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SharePoint Conference 2009 – Recap

I had no idea that what to expect in attending the SharePoint Conference in Las Vegas this year.  I expected a great place to see my friends and to learn about SharePoint 2010.

What I didn’t expect was the complete, almost overwhelming feeling of being in such a social situation with so many other SharePoint enthusiasts. There were over 7,000 people attending the SharePoint Conference this year. And starting from day 1, we were all excited to be around each other and to try and learn as much as we could from each other in such a short period of time.

I’m going to try and recap what I experienced in being here at the conference.

I got into Las Vegas on Saturday, October 17th.  I wanted to come to town early and experience at least one of the shows on the strip before all the SharePoint started.  So on Saturday when I arrived mid afternoon, I went to the Luxor and checked in.  I then promptly went down to the Luxor pool.  It was so relaxing to leave home and hit a warmer town where I could hang out at the pool again. (okay so I live in Alabama and had been at the pool 2 weeks prior, but it was a chilly 42 degrees F when I left Birmingham that morning)

At the pool, I met up with some of the other SharePoint people who had come to town early. After this I was off to see “O” by Cirque de Soliel at the Bellagio.  So I hopped in a cab and off I went to the Bellagio.  Wow, this show was great.  I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it to anyone who wants to go to a great show in Vegas.  I really loved the mix of circus with water! After the show I headed back to the Luxor to hang with a crew at the bar.

On Sunday we started off the Conference with registration and of course the SharePint event.  There were lots of people there and lots of twitter shirts out in the crowd.  It is so nice when people introduce themselves with their real name and their twitter name.  For those of us who have twitter names that aren’t our real names it is sometimes hard for people to know our actual names. 

On Monday morning, you could feel the excitement for the keynote speeches to start and for the NDA to be lifted on SharePoint 2010. In the main ballroom, people were excited, and even some dancing in the ailses.  What a fun time that was!  The keynote kicked off and the NDA was lifted.  We killed twitter several times throughout the keynote with all the SPC09 tweets.

The rest of the Monday was filled with Overview sessions on all kinds of 2010 topics. I have to say, there were so many wonderful sessions at SPC09 that I had a really hard time picking which ones to attend.  I attended several sessions on Monday, but I won’t go into detail about them.

While at me, it was pleased to be a part of the EndUserSharePoint live blogging team.  Our goal in doing live blogging at these conferences is to give people who can’t attend in person a look into what is being discussed at the conference.  We had a great group of live bloggers this time around. It was a bit of a challenge for us this time with no designated plugs for our laptops in the session rooms, but we did what we could.

Each day  we followed the same schedule, Breakfast, Sessions, Lunch, Sessions, Break, Sessions. I will say that I got quite the workout while at the conference.  The walk from the Luxor to the Conference Center at Mandalay was 1 1/2 miles each way, plus all the additional walking that we did to attend session spread out among 3 floors. It makes me tired just thinking about it and my feet are going to be sore for weeks I think.

Wednesday night was the big conference event with the 80’s Beach Party.  I was sad that I couldn’t stay at this party, but with the stress fractures I had in my foot earlier this year, I can’t walk in sand.  But I did make a quick appearance and got to see Huey Lewis and the News perform the Power of Love.

It was fun to have a birthday at the SharePoint conference and mine was Thursday. I want to thank everyone for the birthday wishes and to everyone who helped me celebrate my birthday! I told people that it was my birthday and I would SharePoint if I wanted to.  I couldn’t have picked a better location or a better group of people to celebrate with.

Withthe official conference ending on Thursday, it was time to say goodbye to some of my friends both old and new.  I was lucky enough to attend the post conference sessions, so my time in Vegas was not over.  I spent Friday with Todd Klindtand Shane Young in their install and Upgrade session.  Then after I headed out for one last night on the town.

Over all this was a completely overwhelming conference, my feet hurt, I’m tired, and my brain is full of SharePoint 2010.  But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world.

I met so many people to even mention them by name, but I want you all to know that I enjoyed meeting you all and that I hope to continue to meet new people everywhere I go.

SharePoint Conference 2009 -Las Vegas

So, I’m sitting here on the plane on my way to the big SharePoint Conference in Vegas. I thought I would take a minute to write a quick blog post about everything that has been going on lately with me.

