Saturday, March 11th, 2006

Well, I'm going to attend again this year, and I'll brag-um, blog about it again, too. Visit my new home site to see the 2006 Brainshare blog.

Saturday, March 26th

Well, that's it. Brainshare 2005 is over, and I'm heading back to my family: SLC to Washington, Washington to Amsterdam, where, due to odd things happening in time zones, I'll be landing early Sunday morning if all goes well.
I'd like to give a big thank you to (a) my boss, who made it possible for me to go to Brainshare SLC this year; (b) all the folks over at Novell who've made Brainshare not only a great technical conference, but also a wonderful social gathering; and last but not least (c) my family, who I've had to miss the whole week.
This weblog -- such as it is -- is finished; I hope you had as much reading it as I had writing it.

Friday, March 25th

Today's sessions:

Thursday, March 24th

Today's sessions:

Hey, here's an interesting fact: 53% of the people reading this blog uses Firefox; 37% uses IE6. Hmm?
By the way, anyone wishing to contact me can do so by mailing to bert at myrealbox dot com.

Wednesday, March 23rd

Today's sessions:

During Brainshare, Novell takes over most of SLC. Including, apparently, the local water bottling company.

There are some bona fida programmers walking around here at Brainshare.

The have-nots (most folks have their own laptops) using the Novell provided laptops (running, of course, Novell Linux Desktop)

The main concourse during a quiet moment.

Tuesday, March 22nd

Today's sessions:

The (in)famous ad that could be seen right in front of the convention center, and also at the SLC airport (thanks to Michael Schwab)

The LAN tournament. All work and no play...

Fat pigs @ Brainshare

St Charles street relocated. Hey, somebody want to buy the Brooklyn bridge?

Handing out the prizes.

Monday, March 21st

Today's sessions:

Sunday, March 20th

Hells bells, it was snowing in SLC this morning! Apparently I was quite lucky to actually have arrived yesterday: on the Brainshare newsgroup there is a horror story by Andreas Bach about how he and some friends had to drive down to SLC all the way from Minneapolis as their flight was cancelled because of lots of snow.

I've been trudging through most of town this morning, partly to revive my legs after the long flight yesterday, but also to try and find a power plug adapter for my laptop. (I actually did pack a plug adapter -- I'm not that stupid -- but I didn't think it necessary to test whether that adapter would actually take my laptop power cord.) I had a fun time in one of the few shops that was actually open on Sunday morning, Sam Weller's Zion Bookstore. I bought Terry Pratchett's Monstrous Regiment (see also Wikipedia!), which I'd already 'read' as an audiobook, and a second hand copy of Douglas Coupland's Shampoo Planet , on which, for some odd reason, someone had pencilled 'chumpoo planet'. Not wishing to overload before Brainshare had actually started, I had to leave Yann Martel's Life of Pi, Dan Brown's Digital Fortress (I'm still busy with the audiobook version of Da Vinci Code), Robert A. Heinlein's The Man Who Sold The Moon, and a P.G. Wodehouse Jeeves omnibus behind. I was also temped by a book called Mormonism for Dummies. Hey, I'm in Salt Lake City, ok?

I also managed to register at Brainshare, and pick up my bag of goodies. The bag ('the coolest bag you've ever seen') is a smaller version of the bag they handed out at Brainshare 2004 in Barcelona, which makes it more usable on a day to day basis. Inside the bag was the usual collection of sponsor material, and a whole bunch of forms to fill out and hand in to those same sponsors, so that you get the chance to win an iPod or something similar, and they get your name and address and the right to pester you with their material until the end of time...

I was a bit woozy at the reception, and, no, it wasn't the drinks -- my body is still at Central European Time. Had a talk with a couple of people, such as fellow dutchie Rob Bastiaansen (of VMWare+NetWare fame), who admitted that with the load of new and changed software coming out of Novell these days it becomes increasingly difficult to be a general Novell specialist: you have to specialise into a certain direction.

When I arrived at the convention center, there was a semi-truck standing in front, with a bill board saying "Are you sure Novell is getting you where you want to be? Take a look at Microsoft Windows Server!" (or something similar -- I said I was woozy). When I went out again to take a snapshot, they had gone. Dunno if they went of their own accord...

Early Sunday morning in SLC

Ditto, with snow-covered mountains

The convention center before it was overrun with a few thousand bag-toting geeks

The coolest bag you've ever seen ;-)

Crappy pic (hey, phone camera, all right?) of the band at the reception. The female lead singer has approx the same qualifications as the one in the Dutch band Rubber (bit of an inside joke..)

Saturday, March 19th

I made it. I'm in SLC. I'm staying in the Little America hotel, which I recommend to all my millionaire friends. It's nearly midnight (local time) now, and about 8am body time, so I'll go and get some sleep.
View from my hotel room...

Friday, March 18th

Brainshare is the annual get-together for anyone involved with, or interested in, Novell or it's software.

I used to be a trainer on Novell software, and later on even a Novell Support Engineer, but when I started work for my current boss, my professional involvement with Novell has mostly stopped. My current employer is nothing but pragmatical, and if the customers want Microsoft, -- and that, by and large, is what they want -- that's what they're going to get.

Nevertheless I've always kept an eye on developments at Novell; occasionally, I've informed my collegues about these, and I tried to make 'em see that any advice would be a better advice -- or at least a better-founded one -- if we took into account all that the market had to offer, rather than just what the customer had heard about.

This has earned me the epithet "The Novell man".

Occasionally, some of my collegues try to get my goat by exclaiming that "Novell is dead". And, in a way, they'd be right, to the extent that the customers, by and large, weren't interested in Novell, or its solutions. "Novell... NetWare, wasn't it? Great product, great product. Very stable. Unfortunately, we're using Windows, now. Well, we had to: we needed an application server after all."

Recently, however, with the acquisition of Ximian and SuSE, Novell is trying to reinvent itself as a Linux company. Few companies ever get a second chance (anyone remember Banyan?); Novell hasn't pulled it off, yet, but at least they're moving again. It'll be interesting to see what Novell is going to do in the next few months... Anyways.

Flight schedule: Sat 19th @ 16.35 from Amsterdam to Minneapolis (flight NW55, 9 hours), then at 21.23 on to Salt Lake City (NW677, 2.43), where I'll be landing 23.11. I'm staying in hotel Little America, in one of the Tower rooms.