Friday, October 23, 2009

Southwest Fox 2009, Day 3

I slept in slightly (6:30 a.m.), which was good after several days of sleep deprivation. I went to do my second Stonefield Query vendor session but no one showed up (Duh! It’s 8:30 in the morning on the last day of the conference), so I went to Menachem Bazian’s session on open source tools. He presented quite a few tools I wasn’t familiar with but want to check out, including SugarCRM.

Next I went to Jim Nelson’s PEM Editor session. I mostly went because I mentored Jim (not that he needed my help) and worked with him a bit on PEM Editor. However, even though I’ve been using it for almost a year, I learned several things I didn’t know. More importantly, I saw how Jim uses some features I did know about but hadn’t used much, and now I really see how they were intended to be used.


In the last timeslot of the conference, I repeated my GDIPlusX session. I must admit I was watching the door to see if a crowd suddenly formed but it was uneventful.

Mike Feltman and Alan Stevens livened up the last day by doing their sessions wearing kilts. Certainly not something you see at the average conference! Alan’s dad said he liked Alan’s red “dress”.


We wound up the official part of the conference with the closing session, including announcing the dates for Southwest Fox 2010 (October 14-17) and drawing prizes. Here’s Tamar presenting an Amazon Kindle, courtesy of Sybase:

Southwest Fox 2009 017

After cleaning up for an hour or so, we met with the Arizona Golf Resort staff for a post-conference debriefing (not the Feltman-Stevens kind). We thanked them for all their hard work and especially how they really partnered with us to help fit what we wanted into our budget. We pointed out a few things they can improve, but they were all minor things.

After a brief rest, I went to the Feltman’s suite for the speaker dinner. Rather than going to a restaurant this year, we took the suggestion of several speakers and had a BBQ (the Arizona Golf Resort provides a couple of Weber grills between groups of rooms, at least in our area). We had NY strips (chicken for those who wanted), sweet potatoes, mixed veggies, salad, and peach crisp. This was definitely the way to go; it was much less formal and a lot more fun (although Therese and Tamar had to spend some time preparing things). About 8:00, other attendees started showing up and the party kicked into high gear. Kevin Ragsdale kept a group of us amused for an hour, doing impressions and hilarious riffs. Mike Feltman figures he should be our keynote speaker for next year. I finally called it a night at about 2:30.

As I said at the closing session, this was easily the most fun Southwest Fox, or conference of any kind, ever. Everyone seemed to be energetic and full of fun, and the camaraderie was off the charts! As I mentioned in an earlier post, I really think Twitter had a lot to do with it. Like CompuServe of old, Twitter is a place for the conversation to carry on year-round. Thanks to Twitter, people I’d only briefly met at previous conferences (or hadn’t met at all!) seemed like old friends. I’m happy to see that several new people joined the conversation right after the conference ended; more new friends!

Thanks to everyone who came to Southwest Fox and made it a truly outstanding event: speakers, attendees, Arizona Golf Resort staff, exhibitors. I’d especially like to thank:

  • Therese Schummer and Marshal Granor, who made it possible for Rick, Tamar, and I to see more sessions than ever, and took a large burden off our shoulders.
  • My partners Rick and Tamar for organizing this conference so it ran as smooth as glass.
  • Mike and Toni Feltman for opening their room to everyone and creating a memorable night-after-night party.

See you all next year!

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