Monday, October 15, 2007

New releases of DB2 software and DB2 magazine greet IOD attendees

DB2 Magazine: Volume 12, Issue 3

With Web 2.0 and mashups gaining traction as a compelling way to rapidly develop specialized database applications, it was only a matter of time before it hit the pages of DB2 Magazine. The cover story features IBM Web 2.0 expert (and PlanetDB2 blog buddy) Anant Jhingran, who describes how building a data services layer he calls Info 2.0 is essential to enabling Web 2.0 developers to build exciting services that all the cool kids will want to use.

DB2 Magazine's IDUG columnist, DB2 Gold Consultant Dave Buelke, writes about the environmental benefits of running just thirty z/OS mainframes instead of over 4,000 traditional servers. In the past couple years, this topic has resonated with me often because I keep running into database professionals who mention that their companies are moving to the mainframe mostly for environmental reasons. When you can pack that much computing power into a smaller building with less cooling equipment and only consume a fifth as much electricity, it becomes a strong selling point.

Here at IOD, Monday morning kicked off with a multi-part spectacle of noise and color, but many of us DB2 folks were just as impressed with Ambuj Goyal's announcement of DB2 9.5, which, after months of beta testing, is scheduled for GA release on Halloween. Its new thread-based architecture, sophisticated workload management controls embedded right in the engine, and malleable XML documents should result in a quick adoption of this powerful DBMS.

There's simply too much going on at IOD right now, but I hope to grab some time to describe more of it later this week.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Get the most out of next week's IOD conference

Lifehacker blog: Conference attendee tips

As you probably know, a conference is a different beast than a typical business trip, so I've collected some tips to help you better prepare for it. If you're not already familiar with Lifehacker, the award-winning productivity blog, their article on how to prepare for a conference is a good example of their ever-useful advice. Keep in mind, however, that their tip to explore the conference city in advance on Flickr may result in some NSFW images, since we are talking about Vegas after all.

The following tips come from my own sordid past, and from a committee I'm on that is planning next year's IDUG conference:

  • Although people tend to think of a conference as several days of sitting in chairs, dodging flying bullet points, you'll also be walking a mile or two each day just to get around. After that, you'll probably be standing around for two to four hours a night at various receptions, unless your PHB is screaming at you to fight another production fire from your hotel room. Just in case you "accidentally" turn off your cell phone in order to mingle at the evening events, wear the most comfortable shoes you have in order to minimize pain and suffering.

  • Bring a sturdy journal for note taking, and remember to grab a couple of decent pens from the office. Do not rely on the hotel notepads, which disintegrate quickly, or the free pens, which often fail.

  • While in the exhibitors' area, put yourself on a swag diet. Unless your children are very easily amused, the odds are that nobody back home will want or appreciate the T-shirts or various plastic debris you collected from exhibitors. If you don't want vendors cold-calling you at your office for the next few months, don't take any of their swag. Don't get me wrong, a little bit of stuff is OK, just limit yourself to small sackful that can be easily carried onto the plane. For those of you suffering from an OCD that compels you to amass the largest heap of giveaways, don't depart for the conference without your company's FedEx or UPS number.

  • Regardless of the temperature outside, it's a safe bet that the rooms at the conference will be kept slightly colder than a meat locker. If you have to wear a sweater in your computer room back home, you'll probably need one for the conference as well. In fact, just bring whatever you normally wear in the computer room, not only to show it off at the conference, but also to keep your jealous co-workers from wearing it while you're away.

  • While exchanging business cards with new acquaintances (you do plan to meet new people, right?), take a moment to write a quick note about the person on the back of the card they hand you, even if they're still standing there. They'll most likely be flattered that you are taking the time to remember them for later, and you won't be racking your brain later on as you attempt to remember something about that guy or gal you met in some booth after downing your fourth Heineken. Just be discreet while you're jotting down a quick note, and, if possible, try not to let your new colleague see what you're writing about them.

Other than that, eat wisely, take it easy on the caffeine, and drink plenty of water. Call your family each evening (I've found that the break between the day's last session and the beginning of the exhibitor cocktail hour is a very good time), and don't fall behind on sleep. If I've missed anything, feel free to post a comment. See you in Vegas...

Boss photo courtesy of Matthew Lehman


Saturday, October 06, 2007

Grab a sneak peek at next week's IOD2007 slides

IBM Information On Demand 2007 website: Download Conference Presentations

With IOD 2007 just days away, you've either reserved your seat in all the sessions you plan to attend, or you're the gambling type who's counting on a week of lucky breaks to get yourself into some very crowded rooms. No matter which path you've chosen, registered attendees now have access to advance copies of the slides for many IOD sessions. Just sign on to this site and you can start evaluating your choices. The downside is that the PDF files don't contain any of the speaker's typed notes, so they're not a very good substitute for attending the sessions in person.

By getting a head start on these sessions, you'll be saving yourself from the chore of looking through the conference DVD the night of the opening reception, resulting in more time for drinking. You're welcome!