OmniUpdate User Conference 2007
Published Saturday March 3rd, 2007 from Camarillo, CA. Listening to Regina Spektor, feeling good.

Left to Right: Mark Glesne, myself, and Ted Rust at the Wyndham hotel at the conclusion of the OmniUpdate User Conference on Tuesday, Feb 27th 2007.

Life has been busy. Maybe it'll slow down a little now, but who knows. Why has life been busy, you ask? Well.. Mostly or nearly entirely it's been because of work. Over the past few weeks I've been doing a site redesign and content migration for a client at work, and then I prepared demos and presentations for the OmniUpdate User Conference as well as go to the conference and give presentations and demonstrations to 30-40 Higher Ed clients. People from Pepperdine, Dartmouth, Univ. of Chicago, the SUNY schools, just to name a select few.

The conference was actually a whole lot of fun, and it was quite a growing experience for me. Saturday Brian Tusi picked me up from my house, we stopped in Thousand Oaks to pick up one of our co-workers Ted Rust and then we were on our way to Palm Springs. As part of the conference the company rented out a mansion that belonged to Howard Hawks and was designed by Howard Hughes. That was neat. It was huge. H-U-G-E. Saturday my boss Lance Merker, Brian, Ted, and another co-worker Mark Glesne, and I played Tennis on Brian's Wii. As the night wore on and people went to bed, Ted and I found ourselves at 5 in the morning drunk off of too many rum-and-cokes trying to figure out how to play Super Mario on the Wii's virtual machine without dying constantly. (The five of us stayed in the mansions rooms the entire time we were in Palm Springs.)

In my Pajamas in Howard Hawks mansion coding XSLT demos to be used in 24 hours during a presentation.

Anyway, woke up Sunday morning at around 11 and began to work up some demonstrations for a new version of OmniUpdate we were going to release/announce at the conference come that Monday. I had to figure out how to write three XML/XSL/XSLT demos with the newly implemented XSL/XSLT functionality Yves Lempereur had just finished adding to the product the night before. Unfortunately because he was busy finishing up the new OmniUpdate 7.0 release (XSL/XSLT) he was unable to join us in Palm Springs at all. Although sometimes difficult, he's rather interesting to listen to especially because of his background in writing BinHex (.hqx) on the Mac as well as having written the first assembler for the Mac. (Yes, I'm shamelessly bragging about this association.)

My boss Lance giving welcome presentation at the Wyndham Hotel in Palm Springs.

I mostly finished by the evening time and had come up with three XSL stylesheets that would transform xml data and do various neat things. So..yea.. XSL is pretty damn cool. It's a behemoth, that's for sure. It's possible to do all sorts of crazy stuff with it. I'm rather looking forward to playing with it more in OmniUpdate's future, even though it's very likely it'll be a pain in my ass. The 7.0 release really closed the xml gap between our competition. It's exciting..

Sunday evening Mark Glesne and I tended to the conference registration table at the Wyndham hotel during a meet-and-greet which kicked-off the conference. The rest of the night ended with me doing more work on demos and presentations back at the mansion until around midnight when I went to bed.

Clockwise starting with me at 7-O-Clock: Me, Ted Rust, Andrew Soderberg, Ron Rosenblum, and Kenny Fass eating lunch at the Wyndham, enjoying ourselves.

Monday morning started at a god-awful 07:30. Keynote presentation by Stephanie Geyer from one of our partners, Noel-Levitz was the first presentation. Seeing statistics and figures from Noel-Levitz is always interesting and relevant. I'd find a link to some information put out by them, but I'm too lazy and I doubt any of my readers (you, and you, and you) would read it. Hah!

Anyway, lunch rolled around and Ted and I joined Kenny Fass and Ron Rosenblum from SUNY Delhi for an enjoyable and entertaining lunch. However, it was short lived and soon Ted and I found ourselves working on our CSS presentation while enjoying some rum and coke as well as some vodka and Redbull. We both had brief speaking roles in a presentation of Brian's, but soon we were off again getting ready for our own presentation in a different conference room. I downed a Rockstar and Ted and I gave our CSS presentation. The hour passed by rather quickly and painlessly.

Me talking about implementation strategies during one of Brian's presentations.

In the evening, the company threw a party at the mansion for all the conference attendees. It was rather enjoyable. I held many interesting conversations from Web 2.0 and the college to talking about code and implementation tips when doing a site redesign.. Geeky, but rather fun. Since Brian had brought his Wii, many of our customers were playing and it really broke down some of the company-customer barriers and opened everyone up. T'was interesting.

As the party ended, I found myself continuing work on some presentations for the following morning on SSI, RSS, and XML/XSLT and ended up going to bed before my boss, Lance at around 0200 in the morning. I was rather tired. Luckily the following morning wasn't too bad (I'm sure the Rockstars helped.) We got over to the Wyndham Hotel at around 07:30 and then Lance and I gave a presentation on Reusable Content passing the spotlight back and forth between us. It was kind of fun, probably because I knew what I was talking about, and probably because I was doped-up on energy drinks.. Haha. Those Rockstars are crazy. One definitely does not feel "normal" after one or two of those things.

Reusable Content presentation with my boss Lance and myself on the last day of the conference.

Anyway, the conference soon came to a conclusion at around noon and the company went for lunch at the Blue Coyote before beginning the drive back to Camarillo. Got home at around 18h and soon was fast asleep because I was completely beat.

The conference was quite a learning experience for me. Rather, it was quite the growing experience. I don't know what it was, but speaking in the presentations I was in was so wonderfully easy. I was shocked that I wasn't even nervous. Perhaps it was the Rockstars, or who knows what.. Something just clicked and all of a sudden I had absolutely no problem speaking to all these higher ed. folk about their websites, XML, RSS, and who knows what else. After each sentence I finished, I could feel my confidence shoot straight through the roof. At the end of the conference I was filled with so much confidence, I felt I could rule the world.. It was quite the experience.

I wish I had had the time and energy to blog about the conference right after, instead of a few days after as I am now. I was so worked up in all my thoughts and emotions, I'm sure I could have written something more insightful than what I've written thus far..

More photos from the conference can be found here.

It was a lot of work leading up to the conference's end. From working up graphics for the brochures, logos, power-points/keynote presentations, and etcetera before the conference, to working late into the night setting up demos and polishing up presentations.. But it was rather fulfilling and definitely worthwhile. I hope I get another opportunity like it soon, or at least at next years user conference..

* Photos from conference taken by co-worker sales-person Mario Ianniello and the copyrights are his.