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November 1999

Warpstock 99 ... A View from the Top.

By: Dan Casey dcasey@iquest.net

One of these days, when I'm old and gray (older and grayer?) ... I may get a chance to attend a Warpstock Event strictly as an attendee. That way, I might actually get a chance to see some of the presentations.

This year, I made it to the VOICE Presentation and the Warpdoctor "BoF" (Birds of a Feather) Session. That's 2 more than I made last year, so I am making progress.

The Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) was really very nice. All of the Presentation rooms were accessible from the main floor, as was the Exhibition area. Being attached to the Hotel, which was also very nice, was a big plus. Add the fact that the site was only 5 minutes from Hartsfield International Airport and you have a winning combination.

By now, most of you have read other articles and/or posts regarding Warpstock 99. Most of them have focused on the presentations and the vendors. All of the presentations were good ....I know because I talked to a lot of people while I was there. All of the Vendor exhibits were good. I saw most of them, talked to a few of them, but mostly, again, talked to a lot of people.

You see, Warpstock is more than a roster of Presentations on OS/2 topics. It's more than a group of Vendors showing off their wares. It's about People. People like you and me and all of the other OS/2 users in the world. And for 2-4 days (depending on our travel schedules), we all got to know one another.

If I had to pick a high point of the weekend, it would have been my arrival at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, and my first glimpse at the Exhibition Hall (even though it was still being "assembled"). If I had to pick a low point, it would be when I checked out of the hotel on Monday morning. Everything in between met or exceeded my greatest expectations of what Warpstock was all about.

Everything about the weekend showed a very high "flavor" of professionalism. Quite a few users who had been to the Linux show commented on the difference between the 2 events, and all echoed pretty much the same sentiment: "The event was more professional than the Linux circus across town" (quoted from an IBMer who attended both events).

I found myself in the position of being categorized as a Vendor ... an Attendee ... and a Warpstock Volunteer. And this doesn't include the planning and execution of "Magic Moments" ... the Official Warpstock 99 Social Event.

You see, I figured that I had enough to keep me busy with planning and coordinating the VOICE presence at Warpstock 99. I didn't need to burden myself with volunteering for Warpstock, because there were plenty of people willing to lend a hand wherever they could. I'm here to tell you that that is definitely the wrong way to look at it. Yes, there were a lot of people involved in putting on this show. But every little bit counts, and when I finally decided to step up and volunteer, I got my first "inside look" at what goes into planning and executing a show like this. And believe me ... every little bit DOES help.

That's why I volunteered this year ... but that's not why I'll volunteer next year. I find it difficult to describe the feeling you get when you're involved, even in a small way, with this event. Let's just say that it's a "Good Feeling". To actually see the event happen, and know that you played a small part in it, gives you a feeling of great satisfaction. To anyone and everyone who uses OS/2 and supports OS/2 .... Get involved! Volunteer for something! There is plenty to do, and like I said earlier, every little bit counts.

Now, then ... my opinion on a subject which has come up, periodically, this past year. The subject of Multiple OS/2 related Events.

Warpstock is in its 3rd year, now. 3 shows have "come and gone". 1999 presented something that we OS/2 users haven't seen before .... 3 shows devoted to OS/2. 1st was Warp Expo West (WEW). Originally conceived as an "Open House" for the Southern California OS/2 User Group (SCOUG), this year it grew to the size of a 1 day "OS/2 Event" with Vendors travelling to the show and Presentations given by a variety of users on a variety of topics.

Next came Warpstock Europe (WSE). This show was planned for 1998, but never quite came together. Basically, it was a European version of Warpstock ... the big difference being that attendance was free.

Shortly after WSE came Warpstock 99.

And in May of 2000, OS/2 users will have yet another opportunity to attend an event showcasing OS/2. The Phoenix OS/2 Society (POSSI) is planning an event known as Warp Tech 2000. Initial plans look like it will be a more technically-oriented show than any of the previous ones mentioned.

