Made it ... up at 4.30 for a 7am flight to Vegas, help out at the demo grounds, talk to customers and partners, do my ppt thang, run for a plane, get scared stupid Im going to die in the air, back home at 12am ... thats my Collaborate 07 experience for this year ... I'll explain.
Im up pretty early anyway, 5am to help my poor teenage son get up for school. Its funny how as soon as you turn 13 you develop an inexplicable ability to sleep until 12pm unless your mater or pater turf you out of bed. Anyway, yesterday, that extra 1/2 hour earlier was tough for even me. I blame it for missing the stewardess on my flight as she came by with drinks. I saw her three rows infront of me ... I fell asleep ... I woke up, she was three rows behind me ... dang!
Got to crazy Vegas ... not my favorite town I have to admit. They seem to be constantly building over and over, bigger and bigger hotels, with more and more luxury. Weird to fly in over miles of desolate desert to then come across this huge area of urban sprawl with the best looking downtown area you'll ever see. No skyscrapers just displaced replica skylines of Paris and New York; massive hotels reaching skyward with sumptuous interiors, the waterfall displays at the Bellagio are mesmerizing, the pyramid at Luxor is perhaps the one building that does fit in to the landscape. The Mandalay Bay, where Collaborate is this year was busy, the 'beach' out back with the wave machine looked real inviting but time to find a network connection and catch up on some mail and check the presentation and demos.
Then down to the demogrounds to meet a few colleagues I had not see not for a long time, who promptly disappeared leaving me to hold the fort, OK Im exaggerating a little. It was great to see we had EBS, PeopleSoft and JDE demo pods that could show off XMLP for Apps and a BIEE pod for the standalone release ... all of them seemed to have a constant stream of visitors. There were plenty of Oracle partners who have been developing solutions and services around XMLP, its great to see a higher and higher level of expertise out there to help folks with implementations and solutions. I heard that just about all of the XMLP related sessions I wrote about last week were packed to the rafters with standing room only.
Then 4.30 came around, so off to my room, to greet a fair number of folks. I billed the presentation as XMLP for everyone across the Oracle Applications groups ... it had to sit on OAUG or the Quest track. There does not seem to be provision for sessions that cross over hence the overwhelming EBS contingent compared to the PeopleSoft (1) and JDE (2) attendees. I focused on the Apps implementations, apologies to those of you there for the standalone .. I barely touched it but then again that was not what the session was for. Some slides, some demos, some laughs and then questions and before I knew it we had reached 6pm ... I had to be on my flight by 7, so time to get going. Before that, heres the useful bit for this entry, a link to the presentation that many folks asked for, you can download the presentation here:
Made it to the airport, still 30 mins before the flight was due to leave ... too late for the carrier's rules to check in but a fantastic lady got me a boarding card and then cleared me through the first class security line ... line?, there was no line ... out to the gate with the last folks just boarding ... made it. Thats when the 'fun' started ... we were warned I have to admit but what a shock it was when it came. 'Ladies and Gentlemen, this is the captain speaking. Tonights flight is going to be a little bumpy so we recommend you stay in your seats with your belts fastened' - fair enough, but they always recommend that dont they. About 40 mins in, no seat belt sign and suddenly it feels like the plane just dropped 500 feet, the guy infront of me nearly whacked his head on the ceiling ... seat belt light on ... another big bump ... nervous laughter all around ... cinch that belt a little more. Chief steward comes on to ask folks to kindly get back to their seats, then interrupted by the captain demanding everyone including the cabin crew get to their seats and stay there ... he sounded quite worried. We then seemed to loose a lot of altitude to get out of the 'air pockets'- 'pockets'? ... they were downright pant legs if you ask me! It was heart in mouth time for a while, at least not stomach on the floor ... now that would have been bad. Things calmed down a little after that and once we touched down there was a lot of cheering ... being a reserved Englishman I managed light applause which would equate to loud 'whooping' from a native of these shores .. yes I was relieved to be down.
Another Collaborate closes ... I got a lot from my day ... we first released XMLP in 2004 and 3 years later and there are still so many folks out there to reach out to and share XMLP with ... thanks to OAUG for letting us come and to Nadia for making it happen.