some good solid leads

Aren’t we a handsome bunch

We were presenting this year and @benpoole was making a return to the stage


He did a marvellous job and we got the biggest turn out for the sponsor sessions

(however he captioned the following 2 pictures himself)

@stickfight “…and then I told @benpoole what a good job he did presenting @ldcvia

@MattWhite “LOL!”


@stickfight “Are we bringing @benpoole next time?”

@MattWhite “Hmm. Maybe stick to @woowar?”

Frenzied highlight of the conference from a personal point of view was the speed sponsoring where I got to rant madly at the entertained attendees while @MattWhite tried to read my mind to determine which of LDCVia’s feature set he should be demoing at any given second


On none-LDC Via business, a chat with Rene Winkelmeyer gave me a jaw dropping programming tip I simply would have never thought of and the tech sessions were as diverse as they were high quality, I also got to catch up with just about everybody I know as well as meet a bunch of new people.

Vibe wise: Engage was far far more upbeat than the IBM/Domino situation would warrant, but that has always been the case, now that Lotusphere/Connect is gone I rank it as the best conference to go to, and talking with some of my oldest clients who were making their first visit I was not the only one.

Lastly there was Ghent it’s self, a city I have never been to and it looks like I was really missing out, thanks again to @theoheselmans for giving me the chance to see it.




IBM ConnectED2015 All work and no play

(If this post sounds a bit world weary its not meant to be)

Sooooo, the ‘last lotusphere’ has come and gone, leaving a warm feeling* and more than a few tears, how did IBM handle the passing of one of their longest running conferences.

It was a far smaller conference (or rather intimate as IBM have stated) but it was sized as such so we were not rattling around in the 11,000 space that we have for previous years, there seemed to be just over 2000 of us with a few space issues, it looks like IBM padded the numbers a little bit too much with their own staff (although with IBM staff no one knew or cared about while denying access to the people the comunity really wanted to see)

Looking at the new offerings it feels like a major change coming from IBM, during the good times IBM products did 80% of what the clients wanted with the parters like LDC filling in the remaining 20%, however in the last few years IBM products have only been providing 50%-60% of what clients wants (compared to the competition) meaning people simply did not buy them and thus the partners got to provide 0%, now IBM seem to be fighting back with their design team leading the charge, however to me they seem to aiming to provide about 95% of what clients want…will the remaining 5% be worth waiting round for? (though it has been pointed out to me that 5% of a much bigger pie would still be a good thing)

To me a lot of what is shown was designed for users not partners, I think that the age of partners is nearly over

IBM Verse

  1. On par with GMail (even if there is a lot of mad icon placement)
  2. Some unique features such as the mute thread and the waiting for action (ooooh is that going to be abused by managers), xpages intergeneration side verse and running on bluemix.

Connections Next

  1. Lots of new features a lot of them aimed at the cloud, I need to have a look at them in detail to pass judgement, but such a sudden jerk away from on premises, runs a bad risk of angering existing customers while not gaining any new ones,

LDC were there in force (or rather LDCVia as we are are now named to match our first product) and nicely on brand even if were cant manage the reputable part yet.

Julian and Ben handled the night time work and the socialising, I seemed to end up talking to partners while wearing smart trousers and a shirt (I’m not sure how this happened), but it was good talking about a real product we have built and how we could glue it to other vendors offerings to build something even better.

Matt was hugely missed but as he and his good lady were getting ready for the arrival of their second born I suppose we can let it slide just this once (but don’t let it happen again)

I did not do hardly any drinking or going out this year mainly due to being shattered at the end of each day and also having work to do, but the turtles ( Gab, Tim and Mike) insisted that I go out for a round Epcot pub crawl (a drink at every country) which turned out to be one of the best nights I have ever had at the conference, why Why WHY had we never done this before


Personally this was the most business orientated conference I have ever done, other than the fact I was in jeans less than half the time, this was the first time I have got to go to the leadership Alliance, that and the champion status let me talk to a lot more people about “stuff” than I ever have before. there was also far less “conferencing” for me, I did not attend the closing sessions or any of the IBM parties but still only managed a few hours sleep a night as there was so much going on (I was also looking for work and that takes up time)


The session of the conference goes to Mark Roden’s and Mark Leusinks excellent “The future of web development write once, run everywhere with angular js and domino” which had everything a good session should have

  1. Topical (AngularJS)
  2. Relevant to target audience (Domino)
  3. Interesting and well presented
  4. Something to take home (the app is live)

The future of web development write once, run everywhere with angular js and domino from Mark Leusink

Happily my own session went over quite well, with a reasonable turn out (my sessions being so fringe are never that well populated) and excellent audience participation. so I’m happy.

