Today is day 3 in Fargo, and the majority of the day is wrap up and some chances for the vendor sponsors to present their wares. The room is emptying gradually as the day progresses as people are heading to the airport to catch their flights.
This is mostly some observations of the overall conference and a wrap up of my own.
I'm very much a “put a name to a face” kind of person. I'm fortunate to have a lot of contacts in the GP community both Microsoft and others but there are many whom I either have never met personally or just don't get a chance to see except at conferences like this.
This week I had a chance to catch up with some Microsoft folks who I have had contact with over the years – Terry Heley, an escalation engineer who I get a lot of payroll scoop from throughout the year, and Jodi Christianson, who is now in pre-sales but I've known her since she did a training course in Toronto many years ago for Project Accounting.
I met some fellow bloggers, including David Musgrave, Mariano Gomez, Leslie Vail and Steve Endow. There may even be others here that I haven't run into yet, but it's neat to get a chance to talk shop with others who also share their knowledge and in most cases have been pioneering the GP blogging LONG before I have been doing it.
How cool is it to be sitting here at a session, catching up on blog posts, reading Mariano and David's blogs and they are sitting right in front of me while I read them? Neat stuff… a bit surreal. As I write this, David is writing another blog, so I'm keeping my eyes on my blog links for when it's posted to read it.
Learning new stuff
I'm not sure if this is a Canadian thing but I'm reminded of the Mastercard “priceless” commercials. If you haven't seen them, they go something like this: Flight to Fargo: $435. GP Tech Conference: $500. Learning the upcoming GP features first: Priceless!
I love to learn. People who know me, know I can soak this stuff up all day every day. I think that is part of being a geek… it's not the pocket protectors and bad glasses, it's the sitting at a computer all day at work, being glued to your smartphone on your way home to stay in touch, and then spending all night on the computer or tablet or smartphone again, constantly learning, researching, and looking up new things. That's me in a nutshell!
Seeing new places
Part of going to conferences and things like this is seeing new places. Given how cold it was this week, and I'm still getting over a cough and cold, I didn't venture out too much. The furthest I went was to the Sandbag Central for the volunteering I did on Tuesday night. Otherwise I ventured to the West Acres mall across the street, it was the closest source of entertainment without getting into a cab! One of the neat things there was a small Roger Maris Museum which was more of an exhibit than a museum. There was a video room where you could watch a brief video and sit on actual Yankees stadium seats – cool! The glassed in area was tons of memorabilia and a fabulous walk through some baseball history. I love watching baseball and it was neat to dive into this exhibit to soak up some history and learn more about a great baseball player.
Day 3 Content & Wrap Up
Other than the sponsor sessions and presentations this morning, there was another presentation on GP12 and details on the UI changes. It was exciting to see the upcoming changes, although nowhere near final. We can't talk in depth about this stuff, you know, lawyers and things like that. What was cool is among the planned changes are introducing thin client functionality, and the screens they showed us were pretty cool looking. The UI redesign, whenever it happens, for the thin client will be a big improvement to GP!
The Q&A was mostly the usual questions except for a spectacular litany of questions and criticisims around the Partner Network changes, and other related things, from Mark Rockwell of Rockton Software. Kudos Mark for saying some of the things that have been on many of our minds before!
Time to head home
It's nearing the end of the conference and it's time to pack up, wrap up and head back home. For me, I leave Fargo later this aft, about 4:30pm and I will arrive in Toronto, after a stop in Chicago, after midnight tonight E.S.T. It will be a long day by the time I get home (another 45 minute drive from the airport to home). Friday is a rest day fortunately and I imagine I will be sleeping in a little bit!!!