So first off, back in September I was lucky enough to give my Branding 101 session at sharePoint Saturday New York City. Boy that was a fun trip. I had a blast taking my mother with me early for her first visit to one of my favorite cities.

We took in the sites and even managed to see Wicked and Mamma Mia and fit in some shopping during our visit.

Then it was time for SharePoint Saturday. I had a great session, thanks to everyone who attended. I’m going to try later today to post my session slides as well. I had a great time in NYC and even made some new friends.

After my NYC trip I have been at home busy trying to get ready to learn as much about SharePoint 2010 as I can. This involved clearing my plate of many tasks I hadn’t yet completed.

Next my focus turned to the Birmingham SharePoint community. I have been working on building more community spirit. In this vein, I spoke along with Lori Gowin and Laura Rogers at the TechBirmingham TechMixwr University this past week. We got to build more interest in the Bham SPUG just by participating and getting the opportunity to meet new people.

At this event I gave my SharePoint Branding 101 talk, this one is so popular. I also gave a session on SharePoint search concepts.

Later that evening it was the Bham SPUG’s first birthday! This last year has really flown by. I am so lucky to have a great support system in Lori and Laura. Also to have the support of New Horizons as our venue sponsor. Thanks to everyone who has spoken, helped spread the word, or participated in our little SPUG!!

So as you can see the last couple of months have been busy. Just the way I like them. Up next for me is lots of 2010 learning, some writing, and some more travelling. This next week is Las Vegas for the big conference.

If you will be there I would love to meet you! If you aren’t there, you can keep up with all the happenings at: EndUserSharePoint. I will be live blogging along with plenty of other people so you can feel like you are there with us. Plus the keynote on Monday morning will be livestreamed by Microsoft.

Check out all the excitement and look for lots of great 2010 blogs to come out this week from all the SharePoint MVPs. And who knows maybe even from those of us in the Birmingham community 😉

Best Practices Conference in DC 2009

I have been so busy and travelling so much lately. But in doing all of this I have been having a blast.  Last week I was in Washington DC, okay Reston, for the Best Practices Conference.   All I can say was this conference was GREAT!!!  If you have never been before I suggest that you add it to your SharePoint conference wish list.

Each time I travel for a SharePoint event, I meet so many great people as well as see more and more people that I have met and consider friends.  At the Best Practices conference, I again got to see old friends and meet new ones.  I must say that these events seem so different to me than normal technology events (not that I have been to a great number of those).  The feeling of being a part of a giant family where you can disagree and agree all at the same time.

It is such a unique experience and definitely one of my favorite things about the SharePoint world. I had such a wonderful time at the Best Practices Conference this year. I would like to thank the Mindsharp crew for all their hard work on putting together this conference.

The Best Practices conference focuses on how to use the SharePoint technology in the best ways. Hence the name Best Practices.  I learned so much for some many great speakers.  The topics were so wide spread that I had a hard time deciding which sessions to attend.

Since lately I have been trying to learn more about SharePoint Development though, I decided to focus primarily on the SharePoint developers track.  I was also able to live blog the event for EndUserSharePoint.com .  Thanks so much to Mark Miller and the Bamboo Nation boys for their Media Sponsorship.

There were so many great SharePoint people at this conference that I might forget a few, but here is my best ability to call them all out:

Brett Lonsdale, Laura Rogers, Lori Gowin, Ruven Gotz, Paul Schaeflin, Dux Raymond Sy, Scott Singleton, Paul Culmsee, Andrew Woodward, Dan Usher, Zlatan Dzinic, Sarah Haase, Sara Windhorst, Don Zielke, Rick Taylor,  Mike Ferrara, Christina Wheeler, and Darrin Bishop.  Oh my gosh though,  there were so many other great SharePoint people there.

This next week looks like it will be a busy one for me.  My internal marketing replacement at CTS starts this week, plus I have to travel to Mobile to teach a MOSS University session on Wednesday. So, a busy week ahead and only a week and a half until I leave for my vacation in NYC before SharePoint Saturday NYC.

Best Practices Conference

So, it is early on a Sunday morning. And when I say early, I mean the sun isn’t even out yet and I wonder why I am.

And then I remember it is because I am headed out of town again to see old friends and meet new ones at the SharePoint and SQL Best Practices Conference in DC.

So I’m off to do something that I love again. Travel, SharePoint and meeting people. What more could a girl want?

