Friday, October 26, 2007

Southwest Fox 2007 Day 4

Last day. In a way, I'm relieved; this has been a ton of work and an exhausting several days. On the other hand, people I like and respect and only see a couple of times a year or less will be heading home today or tomorrow, so I'm kind of bummed too.

Once again, I missed a session. Bo Durban and I inadvertently did some pair programming. He started showing me some really cool things his product, Moxie Report Objects, does, then mentioned another cool feature he was thinking of adding: a find function in the Report Designer that would find any text in a report expression, group expression, print when expression, etc. He started working on it, I made some suggestions, he tweaked something, and before you knew it, we were pair programming. It was a lot of fun and Bo ended up creating a working version of the code in no time. Once again, it's the networking that's the best part of conferences.

After presenting the second instance of my vertical app development session, I squeezed myself into what little space was left in Cathy Pountney's Outfox the VFP Report Writer session. I'd heard great comments from other attendees and Cathy didn't disappoint. Her session gets my vote for best in show. She showed how to take control of the printing process, giving you the ability to create books (with their out-of-order pagination), offset the top and left edges of a print job, printing N-up pages per sheet, accessing the properties dialog for a printer, and many other things. The best part is that all of the code is on the conference CD, so I can start implementing her ideas right away.

After a quick break to rearrange the four break-out rooms into one large one, we started the closing session. We reminded everyone to turn in their evaluation forms; those that did were entered into a drawing for a free registration to next year's conference. That's how important evals are to us and the speakers. Rick thanked speakers, sponsors and exhibitors, Arizona Golf Resort staff, Rick Borup (for creating the RSS feed for http://www.swfox.net/; we somehow missed thanking him in the keynote), and attendees. We then gave out thousands of dollars in software, books, and other goodies donated by sponsors. We announced the dates for Southwest Fox 2008: October 16 - 19, at a location to be announced later (although it's fairly likely we'll be back at the Arizona Golf Resort). Dave Aring created a cool animated logo just for this (for some reason, it's not animated here):



We listing some resources, such as the Universal Thread, Foxite, Foxforum, user groups, the Fox Wiki, blogs, VFPX, and FoxCentral. We finished up asking for photos and testimonials and wishing everyone a safe trip home.

Rick, Tamar, and I had a lot of people come up to us during and after the conference thanking us for taking up the reins of Southwest Fox and for putting on such a great conference. The buzz at the conference was amazing. Everyone was so jazzed about VFP that they were almost bouncing off the walls. I personally felt totally energized and full of new ideas for my applications, and I'm sure almost everyone else felt the same way.

After cleaning up the conference area and packing up the few things we had to take home, about thirty of us went to the hotel restaurant for lunch. My last meal at the hotel didn't disappoint either; the burger was one of the best I've ever had.

Tamar, Rick, Marshal, Therese, and I then met with the hotel staff for a post-conference debriefing. We told them about the few complaints we had and those we heard from attendees, but they were very picky things; nothing was even close to being a major issue. The hotel staff, especially those in the conference and catering areas, were incredible. When we asked for something, it was cheerfully done in minutes. Mark, Brett, Mari, Sharon, and their staff bent over backwards for us and were always pleasant and fun to work with. We let them know how pleased we were with the facilities and service.

We then had a post-conference meeting of our own, going over things we need to ensure we do next year (such as signage for the registration table and providing coffee and beverages during breaks). We even started planning next year's conference, so save the date!

Rick and Therese headed to Sedona for a few days of much-deserved R & R. About twenty of those still around went to My Big Fat Greek Restaurant for dinner and had some really good Greek food. wOOdy and Christof ordered a Meat Lover's Platter for two that looked like it was really for four; I wanted to see those guys eat that much food, but they were done after less than half the plate.

Thanks again to everyone who helped make this a great conference. We'll see you again next year!

2 comments:

Dave Aring said...

Doug...

Before I go any further, I will gladly second any motion by ANYONE who says this was one of the BEST FoxPro-based developer conferences of all time. The biggest bang for the buck ever!

Next... Re: the graphic not appearing animated issue. Two things. First, go to Tools|Internet Options|Advanced (Tab). Then make sure that a check is in the box opposite "Play animation in web pages". If the box is not checked, then you will have to restart your Internet Explorer software. There is a good chance that the graphic may still not be animated, but if you SINGLE click on it, it should enlarge itself and become animated.

Lastly, when are you going to begin registration for 2008? I am ready.

Bestest,
...Dave

Anonymous said...

I wish I was there...

Andrzej