Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education

October 1998

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The OS/2 Love Fest known as Warpstock,
Part 2

By: Wayne Swanson,

The Desert and I

I live in a desert. Not the typical desert you think of when someone mentions the word but rather, an area void of OS/2 users. Oh sure, my bank uses it and there are certainly other local businesses that use it but I really don't know any individuals in my home town that are OS/2 users. There are times that I crave the sound of another OS/2 users voice. This weekend... I got just that...

When I walked into the Wyndham on friday, I was looking at everyone for some sign that they were here for WarpStock. Now I don't want to say where I headed first after checking in but the first thing I saw was a t-shirt that referred to Warp at the Atrium Bar. As I am certainly not the shy type I just walked up and asked, "Are you here for WarpStock"? He turned to me with a big smile and before he could reply, I knew, he was as happy to see me as I was to see him. "Abel Mclendon" he said, "North Carolina". Yes, this was to be the start of a beautiful weekend.

About 40 people had decided to have dinner at Bob Chinns on friday so we hopped on buses, cars and roller skates to make our way there. The shuttle filled more quickly than the people who signed up for it so I hitched a ride with Peter Skye and two other notables (Really... I won't say who... I'm NOT a name dropper) On the way, they baffled me with some abstract math. I was going to mention my mastery of the "single digit times tables" to them but was afraid they would test me so I kept that little gem to myself...

The meal was great and it offered another opportunity to meet 50 or 60 more users. I failed miserably and only met about 22 of them. I also found that it is quite hard to look sophisticated with your mouth full of sea food, butter running down your lip and a bib on. At least the bib didn't say "Kiss the Cook".

A Social Butterfly?

I had arranged to share a booth with Armin Schwartz of the Warped Code Cellar but my "social butterfly" status prevented me from spending much quality time in it. It was my first WarpStock and I had to make the best of it. I had to meet as many people as I possibly could in the short amount of time we had together.

I had a few people on my "must meet" list and hoped to mentally check them off as I went. Because of our work together, I just had to meet Dan Casey and Judy McDermott. Turns out, because of our previous interaction, we got along like family right away. (No, we didn't bicker) We were up until 3:30 friday getting the Voice booth together along with three or four others (who shall remain nameless just in case I were to leave someone out).

Saturday Morning... er... Mid Morning

After our extended session on friday night, I hit the hay about 4 AM. I awoke to find it quite bright in my room in the Wyndham. That's funny, I wondered, the sun is that high at 6 AM in Chicago? No, it wasn't, but it was that high at 8:30!

After my 2 minute, 23 second shower I made my way to the Exhibition Hall. When Judy saw me she just looked out of the corner of her eye and with a small smirk she said, "I'm going to have to separate you two". Dan and I figure we were millimeters from being grounded so we straightened up for the duration of the hour.

Farming People

My ears absorbed the sound of friends, a room full of them. They didn't know it yet but they were my marks. They would be meeting me one way or the other, whether they wanted to or not! Everywhere I went, I saw smiling faces and heard their laughter. These were people that were truly enjoying the moment. Attaching mental bitmaps to names they have known in the past and reaching out to new people that shared a common bond. We were a family, joined by an inanimate object and, for many of us, consumating or cultivating relationships that had begun many years ago.

My hand went out to everyone I met. Each and every one of them seemed happy to meet another user. I really can't tell you how terrific all these people were. This was a great chance to get to know one another and it appeared that no one would pass up the opportunity to make a new friend.

The day flew by so fast that I had no idea day 1 was drawing to a close already. Dan was beat and returned to his room to "freshen up" amid some good natured ribbing from me so I felt that I couldn't take a nap without getting it right back. I knew him too well already! As it turns out, he returned before much time had elapsed and we continued into the night. More seeds of friendship were planted as the night wore on. We would continue to plant and cultivate tomorrow.

How Many Hours Does a Day Have?

