The COMMON Conference Agenda Is Coming Together
March 16, 2009 Dan Burger
Where are you on the Power Systems i learning curve? If you are in the low single digits on the time and effort side of the chart, it’s not likely that you’ve advanced on the measurable learning side. You probably don’t need to be reminded there’s a correlation between the two sides. Coming at the end of April is an opportunity to climb up the learning curve. The days, it’s called the COMMON Annual Meeting and Exposition.
If you don’t already know, COMMON is the single largest community of IBM midrange users and its annual conference is largest gathering of i platform users, educators, and third-party solution providers you’ll find. This year the event is in Reno, Nevada, and it begins Sunday, April 26 and continues through Thursday, April 30 at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino.
Most attendees swarm to the opening session, which this year features Ross Mauri, general manager of the Power Systems division, and Jeff Jonas, a distinguished engineer and chief scientist for IBM entity analytics. Mauri will likely provide some i candy by evangelizing about the platform most still prefer to call the AS/400 and perhaps revealing some new details about IBM’s midrange hardware/software roadmap. Jonas is a gaming industry expert who has deep knowledge of the systems used in the casino and resort industries, a niche that has been dominated by IBM midrange computers. His presentation, entitled Cops and Robbers Las Vegas Style, will reveal just enough information about casino policies, processes, and systems to respond to these threats so that you won’t be tempted to try anything that might get you booked into the Reno jail. (This is, after all, a gambling town, so don’t forget to bring your next mortgage payment and the kids’ college tuition money. It is safer in Vegas than on Wall Street these days.)
The educational opportunities begin on Sunday and continue each day. All-day workshops are only available on Sunday. The topics include: DB2 Web Query, Linux and AIX on Power Systems, Remote System Explorer for RPGers, an RPG Meets the Web. These in-depth sessions require a separate registration fee from the general COMMON conference.
Within the conference agenda, there are 58 new i-specific sessions, plus 39 sessions specific to AIX. This is the greatest amount of AIX attention in COMMON history, but it should come as no surprise since the Power System convergence of Systems i and p last year. There will also be 17 new speakers this year.
One of the most popular attributes of the COMMON conference is the availability of hands-on computer training. Computer labs are rarely found in other IBM i training and education venues. These labs are scheduled Monday through Thursday of the conference. No pre-registration is required to attend any traditional lab or open lab, so if you want the hands-on learning experience, just remember seats go to those who get to them first.
The COMMON IT Executive Conference coincides with the annual meeting and exposition. Although participation is on an invitation-only basis, word has it that arms can be twisted and accommodations can be secured if you know the right people. Start this process by checking out the Executive Conference Web page.
Registration costs for the main conference varies in several ways. COMMON members can get an early bird rate of $1,495 until April 2. After that the cost is $1,695. Group registrations are discounted and one-day registrations are also available. The above-mentioned rates apply if you stay at the conference hotel. Non-COMMON members and those staying at another hotel will pay a higher registration rate. See the pricing and registration Web page for details.
Room rates at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino begin at $139 per night.