2006 - What a year!

Its about time I added my 2 cents worth to the Annual Blog roundup, and give you my highs and lows of 2007. As I sit here in bonnie Scotland, wind and snow battering rain against the window, dog quietly farting under my desk, sipping my rather large and very old whisky, I look back at this year. In some respects, this was a fantastic year both professionally and personally - and a horrible year - personally. Why ?

The year started out - as always - with the annual gathering of the Clans in Orlando for Lotusphere 2006. This year, Paul Mooney and I had been chosen to present our Worst Practices presentation. Now - it seems almost funny afterwards, but we hadnt thought Lotus would have allowed this particular presentation on stage. After all, its dealing with the worst failures (that we knew about at the time) in their product. Our rule - only highlighting "pilot error" as opposed to product shortcomings - seemed to reassure management. At the end of the day, Rocky, I think, took a huge professional gamble on us, and it worked. Rocky (for he was track manager), it has to be said, is a god among men, and has a bigger pair than most.

Standing on stage, as Paul opened up proceedings, my first thought was "The wee bastard! He's practiced!". Paul - from where I was standing - delivered a very well prepared, polished, funny, articulate description of each of his sections. Mine seemed far far less prepared. So theres another lesson - Mr Mooney - for all his Irish Blarney - is dammed good at what he does. I'll have to do a wee bit more practice this time..

On stage, at 8.00am on the Wednesday morning, watching people come in, we quickly concluded that the room would fill up. At 8.15 - fully 15 minutes before we started - the doors were shut. What we were NOT told of course, is that we'd also filled two overflow rooms. On the first day, we estimated about 1,000 people had crawled out of bed and attended our session. Amazing. Other folks told us later that as they stumbled past all the other rooms, all they could hear was the babble from the end of the corridor, beckoning them on..

Scary stuff. But - given the laughs and the evals - it seemed to work. Loved it to bits, and of course Paul and I went on to present it at the Scottish Notes User group and DNUG. Lovely. Though it must be said the Lotusphere crowd did laugh the most.

They even went off and taped it for DVD on the Thursday morning. The shame about that particular recording is that the only crowd feedback you hear is from Paul and I's microphones. When we were on stage, we could barely hear ourselves think for the reaction. On the DVD, it did sound a little flatter.. Mind you - the sight of me up there in my kilt, on stage - it did terrify a few people. One person wrote on the evals "Lose the Skirt - its too freaky!".

Lotusphere was notable for another reason this year - that was Warren and Kitty had got married in December 2005, and were finishing off their round-the-world honeymoon with a week at Lotusphere. Another Lotusphere "couple" who got married this year was Dec and Terri - they of course got hitched in Vegas (tied the knot with Gayle. I'm sure Gayle will keep Bruce under control.Congratulations to you couples! However, I do think the chances of the Grand old Dames of Lotusphere - Ed and Alan - getting hitched (to each other) are quite low...

Another Lotusphere, and another Penumbra dinner. Richard Sampson and I attended this year from HADSL, and because I'd bet Bob Balaban, I ended up going in my kilt, and he in a Tuxedo. Funniest visual was for me - whilst racing for the taxi - bumping into Bob in the Dolphin Rotunda, and seeing him there in full suit, tux, short trousers (they barely covered his ankles) and sandals. The Tux firm had delivered the wrong trousers.. I thought he looked good as is. However, afterwards, someone did comment that we looked like the top of a gay wedding cake..

Around January and February, MS tried to come up with the Application Analyser. Paul Mooney and others successfully deconstructed it for the management slideware that it was. Ironically, one of the RedBull team was at Lotusphere, and talked to Paul about it at some length. Its a small world...

(More after the fold... )