(other than some more sleep and a cute new pair of shoes that is)

I will post more during or after the conference.

DevLink Conference in NashVegas!

So, this week I have been up in Nashville, TN at the DevLink conference.

I know what you are thinking, Cathy at a Developer Conference? It just doesn’t make sense. But wait there is a SharePoint track this year. Okay, now it makes sense.

So, I’ve been here feeding my SharePoint addiction. And having a blast doing it! It is always great to see friends and make new ones. After all, it isn’t everyday that a girl gets to hang out with so many great guys!

Eric Shupps, Rob Foster, Dan Usher, Rob Windsor, Jeremy Sublett, Becky Isserman, and Kevin Dostalek. So much fun.

And we even got to party with Rick Flair on Thursday night at Tootsies on Broadway.

Thanks to the organizers of DevLink for putting on a great event! I learned so much and now there is code swimming in my head.

SharePoint Saturday Baltimore

Wow, so the week right after SharePoint Saturday Ozarks, I was off again to Baltimore.  Here I would be meeting up with Eric Harlan and his Baltimore SharePoint Users Group for what was sure to be a superb event.

I left on Friday after only one minor flight snafu.  My travel agency had mistakenly booked my flights to and back from Baltimore both on Sunday.  Lucky for me, it wasn’t a full flight so they were able to fix this mistake quite easily.  Thanks so much to a very friendly Southwest Airlines ticket counter staff for their help.

Once I hit Baltimore, I went to pick up my rental car and then on to my hotel.  Dan Lewis had recomended this new hotel called Aloft for me to stay in.  It was quite swanky and fun.  I was glad to be there.  The only problem that I had was that the hotel was right across the street from the Arundel Mills mall.  Now for any of you not familiar with the Mills mall line, I am sorry.  But come on boys, you can’t book a girl right across the street from a giant mall and expect her to not go.  So after check in, with a few hours to kill off I was across the street to the mall.

After shopping for a little while it was on to the speaker dinner in the Inner Harbor of Baltimore. Driving to the dinner was a fun adventure.  There was a really big soccer game happening at the Ravens stadium and there were people everywhere you looked in downtown Baltimore.  But I made it to the restaraunt only a few minutes late.  And boy was I glad that Eric and his crew had set up valet parking for us.  It kept me from being even more late.

The dinner was wonderful and I had a great time meeting everyone and hanging out.  There were so many twitter faces there that I could finally put tweets with actual people.  The only downside was that I can never find enough time to get around and actually chat with each speaker.  I did get to briefly chat with Dux, Susan Lennon, and Dan Usher at dinner.

After dinner, the intrepid group decided to go out and see what Baltimore had to offer us.  It was a great time and led to a dance floor attack on one of our crew.  I had such a good time just hanging out with the guys and getting to know them.

The next day it was time for the SharePoint Saturday event.  After getting to the event, I had a little while before my session was scheduled.  I made a point to attend and live blog Mark Miller’s (endusersharepoint.com) session.  It was convienent for me as his session was right before mine in the same room.  It was a great session and I learned a lot about some no code graph solutions.

Then it was on my own session.  I think it went pretty well.  I had some great questions from the crowd.  The only problem was again Virtual Machine drama.  I am working on fixing this by putting my VM in the cloud too.  I am tired of it crashing right before each session.

Here is my session from SharePoint Saturday Baltimore.

After the day was over, we all headed to SharePint for some good times and the social hour aspect of SharePoint Saturday Baltimore. Dan Usher, Dan Lewis, Mike Watson and I detoured to the hotel first.  By the time we got to the SharePint location, the power had gone out due to a thunderstorm.  So it was off to a new location and to find some Baltimore crab cakes downtown.

The crew ended up being a lively bunch on Saturday night: Joel Oleson, Michael Noel, Fabian Williams, and many others joined in for our dinner excursion and some people even continued on the evening with us for the party after.

All in all, SharePoint Saturday Baltimore was a great event full of wonderful people, lots of SharePoint information and good times.  I was glad to put a lot of faces with twitter names and to meet so many new people.

I am looking forward to my next trip and meeting more people and talking and learning more about SharePoint again.

SharePoint Saturday Ozarks

So, the week after SharePoint Saturday Toronto, I was off with the girls to SharePoint Saturday Ozarks.

