NEUGC and COMMON are coming right up

Next week I’ll be in Framingham to present at the Northeast System i Users Groups Conference (NEUGC). In early May,  it’s Minneapolis for the COMMON 2011 annual meeting. Here are the dates and places of these great conferences:

NEUGC: April 11-13, 2011, in Framingham, Mass.
COMMON: May 1-4, 2011, in Minneapolis, Minn.

At each conference I’ll be presenting 6 talks:

  • 4 about PHP on IBM i: web services, batch jobs, Zend Framework, and my research into best practices for db2
  • one about making web development easier with free tools that run in a web browser (a fun one)
  • one non-technical talk about how to stay healthy despite years of professional computer use (fun and interactive)

Both conferences have an exciting lineup of speakers and topics. I plan to learn a lot and meet many great people. If you are there, please say hello.

ZendCon 2010

The 2010 “Zend/PHP Conference” welcomed the full range of the PHP community: open source contributors, small businesses, practitioners of diverse technologies and platforms, including Microsoft Windows, Linux, and IBM i, and the largest names in technology and business: Adobe, GE, the New York Stock Exchange. All these contributed energy and momentum to ZendCon.

I presented two talks and attended many more, given by some of the top names in IBM i and PHP. Beyond the great value of scheduled sessions, though, ZendCon offered even more.

As noted by Zend’s co-founder Andi Gutmans in his opening address, ZendCon’s value comes not only from scheduled sessions but from those unscheduled conversations in the hallway, at meals, and at evening networking events. ZendCon is about sharing knowledge, solving problems, and building relationships.

Personal highlights:

  • Alison Butterill’s presentation about IBM’s strong commitment to PHP
  • Susan Gantner’s sessions about interweaving RPG, PHP, and MySQL’s DB2 Storage Engine
  • Meeting Sam Pinkhasov from Zend’s R&D lab. He has such great knowledge that one time I followed him all around the conference center and into the elevator, peppering him with questions, before I finally let him go on the 5th floor.
  • The speaker’s reception, IBM i reception, and Disney-sponsored reception
  • Helping two people with their Apache configurations on IBM i. I continued to work on one of their configurations for 15 minutes after the lights were turned out, finding the command keys by feel alone. (Does that make me a geek?)
  • The Zend Framework roundtable where I got to ask the developers my burning questions.

I want to thank my employer, Strategic Business Systems, Inc., for allowing me to come and speak at ZendCon.

Below are my photos from the conference. I hope to return to ZendCon next year and to see many of you there!

P.S. For those of you in the New York area, come see me co-lead a roundtable recap of the conference at NY-PHP on November 23, 2010.

Andi Gutmans giving his opening keynote at ZendCon 2010

Andi Gutmans giving his opening keynote

Ray Taylor and I chatting before my web services talk at Zendcon 2010

Ray Taylor and I chatting before my web services talk

elePHPant with a fan at ZendCon 2010

elePHPant with a fan

IBM i networking event at ZendCon 2010

IBM i networking event

Ryan Watkins and Alison Butterill at the IBM booth, Zendcon 2010

Ryan Watkins and Alison Butterill at the IBM booth

Leverage the Power of IBM i Zend PHP button

“Leverage the power of IBM i” Zend PHP button

Susan Gantner speaking about RPG + PHP at ZendCon 2010

Susan Gantner speaking about RPG, PHP, and MySQL

Rocking at COMMON

COMMON’s fall conference and expo in San Antonio was the first of its kind, and a first for me as well. It marked my debut as a speaker for COMMON, as I presented three sessions about PHP on IBM i.

The conference brought the Power Systems and IBM i community together for learning and networking. I met many great people and caught up with industry friends.

After each day’s information-packed sessions, we gathered to relax and socialize.

A social highlight for me was the “Power Down” evening on Tuesday, October 5. The organizers had set up the Wii “Rock Band” game. This photo shows me on “drums,” Rich Nemerovsky singing, and Brian May playing “guitar.” I think Brian can actually play.

Drums, Alan Seiden; vocals, Rich Nemerovsky; guitar, Brian May, playing the "Rock Band" Wii game at Fall COMMON conference, San Antonio, Texas, October 5, 2010

Alan Seiden, Rich Nemerovsky, and Brian May playing Wii "Rock Band"

VTMUG friends

I had a great time yesterday at the annual conference of VTMUG (Vermont Midrange Users Group).  I gave two talks about PHP on IBM i. I got to watch Skip Marchesani give a talk about the IBM i’s SQL Script Center, and John Valance speaking about Web 2.0.

I wanted to see Jon Paris and Susan Gantner’s presentations but conflicting time slots prevented that. I’ll try to catch Susan’s talk at the Zend/PHP Conference, where I’ll also be speaking.

This photo shows us relaxing after a satisfying day of teaching and learning at VTMUG.

Relaxing at the end of VTMUG's annual conference in South Burlington, Vermont

Relaxing after VTMUG's annual conference in South Burlington, Vermont