Friday, October 23, 2009

Southwest Fox 2009, Day 2

Once again, I was up early but really fired up: today was F1 racing day, something Rick, Cathy, and I have been trashing talking each other over for the past year.

After breakfast, I presented my GDIPlusX session. This was a fun session to do. I started by going over the basics of GDIPlusX: how to draw, using colors, drawing text and images, etc. Then I dug into practical uses, including measuring strings accurately, creating gradient images, and implement a “lightbox” effect Bernard Bout blogged about. Almost all of the examples I showed came from production code I use in Stonefield Query.


Next was my Stonefield Query vendor session. Interestingly, all of the people who showed up were customers or already familiar with Stonefield Query, so rather than doing the usual demo, I covered the same things we discussed at Friday night’s developer meeting. One of the cool new features I showed is “application views”. The problem with most reporting solutions is that they show a database-centric view of the data in an application. Even with nice descriptive names for tables and fields, it still isn’t a natural view of the data for the user. With application views, you can mold the data dictionary so it’s organized exactly like the data entry forms in your application, making it much easier for the user to find exactly which items they want to report on.

I was going to see Alan Steven’s OOP session but started chatting outside with Cathy and Toni (and others who happened by from time to time) and ended up spending the entire session there. That’s one of the nice things about a conference: if you don’t feel like going to a session, you can meet new people, chat with friends, and discuss new solutions to problems.

Lunch was build your own hamburgers with either meat patties or portobello mushrooms. Like some others, I actually went for both, which was a very tasty combination.

After lunch, I went to see Jody Meyer’s Office Automation session. Jody is one of our first-time speakers so I wanted to see how she did, plus learn more about Office Automation. One of my developers, Trevor Mansuy, was also in this session and had lots of questions for Jody, as he’s currently working on a couple of new features for Stonefield Query involving Excel.

Southwest Fox 2009 005

Next up was Christof’s Excelporting session. Christof did his usual excellent job and was even funnier than usual. Creating Excel documents by outputting XML is not only incredibly fast but doesn’t require a license for Excel. Unfortunately, and this was totally not his fault, the three hours of sleep I was getting for the past several nights finally caught up to me and I dozed off several times. Steve Bodnar was quite impressed with the various angles I managed to twist myself into without actually falling off my chair! Thank goodness Christof’s white paper and samples are on the conference CD so I can see what I missed.

The last timeslot of the day was the repeat of my VPC session. Shortly after I started, more people started filing into the room. I mentioned that there were open seats near the front, but they seemed content to stand at the back. Then more people came in. Then more. And even more. By this point, there were at least 40 people standing at the back of the room and a lot just outside the room. I knew something was up but had no idea what was going on. Suddenly, Craig Boyd screamed out and the attack began: I was hit by HUNDREDS of darts from the 40 or so Nerf guns these people hid behind their backs. The attack lasted a minute or so, then Craig yelled “Pull back” and they all filed out, leaving me to stand in a pile of darts. If you want to watch for yourself, at least three people recorded it and put it on YouTube:

Talking to Craig later, this was apparently revenge for my thinking about messing with him on Friday. Let me get this straight: you want to get revenge for something I thought about pretending to do? In the words of the immortal Bugs Bunny, “of course you realize this means war”. You should come to Southwest Fox 2010 just to see what I have planned for Craig!

Rick, Therese, Christof, Emerson, and I were going to meet several others for sushi but couldn’t find the restaurant, so we found a sushi place close to the hotel and settled in there. Wow, was it good! Excellent sushi and large portions.

Finally, the moment we’d been waiting for: racing at the F1 Race Factory. More than 20 people showed up for this year’s event. Rick and I suspected Jody, Toni, and Cathy had something planned: Jody carried a large bag into the building and wouldn’t show us what was in it. Rick and I figured there was a conspiracy against us, with Jody and Toni acting as blockers so Cathy could zoom by. However, what they really planned was WAY cooler:


The Pink Ladies and Danny Zuko ride again!

Unfortunately, it didn’t help Cathy: Paul Mrozowski finished first, I was second, Rick was third, and Cathy was 99th or something like that (it doesn’t really matter once you’re that far down <gd&r>).

Not as many people were in the second race, and it was a lot more wild (at least for me). I spun out a couple of times and was black-flagged for taking Dave Hanna into a wall. However, it was great fun and we’ll definitely be back next year.

We got back to the Arizona Golf Resort about 11:30 and proceeded to the Feltman’s suite for another evening of socializing. I called it a night at about 1:00 because I had an 8:30 session.

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