Saturday, October 20, 2012

SWFox & SWXbase Day 3

SWFox_Booth_SatSaturday morning began our last day at the conference. I arrived in the exhibit hall early and made some quick changes to our booth, putting out a few more giveaways. We were scheduled to leave that evening so I wanted to have as many people as possible dropping by.

We had quite a few people stop by and tell us about how they had been using Advantage for many years and were very happy with the performance, we love hearing that. Several also told us how they were using version 8 which is always a bit of a surprise. However, I have always been a proponent of “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”. Although I think that after hearing about all the great features in version 11 some are thinking about some upgrades.

Keeping up with our reputation of having the best giveaways as expressed by Eric Selje in my favorite tweet of the weekend:

@AdsEvangelist Sybase does have the coolest stuff, in swag and tech. #SWFox

This year we had cars, cell phone stands and playing cards to give away. Everything that was left over at the end was donated to the FoxPro usergroup presidents so they can get it to their members.


SWFox_PrizeOur prize this year was a pico projector. We collected entries until lunchtime on Saturday and then had Tamar Granor do the drawing just before the sessions started after lunch. Congratulations to Jim Nelson on winning the projector.

As always I had a great time and I want to thank everyone from Geek Gatherings for putting the conference together. I also want to express my thanks to everyone that stopped by to chat, ask questions or enter our contest. Both the FoxPro and Xbase++ communities are full of amazing people. I’m looking forward to seeing everyone next year.

Friday, October 19, 2012

SWFox & SWXbase Day 2

IMG_0386Day two of the combined SWFox and SWXbase conference started out on a beautiful morning. One of the great things about this conference is the full breakfast that is included. It is a chance to chat with the attendees and get ready for the day.

We got out some new give aways for our first full day in the exhibit hall. These were really well received and generated some traffic along with some good conversations. The general buzz about the conference was positive and people were learning a lot in their sessions.

After lunch we did our first exhibitor session on “Expanding Access to your Data” which discusses how Advantage can serve data to a variety of clients. This year I wanted to focus on using Advantage in the cloud and on our Web Platform. I also spent some time discussing the latest features included in version 11. The online table maintenance capability was very well received.

After the first full conference day there is a dinner for all attendees. The weather was very nice so the meal was setup outside. The food was excellent and the dinner provides another opportunity to talk with everyone. It was great to see people getting to know their peers that were attending the conference.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

SWFox / SWXbase Day 1

IMG_0385This is my 6th year attending SWFox in Phoenix Arizona. It is always a great conference with many great developers. This year the conference was combined with SWXbase++ which brought more developers and a similar but different community to the show.

Having the XBase++ developers at the conference was great for us since just about all of them have heard of Advantage prior to attending. There were also several of our partners in attendance.

The event always kicks off with a keynote followed by an Exhibitor Reception. This year the keynote included several awards and recognitions, including two lifetime achievement awards for Cathy Knight and Craig Boyd.

The featured speaker at this years keynote was Jennifer Marsman a developer evangelist from Microsoft. Jennifer is a very energetic speaker and she highlighted many of the new developer centric features of Windows 8. The general consensus of the people I spoke with after the keynote were really impressed with her knowledge and enthusiasm. You can view the recorded keynote here.

After the keynote there was a reception in the exhibit hall. This was our chance to see everyone at the conference for the first time. It was good to see lots of familiar faces and to have so many people come by to say hello and to chat.

I will be doing two sessions while I am at the conference one at 2PM on Friday and another at 2PM on Saturday. Hope to see some of you there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

SAP TechEd Day 3

SAP Teched 2012 - Las Vegas, USAFor day 3 of TechEd I was working at the Ecosystems & Channels booth in the Clubhouse area of the show floor. It is always interesting to work in a booth at a tradeshow. You get to meet all kinds of people with all sorts of different backgrounds, which makes for some great conversations.

The Clubhouse area had a lot of traffic with people visiting the SAP Community Network booth, the slot car racing and the classic games area. There was also a coffee bar setup right next to our booth which was almost always crowded.

The best thing about working in the clubhouse was our proximity to the Clubhouse Theater. This area was set aside for quick 30 minute presentations which went on all day long. Since we were so close I got to listen in on several of these presentations as well as attend a couple.

