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TechWave 2007

A run-through of the events

This year TechWave 2007 took place at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas. For those of you who didn't make it, the following is a recap of the events, with a couple of thoughts and suggestions thrown in.

Sunday
Officially the only thing going on Sunday was conference registration. However, there is a private TeamSybase/Sybase reception on Sunday evening where, among other things, new TeamSybase members are inducted. This year we added one new member: Roland Smith. Photos of the reception - along with all the other photos I've taken at TechWave - are available at http://public.fotki.com/brucearmstrong/techwave/2007/.

The quality is a little spotty. I just purchased a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3 just for TechWave to get better shots (it's still a compact point and shoot, but it has 10x optical zoom), but it really chews up the battery and I didn't have a spare battery. So some of the shots are taking from my Cingular 8525, which is only 2.0 megapixel and has a lot more limited zoom capability (but otherwise is a great phone/Pocket PC).
Mandalay Bay is certainly an improvement over Caesar's Palace. I've never stayed here before; my entire experience with Mandalay Bay was simply visiting to see the Shark Experience. They've got some real nice pools (which I haven't had time to visit yet) including one that has a wave generator. The rooms are pretty nice as well.

In any event, so far I'm happier with this year's TechWave than last year, but I'd still like to see it held someplace other than Las Vegas. I'm ready to go back to the East Coast, even if it means risking hurricanes again.

Monday
Registration

Monday was the day I actually registered. It looks like Sybase saved a little money by reusing some of the materials from last year's TechWave; I seem to remember the TechWave logo from last year. The bean bag chairs in the registration area (where I assumed the wi-fi was available) were a nice touch. The Tech Support Lab was just off the registration area. That's one of the areas where TeamSybase would hang out. This year they had a separate Alliance lounge for customers who have Alliance support plans. The Tech Support Lab was for the rest of us. E-mail kiosks were available as well, as in previous TechWaves. This year the publications were being distributed from the first station in the registration area, which was much more convenient than previous years. The entrance to the exhibit hall was between the registration area and the wi-fi area, which was next to the Tech Support Lounge. The e-mail kiosks were directly across from the registration area. I really liked how all this was laid out. When we were at Caesar's, the wi-fi lounge and tech support lab were basically hidden past the entrance to the exhibit hall. Here at Mandalay Bay you walked into the South Pacific Ballroom and everything was immediately available: e-mail kiosks both to the right and left, wi-fi lounge to the right, registration to the left, tech support lounge to the far right, and exhibit hall straight ahead.

Welcome Session
The food was really good this year and there was lots of it, although they cleaned up a bit early. The DJ was a bit too loud for those of us trying to carry on conversations. Unlike previous TechWaves, no other particular action was going on other than food, drinks, and the DJ (no men on stilts, no game show), and I didn't really miss them.

Tuesday Morning
Continental Breakfast

Once again a continental breakfast was provided on Tuesday through Friday mornings. This year they included a breakfast burrito. Good move, although I went out and got my own breakfast supplies and ate before coming down to the conference center. What was more important, at least to me, was that there were plenty of places serving Starbucks coffee on the way to the conference center, including one just outside the entrance. There was another just outside the hotel elevators, so I usually just stopped there first.

Opening Keynote
Once again John Chen (CEO and president of Sybase) gave the opening keynote (http://s3.podiumsystems.com/sybase/techwave2007/keynote1.html). A lot of what was discussed focused around the "butterfly chart," which also appears on the main Sybase Web page. What I took away from his discussion of the "Unwired Enterprise" is that Sybase is finally expressing one single, focused, aligned vision for the company. Without that, and with all their various products, they were beginning to look like Computer Associates: a lot of product with no unifying purpose or vision. The "butterfly chart" is the first real clear presentation I've seen that links all of their new products and acquisitions together with the existing "mature" products into a common strategy.

John was followed by Ross Mauri of IBM and then Johnathan Sher of HTC. Both IBM and HTC were gold sponsors of the conference, although IBM picked up and left after the first day for some reason. It was exciting seeing HTC there, as they are a real up-and-coming company. For some reason, seeing IBM there wasn't quite as exciting. Perhaps it's because they've been there for a few years, or because they weren't talking about cutting-edge technology. I'm sure IBM's System p is a tremendous improvement on prior systems, but it's an incremental improvement in a mature market, whereas HTC is a leader in a new market area.


More Stories By Bruce Armstrong

Bruce Armstrong is a development lead with Integrated Data Services (www.get-integrated.com). A charter member of TeamSybase, he has been using PowerBuilder since version 1.0.B. He was a contributing author to SYS-CON's PowerBuilder 4.0 Secrets of the Masters and the editor of SAMs' PowerBuilder 9: Advanced Client/Server Development.

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