Looking Back

September 25th, 2006

To all,

Back in office and looking back at last week…

1.  The sessions I attended were all really good.  Some, such as the sessions on regulatory compliance were big eye openers for the attendees. 

2.  The demos in the 300 rooms were poorly advertised, but once I found them, well the techie in me was in heaven :-)

3.  I heard the same comments that I heard when I helped with the scheduling at InterWorks, why was that session up against that one.  Well that’s life.. Having done that before, the conference committee, usually all volunteers, can only do so much.  This years group did a helluva good job.

4.  Will I go again? Yep.

5.  Was I frustrated that a lot of labs were ’scheduled’ full, but seats open.  Yes.

6.  Did I get a lot of value for the time and energy as a speaker?  Absolutely.  The speaker benefits, allowed for me to speak and moderate a panel discussion and then get into a number of sessions which will better enable me to contribute to my companies new agendas and projects.  

7.  I personally would not like to have breakouts scheduled during lunch.

As Roy and Dale would sorta say, ”Happy Trails-  till next year

Day 4

September 21st, 2006

To all,

The Tech Forum has come to a close.  Overall, this was a great success in my opinion.  I met up with a lot of ex-Interex members, more specifically InterWorks techies.  Also ran into a CAMUS member, Terry Floyd,  who was really impressed about the conference.  We talked about the old days of HPWorld and other conferences we attended. 

The networking here was great. I was able to meet the folks working with Integrity and the XP disc arrays.  As speaker, we were all treated very well.   

As a last day keynote, of sorts, the comedian Sinbad did a stand-up routine ala Dave Barry, HPWorld 98′ in San Diego.  The  highlight, was when he was reading the conference guide, he commented that for next year in Las Vegas, we should limit all sessions for 15 minutes!  I liked that idea…LOL..

Again, I’d like to thank Encompass for giving me the opportunity for writing this blog…. 

Day 2 is in the books..

September 19th, 2006

Day 2 is done.  The panel discussion went well, all things considered.  There have been reported minor issues thorughout the two days such as rooms not set up correctly for the panels.  I have also heard that the response to correct and make things right have been fantastic. 

On day 1, there was a lot of confusion in the hotels away from the convention center concerning transportation and when certain speakers were talking, specifically HP management. I missed Mark Hurds presentation because I was told the wrong time. 

Some of the ‘open’ HP hardware demos have been fantastic.  Truly hands on.  The hansd-on labs have been full. 

On a side note, I’ve seen a number of ex-Interex members here this year, especially in the Linux areas.  The biggest news is the new ‘vision’ for HP-UX.  Looks like HP is going to be releasing HP-UX 11.11 v3 ( yes 3) around the  end of the year.  The news has been on slides in a lot of HP-UX and Integrity presentations. 

I would like to thank Encompass foir allowing me to report what I’ve heard and seen.  Getting ready for an 8 AM presentation, my last for this conference..


Oh yeah, it’s viva Las Vegas, Manadalay Bay, for next year.  The announcement is on the last page of the program and it’s moved up to June…


People Who Understand

September 19th, 2006

When I come to these conferences, I’m hoping to find “People Who Understand.”

I’ve been in the IT biz for 25 years, and I’ve been attending technical conferences for the last 24 years. I eventually came to realize that one of the benefits of attending a good technical conference is the exposure to People Who Understand. These are the people who aren’t satisfied with simply making a problem go away. They want to understand it, learn from it, and solve it thoroughly and effectively. They don’t fear technology; they embrace it, and put it to work. They’re the people who really want to understand the tools and use them well. They’re the folks who understand best practices deep down inside, and live them because it’s the right thing to do. You can talk shop with them, learn from them, inform them. You can tell them about the thorny problems you’re trying to solve, or that you’ve already solved, and they’ll understand.

Have I found “People Who Understand” at the HP Technology Forum? You bet. Sometimes it’s the speaker, sometimes another attendee at lunch, and sometimes an exhibitor at the Technology Exchange. Or it’s one of my Encompass colleagues I’ve met over the years at these conferences and other Encompass activities.

On to more mundane things… The food has been reasonably good so far. I was hooked on the grilled paninis at the Saturday “meet and greet.” (Okay, the smores weren’t so exciting.) I like the fresh fruit and chilled water that’s been plentiful throughout the sessions. I liked the food at the Monday reception at the Technology Exchange and at the Encompass Volunteer Reception afterwards.

I guess I’m getting used to the hallway layout, but so far it’s been like a “maze of twisty little passages, all alike.”

Oh yeah, sessions. (I knew there was I reason came to this conference.) I caught some very good sessions. I must also confess I walked out of one early because it turned out not to be what I wanted. I felt guilty walking out, because it was a small well-lit room; there was no way to slip out discreetly. Oh well, not all the sessions are going to match my needs and expectations. I dutifully filled out the session feedback at the Connection Points, which helps the speakers and helps the session selection process for the 2007 HP Technology Forum.

A comment I heard throughout the day on Monday was that there should have been breaks in the Monday-morning general session. That was the session that featured Mark Hurd and a parade of others. It was a marathon of two and a half hours of sitting, without a single break.