I realized after the Exhibition Hall closed that I had not been able to catch even one of the presentations on my list for the day. There was just not enough time to do it all. My "social butterfly" routine was a full time job that I would not give up easily. I assumed that I would do much better tomorrow though and retired to the spacious lobby. Here, I would find many of my new acquaintances and make a few new ones.

We moved to the Oak Room and conversed over the faint din of a music and television mix. Some one must have turned the clocks ahead when we weren't looking because it seemed a bit early when the manager said "Let's go". We just didn't want the day to end. We were finally enjoying conversations with folks who understood the things we spoke of. We were enjoying the comaraderie. We were just plain having fun...

OK, I'll say it, "C'mon up fella's". The conversation moved to my room. We talked into the night and everyone seemed happy to be in Chicago in October. By the time my company had left, it was 4 AM again... This time I would hear the alarm, I hoped.

More? You Mean There's More?

I woke up at 5:30 and lay awake until 6:30. I was still excited. Just after 7 AM people were already perusing the Exhibition Hall. I was also able to catch my first seminar on sunday. Contacts made on saturday were still fresh in my mind for the most part. I hadn't met but a small percentage of the people at WarpStock so I dug my heels in and went to work.

During the course of my travels, one thing was impressed upon me. I hadn't met anyone that seemed to be putting on airs about who they were. Everyone seemed genuinely interested in who you were and tried to be friendly. I suppose that is what convinced me to stop telling everyone that I was the "Benevolent Dictator" of Bolivia and a movie mogul on weekends.

Serenity Systems had what was probably the funniest, most energetic sales pitch when one of them would yell, "Install OS/2... Ready? GO!", and then, "27 seconds! A new record!" as they installed an OS/2 desktop on a managed client. It went on from there much like that. (I wish I had gotten their names but I was laughing too hard)

Simplicity for Java was very impressive in the short demo I saw. Polyex had Hopkins F.B.I. running on a big monitor available for all to play. Bill Schindler was showing an impressive Smack on the big screen too. Centari Computers was there with a nice hardware display. SDG had MoneyWiz and BizWiz but had a hard drive go down or something of that nature so I (along with many others) missed the anticipated demonstration of it.

By 4 PM I was tired. I never knew why actually, considering I had two hours of sleep on wednesday, then four and a half on friday and an hour and a half on saturday. Eight hours in five days? That should be enough for this old man. When I sat in on Chip Davis' NetRexx session, I promptly fell asleep. I woke up with a start... I didn't know if I was snoring but couldn't take the chance of embarrassing myself further. I left what was one of my "Can't Miss" sessions and apologized to Chip for it later.

There was so much to see and so little time to do it all. We can only hope that these vendors and presenters are back again in '99 along with some of those that missed the show this year.

Some Folks

I stopped in to visit with someone I have done business with for a couple of years. Throughout the course of our emails I felt like I had a pretty good handle on the type of guy he was. He had always treated me well and I have always felt that he has been forthright and honest in all our dealings. If it's possible to do electronically, I have grown to feel that he was a trusted friend. After meeting him and during the short course of our visits at WarpStock I am convinced of the accuracy of my previous opinion. BMT's Thomas Bradford is one of those people that has impressed me with the way he has done business and as I see it, his social graces and the heart he carries on his sleeve. I don't want to be a commercial for him but it is my opinion that "nice" and "honest" should be recognized.

I might also take a moment to say how much I enjoyed the extended period of time spent with Dan Casey and Judy McDermott. These people have taken it upon themselves to carry a torch for OS/2 and they've carried it very well, I might add. They were so much fun to be around and during all the fun they accomplished much for the members of Voice to be proud of. Dan and Judy, Thank you. I consider you both "friends".

thought: Why do I, all of a sudden, feel like "Carl the greenskeeper" in the movie CaddyShack. (When he says to Tighe, "Friends forever")

What Did I Take From This?

OS/2 is alive and well. I am energized and ready for the coming years work. I'll expect to see you all there in '99.

Wayne Swanson
Developers of WarpZip, ShowTime/2 and the Enhanced E Editors

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