Where does this leave next year??, the merging of this conference into the giant IBM one in Vegas makes a lot of sense to a certain marketing point of view, but it would also kill the life and technical content of the conference formally known as lotusphere, leaving only the lugs to go to if you want to learn anything, but as marketing hold the purse strings for this kind of thing I dare say they will have their way (booo)

All in all a great conference and even if it was the last one it was a great send off, roll on Engage in march

*Like pissing your self in a dark suit

UK ICON 2014

So what was UK LUG has risen from the grave at the hands of ‘Tim Clark’, and this year was a one day event hosted at IBM South bank.

The location was cool as it not only added an air of authority to the conference its self but cut down on the costs as food/booze and venue are the chief expenses on such a conference (so thanks to IBM for that)

What I don’t know is how Tim managed to get IBM to let him have such a diverse set of session that talked not only about IBM technologies but NON IBM technologies, it made for a conference where there was at least 2 sessions I wanted to go to in every slot and a lot of stunned looking but happy conference attendees.

One of the golden rules of a conference is to have it out the way somewhere where the attendees can’t escape so they can be sold stuff, breaking this rule means you stand a large chance of attendees disappearing during the day as they bugger off to do something more interesting, the fact that the closing session was as full as the opening one at a conference held in the middle of London’s south bank on a sunny Friday says everything that needs to be said about the quality of the conference

Two thumbs up and a lot of thanks to Tim

Speaking of content, here is my short session, there was not a huge number of people (there never is on my fringe tech sessions) but it was the best and most responsive crowd I have ever presented to, most enjoyable.


thanks to theo for making me look fat and pissed off during my session Album

jQuery UK 2014 Day 2

Day 2 of the jQuery UK conference was the formal conference day with about 700 people in attendance.

It felt quite strange going to an open source conference for a none fringe project, particularly one that is treated as a product and used by many thousands of websites

On one side they do formal updates as you would expect from a corporation but as no one can fire them and they have no shareholders or such they can also tackle tricky subjects head on as well as take insults personally, which is a lovely change (although prone to a bit of ranting)

Much of conference context was very different to traditional corporate conferences due to the age of the attendees ( or rather the time they have been in IT) so they don’t have the history and background that many old farts have, as a presenter I am used to trying to pull people into this year (or even decade) while on the other hand dealing with people who have been programming computers since I was in nappies, in contrast this audience had a lot of people who are totally cutting edge but has only been in the business for a a few years (God I feel old).

The Good

  • Excellent Content, bloody hell I don’t think there was a single time slot that I did not want to be in 2 places at once, it was also placed well (the hardware hacking session at the end was the best finale)
  • Slide decks, I felt quite ashamed of my own slide decks in comparison to the ones used here and mine are a long way from being the worst I have seen, all of the side decks were interactive, responsive and browsers based, asking around came up with 3 possible candidates for the software doing the magic Slides, Proxi and reveal-js although my vote goes on reveal-js as that runs on node.js and I saw a lot of URLs that matched its pattern, anyway its time to buck up my ideas on that score.
  • Organisation and refreshments for the conference was organised by White October who kept everything ticking over just nicely with unlimited red bull and water, yahhhh

The Less Good

  • The were 3 tracks and basically only the main track had enough room in it, the other 2 tracks did not have enough capacity, I did not manage to get into any of them and neither did a lot of other people
  • Not really for beginners, I know that sounds stupid but it was generally taken as a given that you knew jQuery and used it on a daily basis, this was not a conference if you were new to jQuery and wanted to know what it was about and how to use it best.

—V Even though the actual conference was on an industrial estate, it was a very pretty industrial estate



—^ Coo a full conference, not seen that in a while


—^ The hardware hacking session was roll around on the floor funny, very well done and opened up lot of avenues that you can put your javascript knowledge to work with


—^ The goodie bag was excellent, no waste and thankfully in a carrier bag so there was no need to chuck out another useless and crummy backpack, I even kept some of the bits of paper as they were informative not just shinny things for directors to read, the freebies offered by the vendors obviously did not come from marketing as they were actually useful,

jQuery UK 2014 Day 1

AngularJS has been a library that I never really saw the point of, back end server languages + the excellent front end frameworks such as jQuery and bootstrap have always delivered far more than even my most demanding corporate clients could want or need,  however while booking my ticket to the jQuery conference 2014 I  noticed that one of the workshops being held beforehand was entitled ‘Diving into AngularJS’  I figured that perhaps I just did not appreciate the framework’s better points and I should man up and learn it, also the fact it was being presented by Peter Bacon Darwin a well known member of the AngularJS world and a published author was not going to hurt