There seems to be a bit of controversy surrounding these events, and they all seem to center around the big question: "Are there enough OS/2 Users to support Multiple Events" and the smaller question "Are they trying to compete with Warpstock"?

As to the Big Question ... I don't know. From all early indications, All three of the shows in 1999 were a success. This would tend to lend credence to the theory that, Yes ... there ARE enough OS/2 users to support multiple shows and events.

As to the Smaller Question .... I hope not.

If you look at the big picture you'll see that there are quite a few OS/2 users scattered around the globe. Current estimates put the number at somewhere between 10 and 13 million users. While that may seem like a huge number, compared to the number of computer users who AREN'T running OS/2 ... it's pretty insignificant.

There may, indeed, be enough users to support multiple events. Even Concurrent Events. There has been one mention of holding Warpstock 2000 and Warpstock Europe on the same weekend, and link the 2 events.

There are NOT enough users to allow for competitiveness between events. It's perfectly clear that IBM doesn't "officially" support SOHO and End Users in regards to OS/2. That doesn't mean that OS/2 is dead. As was evident at Warpstock 99, OS/2 is alive and well. To keep it that way is going to take the cooperation and support of ALL OS/2 Users working together towards a common goal.

VOICE doesn't want to be the only OS/2 Support Group ..... We don't even want to be the Best OS/2 Support Group. We would like to, however, be the focal point of OS/2 Support and work with all of the existing OS/2 Support Groups, Webmasters, Developers and User Groups in an attempt to bring everyone together and organize all of the information and support that's already available so that every single OS/2 user on this planet will be able to find what he or she needs when it comes to Technical Support for OS/2 and OS/2 Applications.

In 1998, VOICE supported Warpstock 98. In 1999 VOICE supported Warp Expo West, Warpstock Europe and Warpstock 99. We are currently awaiting further details for future events, but in 2000 VOICE is planning on supporting Warpstock 2000 and Warp Tech 2000. These are the 2 shows that we know are currently being planned. If and when other events are announced, we at VOICE will evaluate the event, and make a decision at that time. At this time, I think it's safe to say that ANY event or project that benefits OS/2 users will have the support of VOICE.

One final note on Warpstock 99.

I need to say that I don't do what I do for any of the "Glory". I enjoy what I do ... I enjoy working with the people in VOICE, and I enjoyed working with the Warpstock Team. I get a great deal of satisfaction just knowing that I contributed to a project that succeeded, and I get a boost of energy that compels me to want to do it again and again.

Having said that, I need to thank a few people.

To the entire Warpstock 99 Team ... Thanks for a great show!

To the Warpstock Committee, Thanks for allowing VOICE to sponsor and plan the "Party". It was a lot of fun planning it ... and even more fun attending it. I hope everyone there had as good a time as I did.

To Menso B. de Jong (and all of Mensys), Thanks for your support and co-sponsorship of the "Party".

To Bjarne Jensen (FX Communications) ... Thanks for your support and especially for your donation of a 100 User License for the Injoy Dialer. The Internet Access at Warpstock 99 was virtually flawless.

To that "select" group of IBMers who take the time to support ALL OS/2 Users ... my personal "Thanks". You guys know who you are .... and without your selfless assistance, all of us would have a real struggle trying to work out our little problems. It was a great pleasure to meet some of you in Atlanta. I only wish that I could meet all of you.

To the VOICE Board of Directors ..... Thanks for EVERYTHING!. It has truly been a pleasure working with all of you ... especially the 2 weeks prior to Warpstock 99. You all make my job so easy.

To the VOICE members .... you are the ones that make all of this possible. Without you, we would be nothing and we would do nothing. You *ARE* VOICE. My personal thanks to all of you.

Dan Casey
President, V.O.I.C.E. (Virtual OS/2 International Consumer Education)
Warpstock 2000 .... BE THERE!!!!

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