One of the sessions I attended was on Visual Intelligence which is a new product that was discussed in the opening keynote. It is a really interesting tool that allows for creating quick visualizations of data. It requires no programming or SQL knowledge so it can be used by almost anyone.

p1201444946-2Another cool session that I listened in on was by a group of middle school students from Roberto Clemente Middle School developed a mobile app using SAP tools. Their application called Food Agent can be used for scanning bar codes in supermarkets that check food origins and possible food contamination. They did a demonstration of their application during Demo Jam, you can view their six minute demo here. Their application came in second place overall in a field of experienced developers.

If you didn’t attend TechEd this year and you develop using Sybase or SAP products you should consider attending. There are literally hundreds of sessions and many hands-on sessions available. Definitely a worth while investment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

SAP TechEd Day 2


VishalSikkaDay 2 of SAP TechEd began with a keynote by executive board member Dr. Vishal Sikka. Dr. Sikka heads up technology and innovation for the company and has responsibility for SAP HANA, analytics, mobile application platform and middleware. Vishal began his keynote discussing HANA and the many amazing performance it has achieved.

HANA is normally sold as an all-in-one solution with our hardware partners ensuring the best hardware and software configuration. Now HANA is available in the Amazon cloud which makes getting a HANA instance up and running very quickly. This solution is excellent for businesses that want to use the power of HANA for development and testing. It can even be used in production for smaller data sets ( up to 30GB ).

After the HANA discussion Vishal introduced Sam Yen, global head of user interface and design. Sam demonstrated a new project they are working on called AppDesigner. This is a visual template based solution for building applications on the fly. It generates HTML5, CSS and Java script that will run on your device.

Also announced was SAP NetWeaver Cloud which allows developers to create cloud applications that can access SAP systems. It also allows development of cross-platform mobile web sites. You can get more information about NetWeaver cloud here.

There was also a discussion of our Business Intelligence offerings. One of the latest is SAP Visual Intelligence which is a tool for quickly analyzing data. It includes charts, graphs and even geospatial representations of your data. You can join the Data Geek Challenge by using your own data and creating a visualization.

The keynote also included some discussion of Mobility and Database platforms. These included Afaria, ASE and SQL Anywhere from Sybase. You can view the entire keynote here.

Monday, October 15, 2012

SAP TechEd Day 1


SAP TechEd has begun in Las Vegas. This is the premier technical conference for SAP technologies. There are literally hundreds of sessions, labs, Q&A sessions and two great keynotes scheduled for the week. If you develop with any SAP solution this is the place to be.

p1196869518-3The opening keynote was presented by Clay Shirky who is an expert on Social Media and how it affects business. He has written two books, Here Comes Everybody and Cognitive Surplus. Mr. Shirky provided many examples on how social media has changed how businesses respond to their customers.

He opened his keynote taking about HSBC bank which offered a checking account for college students that did not charge overdraft fees. As you might expect HSBC gained thousands of new customers because of this new program. In the summer after the semester ended HSBC announced that graduates would begin being charged overdraft fees of up to £1500 the first 12 months after leaving college. You can read about the change on The Telegraph.

This plan backfired because a student named Wes Streeting started a Facebook page called “Stop the Great HSBC Graduate Rip-Off”. Because he started this page all his friends found out about the problem and started liking the page. In turn all their friends could also see the page and like it once again alerting their friends. The social media backlash had worked itself up to the point where plans were being made for a series of demonstrations when school started again in the fall. However, HSBC changed their policies before this happened.

This is a powerful story about how much influence social media has over how businesses make decisions. It is very difficult to keep details, especially ones that adversely affect people, out of the public eye. Word of mouth now has a global voice.

One other particularly interesting example was I had never thought of Amazon as a social media site, however, the ability to write reviews provides a way for customers to interact with each other. I often read reviews when I am looking to purchase a particular product and I tend to read the latest ones. But, if you really think about it has a book that was written years ago gotten better over time?

Amazon reviews provide a way for customers to share their experience of the book, video or other product. It gives them a way to express their love or hate of the item. This is a powerful forum for people to collaborate and be heard. The idea that a book or movie only needs to be reviewed shortly after it has come out has been thrown out the window.

I really enjoyed the keynote and I am looking forward to the rest of the conference. If you want to hear more you can view Clay Shirky’s keynote here.