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July 22, 2014

Last week we spoke at the OCEAN User Group's annual conference in Costa Mesa in (normally) sunny California. It was great to see that like several other IBM i events lately, their numbers were up from previous years at the main event. They also had excellent attendance at the dinner and keynote session, featuring Alison Butterill talking about modernization and at a pre-conference workshop on Ruby for IBM i.

This year the group also tried out the idea of running in-depth workshops including hands-on Labs on the Saturday after the main event. We taught an introductory RDi class, IBM's Dan Cruikshank taught SQL topics including IBM Data Studio and Larry Bolhuis taught systems management. We're told that there were approximately 100 attendees at the workshops, which means that 100 people gave up part of their weekend to learn--and that is really encouraging.

OCEAN is a great group and if you live in reach of the Orange County, California-area you should definitely be a member.

OCEAN works with a local technical university to host the main conference and the workshops (the keynote and dinner were held at a hotel to accommodate larger numbers in a single session). We've mentioned this idea of using colleges for conferences before. It really can be a practical solution for local user groups that have considered doing events but found hosting them in hotels expensive and inflexible. In fact it does seem to be a bit of a trend with TUG, our local Toronto user group, holding its TEC event at a local college. We have heard that the OMNI group is working on a similar idea for an upcoming event in the Chicago area.

Other Items

In last week's blog we mentioned punch cards in what reader Bob L. considered a derogatory fashion:

"Don't belittle the punched card. Its legacy lives on: after all, that is why you still have to remind those "young young" programmers that the code must start on or after column 8 and end at column 80!!"

We certainly didn't mean to belittle the punch card (except for maybe those silly little 96 column things) they were really useful for writing notes. Jon remembers that in his early days of presenting, notes on punch cards were a godsend because their very size forced you to keep to bullet points so you were never tempted to just read your presentation. These days he couldn't do that even if he could find a supply as he so rarely wears a jacket to keep them in.

Before we go wanted to thank those readers of our recent article on tools to help you trace program execution, "Tracing Our Steps," who pointed out alternative tools. We haven't had a chance to check them all out yet but we will do so and report back in the article comments and also here in the blog.

We actually get to spend the next two weeks at home, which will be a rare treat this summer. Who knows? Maybe one or two chores around the house might even get done!

Posted July 22, 2014| Permalink

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