I’m just back from ILUG 2010. What a great conference! Two years ago, after seeing all the tweets and blog posts, I swore I would go even if I had to sell a kidney to get there. Luckily, selling body parts was not required.
An interesting thing often seems to happen at conferences for me, and this conference was no exception. I will be mulling over a problem or business process for applications I am working on prior to going to the conference. While attending sessions, something a speaker says indirectly or directly presents itself as a solution to my problem. I may have heard the same technique before, but in light of current work, it suddenly makes sense. ILUG was no exception to this phenomenon and I am quite excited to get back to work and try it out.
Another conference occurence is seeing friends. Hanging out, chatting, having a beverage or two or three, sharing lots and lots of laughs. Loads and loads of this occurred at ILUG.
Something that ONLY has happened at ILUG, I was forced to run up a GINORMOUS hill by none other than Paul Mooney. I think he was getting revenge on all developers by torturing me. Kidding aside, it was a lovely run up a rather steep hill with fantastic company. Also, my only chance to see any of Belfast outside of the conference hotel and drive from the hotel to the airport.
Something else that has only happened at ILUG, I met (and partially helped create) a super hero. El Nacho Libre, aka Tim Clark. Origins of the situation aside, Tim Clark was trying to learn Spanish and speaking it to me in the bar, all whilst sporting his new mustache. His mustache (while hilarious and great to make fun of) is being grown in support of Movember. He’s been a great sport and taken a lot of abuse, all in the name of charity, so please visit the link and support the cause!
And lastly, the best part of ILUG for me. I was completely floored and surprised when a few minutes into Rob Novak’s “Free Beer” session, an entire room full of ILUG attendees began singing “Happy Birthday” to me. And a cake was presented to me, complete with a Runner Girl cake topper. And a card that many of the attendees had signed. All while I stood next to a table covered with FREE Guinness! I could not have been more surprised. I was/am so touched by my friends who would go to such effort for me. As a few people witnessed (though I tried to hide) it took me a few tries before I could even read the card without getting emotional.
All in all, a great conference, a fun (?) run, and a FABULOUS birthday!