Sunday afternoon

September 18th, 2006

To all,

Just a quick update on todays activitities.  While Encompass and all the vendors prepared for tomorrow at the Convention Center (CC), there were several all day seminars held at the Hilton, adjacent to the CC.  One of them was ’Advance HP-UX System Admin techniques by Bill Hassell.  There were around 30 IT admins in his session and they were provided with a lot of really good stuff.  The facilities staff of Encompass and the Hilton did a great job in getting everything set up in advance, including Internet access which allowed ‘Real Time’ examples and demos.  Registration was significantly smoother than last year.  Even registering as a speaker was easy.  After registration, Encompass and HP sponsored the ‘Meet and Greet’ reception on the second floor of the CC. 

Getting ready to hear what the HP speakers are going to say tomorrow.  Could be interesting, especially if  the  ramifications of the recent week are discussed….


Getting ready

September 14th, 2006

As the conference approaches, I’ll be participating in three different sessions. One as a panel moderator, one as a co-speaker, and lastly my own session.  Each session has it’s own unique benefits and challenges. 

Initially my main focus was getting together a group of experts in Business Continuity Planning.  I feel that the six panelists will provide six unique views on the various aspects of BCP.  I’ve lined up experts on infrastructure for HP-UX and OpenVMS, a database and applications specialist, an expert on what it takes to develop a BCP, a CIO to bring in a management perfspective, and lastly the operations manager of one of the worlds largest data centers specializing in business continuity processing to be on the panel.  As co-speaker for a session on OpenMPE, i worked closely with a great group of people dedicated to the support of the only operating system ‘invented’ by HP.

My last presentation, was originally a ’stand-by’ and I guess someone couldn’t make the date and I was asked if I still wanted to do it.  Like the old mustard commercials, I said ‘Of course’.  This session is related to MPE and how to get ready for disasters and how to recover.   It will also look at issues such as training, how to get hardware, and the need for repetitive testing. 

The presentations have all been uploaded to Encompass for set-up, the various reservations for travel, hotel and car have been confirmed, meetings set up, speaker anxiety is starting to grow as the days count down for the conference. Hopefully, my experience as a speaker at several previous HPWorld conferences will ease the butterfiles as Monday approaches.

Next update will be the hectic day before travel.  That has always been one of the hardest days. Closing up all the work in progress, getting those last emails out, setting the phones to call someone else, setting out of office messages, making sure Internet access is correct on the laptop.. 

“Planet Houston” from Superman II, here we come. I look forward to seeing lots of friends in Houston next week and making a whole lot more.


Welcome Message from Chuck

September 12th, 2006


Welcome to Chuck Ciesinski’s blog as I prepare for the 2006 HP Technology Forum in Houston, Texas. I Hope you’ll find my experiences as a speaker and attendee informative over the next couple of weeks.



Using the Scheduler

September 11th, 2006

Have you tried the session scheduler? I booked out almost my entire time for the conference. I’m curious how this compares to your experiences with the scheduler.

This year, I’m glad to see that all scheduled conference activities are in the scheduler, including the sessions, of course, but also Birds-of-a-Feather sessions, Encompass meetings, and vendor theaters in the Technology Exchange. The pre-conference seminars aren’t in the scheduler, however. You need to register for those separately.

My first stop was the session catalog. My preference was to look at the sessions track by track. For the must-have sessions, I scheduled them as soon as I ran across them. For the rest, I added them to “My Interests” to let the auto-scheduler do its thing later on.

That suited me well enough, but when I ran the auto-scheduler, I found that the auto-scheduler wouldn’t accept more than 30 sessions in My Interests. I had chosen 64. Oops. I had to take a second pass through the sessions to decide which ones I really wanted to see, which isn’t such a bad thing.

I made a few refinements, especially when it turned out I had some unscheduled time. Fortunately, the scheduler also let me take a time-slot view instead of a track view, so that I could see what was available in each slot.

I also scheduled a few personal items. That was handy, especially because it let me put in the times I wanted, and didn’t force me into the session schedule slots. The “day view” shows more information for personal items than the “week view,” which is the default view.

I was able to export the calendar successfully as a vCal file. The time zone to choose was Central Time, labeled as GMT-06:00 even though Houston will still be on Daylight Saving Time. (CDT is at GMT-05:00). I wasn’t sure at first whether I should enter my time zone or the Houston time zone, and whether I should pick the correct GMT offset for Daylight Saving Time or whether I should pick the correct name instead, which used the Standard Time GMT offsets. I imported the vCal file into Outlook, successfully, but when the appointments synchronized into my iPAQ, they showed up as all-day appointments — on the wrong days. I had to edit and save each item manually in Outlook for them to synch correctly on my iPAQ. When I told my iPAQ I was visiting Central Time, all appointments were displayed correctly.

Do you know what my worst problem was? I had to keep getting my password reset. I’m a strong believer in not using one password for all purposes. As a result, I have to remember a slew of passwords. I don’t even use a common pattern. Usually, I can handle it, but I kept forgetting my password for the Technology Forum. Oh well, at least the password reset was pretty fast.

Welcome from Jim

September 8th, 2006

Hi, Jim Becker here. I’ll be writing about the HP Technology Forum (September 17-21, in Houston, Texas) from an attendee perspective and from an Encompass perspective.