Initially I thought I had made a mistake, there were lots of mistakes in the printed version of the exercises and a distinct lack of structure to the course, then I pulled the stick out my arse and started playing proper attention,  the course was never designed to be completed in one day the material is a full course that you can do at your own leisure with all materials located on,  Peter was there to guide you over the tricky humps, answer your questions and WTF moments as well as give you the background reasoning to a lot of the baffling areas of angular, 

The day was in microcosm an exact replica of the classic AngularJS learning curve —V and Peter’s presence was the reason for that, hopefully this means I wont hit this save curve on a live project


In additional it provided me with a personal epiphany when it comes to javascript, I have never really enjoyed the asynchronous nature of javascript, it never had the same control that I am used to with things like Java multi-threading or better still Scala’s Actors, but peter took me though the whole thing and introduced me to the library and its AngularJS derivative $q, I had been using javascript promises the same as everyone else (even if we don’t call them that) but this really opened my eyes on the whole subject :)

Frankly put I learnt more than my brain can absorb in a day, very very good value


Blug Day 1 and 2

Well my first Blug is over and I have to say I am very impressed, Theo Heselmans is a genius and the fact that there was actual IBM backing, both in terms of people and in terms of money made a real difference, apparently Blug is now the largest lotus user group in the world.

The feel was very professional as well as relaxed, I made more contacts and had more serious conversations then even at Connect 2013 and shock of shock there were even times when I exchanged business cards with people when both of us REALLY wanted to rather than it being one sided or for politesses sake.

Both the food and drink for the event were amazing and seemed to be none time based (at Connect and other conferences its always “how much can we get down out throats within the time limit”)

The venue was awesome, the Faculty Club in Leuven

for some reason I have yet to grasp I did not take any pictures of the bleeding inside (face palm)

The first proper day of blug started with a apparently amazing keynote where notes 9 would be released, I say amazing because I was skulking in the speaker room as all my clients had noticed I was busy and so were having melt downs but even here Blug did us proud as the network was nice and fast even when Notes 9 was released and 200+ people pounded the hell out of the network.

I did have time in between sessions, client needs and hard core social interaction to not only have squint at the freebie bag, which unbelievably had some things in it I wanted to keep (this has not happened since the last Ilug) but also kept the bag its self (a note to all conference organisers, unless you are giving us a brand name back pack that’s better than our current one a book bag is the way to go as we can use it later),

The session I did with Martin Vereecken, Mark Leusink and Matt White went down very well with it filling the room

Blug2013 frameworks from Mark Myers

All credit to the amazing slide deck goes to Martin!

Talking of sessions all the content I saw was brill, absolutely no fillers or restrictions, which produced many near perfect sessions.

Lastly the town of Leuven was spellbinding

You will note that Matt White and I skulked out of the conference to go fetch the gift of chocolate that is required of everybody who visits Belgium, by the end of the conference EVERYBODY had done this task.

Lessons other IBM conferences should learn

  • Having a steady but not extreme flow of wine and beer in the sponsor area makes people come to it all the time and makes them more relaxed so they talk to the sponsors, no need to over do it so they get pissed but just grease the conversation wheels
  • Sugar and caffeine on hand at all times give people energy and makes the more enthusiastic
  • Allow ALL forms of content and presentation just make sure the quality is high.

Blug Day 0

So my first Blug begins, travelling up in a full car with both Matt White and Jullian Woodwood, with thanks to the kindly Tim Clark from TC Soft Consulting for driving us all that way (and letting me kip on his floor).

This conference is a rare thing, a well run conference organised by Theo Heselmans who seems to be a master at the art as well as of getting money out of sponsors, as a speaker I am being treated amazingly, and the venue is jaw dropping, more on that next entry.

First night was the speaker dinner, in which nice food and amazing beer was served. but my main enjoyment was the company, packed with the smartest of the IBM community, I learnt more and made more contacts there than I have done in the last year put together, this included:

  • The new wrappers for the IBM Domino java interfaces , which IBM should have done ages ago but is awesome that the community has taken it on.
  • The discovery from Mikkel Flindt Heisterberg at that the problem with log4j that I simply could not fix in domino CAN’T be fixed (god I feel better knowing that)
  • Tons of what other people are up to from marketing to breaking into new markets.

additional fun was provided by the caricature painter, who managed to make me look better on paper than I have ever done so in real life.

One final thing, the night before the trip was as normal devoted to building the LDC freebies, so if you want one come pester either Matt White, Jullian Woodwood or me

catch you tomorrow

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