Laura Rogers, Lori Gowin and I took off on a road trip to Harrison, Arkansas. On the way, by the way thanks to my company CTS for the great rental car, we recorded some “on the go style” videos. Thanks to Laura for posting these on YouTube.

We had a lot of fun on our trip up to the Ozarks. Once we got there on Thursday night, we checked into the Hotel Seville. This was a great local hotel. My room was one half of the party suite, but I really enjoyed the fact that my room had no windows. Great sleeping cave! I slept great.

We got to the Ozarks a day early so on Friday I worked and Laura and I took a road trip. We went off to pick up the SharePint keg. Along the way we picked up some hats as a nod to Eric Shupps. We also met a really nice Budwiser guy who loaded the keg into our car.

After a fun afternoon. We all met up in the hotel restaurant for the speaker dinner. What a great time this was!

I really enjoyed meeting people to go along with the Twitter names. Such as Mike Watson, Eric Shupps, Joy Earles, Mark Rackley, John Ferringer, Sean McDonough and many others. After a great night of socializing it was time for the main event!

Saturday morning came around and off we were to talk about SharePoint! As you might know, this is one of my favorite things to do.

My session on SharePoint branding: how master pages and themes work together went great! I had a great group of attendees and they asked a lot of great questions.

Here is a link to my presentation. I still owe a screencast which I am working on.

SharePoint Saturday Toronto Presentation

In Toronto I gave a basic introduction presentation to Branding SharePoint.  You can find my presentation slides here:

SharePoint Branding 101 – Toronto

SharePint Saturday Toronto

So as many of you know, we SharePointers like to be social.  Well, SharePoint Saturday was no different.  I had such a great time visiting the great city of Toronto.  I met so many great people and we had such a great time.

TorontoSharePintDowntown16

TorontoSharePintDowntown15

I especially want to thank Rob Windsor, Richard Harbridge and Ruven Gotz for taking me out on the town and showing me Toronto!

TorontoSharePintDowntown11

The CN Tower.  It was cool to see it change colors all night long.  I have been up in the tower before and so we skipped that this time around.

TorontoSharePintDowntown9

The Ontario College of Art and Design.  I don’t know about you, but this cool architecture was really a neat thing to see.  Toronto had lots of really great architecture. But you know what, I don’t think that I could go up and study in this building.  I would be afraid that the pick up stick looking legs would at one point snap and I would come tumbling down.

TorontoSharePintDowntown6 Me hanging out with Richard Harbridge and Rob Windsor on this sculpture.

TorontoSharePintDowntown5Me and Richard Harbridge and Ruven Gotz hanging out on this statue outside the Art Museum.

TorontoSharePintDowntown2So after walking around we went up to this cool bar and had a couple more drinks.

TorontoSharePintDowntown4I was a little confused as to why there was a plastic monkey in my drink. It was the last thing I expected when I ordered my Belini 🙂

SharePoint Saturday Toronto

Wow, it has been a great event! I have truly enjoyed participating in this event. I appreciate all the hard work that everyone involved has put into this one.

It has again been a crazy week for me. I have been all over the place, but have ended my week here in Toronto, Canada for a SharePoint Saturday. I was up first thing this morning and now I get to enjoy each of the sessions.

Right now I am sitting in Serge’s session on search. He is teaching us all about how to improve search on your sites.

Lunch was a little crazy. Everyone went pizza crazy! But it was yummy. And they have different pizzas here than I have at home.

Then I sat in on Richard Harbridge’s session on successful SharePoint implementations. It was one of the best presentation that I have ever attended! He was so great!

Now I am in Kamal’s branding session. He demo’d a great wireframe tool! I will have to try it out. I normally use Visio to do my wireframes, but this Balsamiq wireframe tools looks interesting.

Ruven’s presentation is up next today and then on to SharePint!!! –Okay, so I am sitting here in Ruven’s presentation and am blown away by how powerful Mindjet MindManager is! I highly recommend you looking into this product if you do architecture of sites!!!

I am going to be doing some screencasts in the next couple of weeks leading up to SharePoint Saturday Baltimore. I will try to blog about these screencasts as well.

The first screencast that I plan to do is how to add a FavIcon to a website. Then I am going to create an alternate css file that will change the top navigation menu and how you can apply this to a site without deploying a custom theme to the server.

I hope that everyone has had a great couple of weeks. The next couple of weeks will be crazy for me with travel and User Group meeting on Tuesday night! 🙂