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November 1999

Wayne's World hits Atlanta

By: Wayne Swanson swanee@pillarsoft.net

Stranger in a Strange Town?

I arrived at the airport in Atlanta friday afternoon at 2 pm on the nose and hailed a cab. So it's a couple more bucks but it will be faster than a shuttle and I won't have to stop twenty places first... right? Naturally, I get a cabbie that doesn't speak english. I tell him, "I'd like to go to the Georgia Convention Center. Whatever hotel is attached to it, I think it's a Sheraton." He responds with, "She-da-ton, I know She-da-ton," and off we went. As we roll north on the freeway I wonder out loud, "Is the Convention center on 285?" He points to his ear... "Is there more than one Sheraton? I think it's on 285." "No, too-atey-fi is back dareduh... I take you to She-da-ton." It went downhill from there. I got a beautiful tour of downtown Atlanta before I finally convinced him that the Sheraton Atlanta is "not" where I "want to go today".

He decided that I should explain the accidental tour to his boss and that "we" had made a mistake so I took it upon myself to save his skin as he rolled the cab a good stones throw to the "south" of the airport and to the convention center. After all, his boss doesn't know me. What can he do?

It sounded like we were at the end of the runway, that's how close it was to the airport! I was afraid of what this was going to cost me but I think the guy took a shine to me... he only charged me five bucks for the lift... AND the tour! :-)

At last... Atlanta!

I got checked in, cleaned up (ran a nail through my hair and turned my t-shirt inside out) and went downstairs to the exhibition hall with my gear. Needless to say, I didn't get started setting up right away. There were too many old friends to talk to and I had to make good use of my visiting time.

I did find time to set up eventually and then went straight back to the business at hand... ratchet jawing! We gravitated toward the lounge and spent a few terrific hours catching up. Some serious talk and a lot of raz. Everyone is always in a good mood at WarpStock, it's a just a great chance to enjoy each others company.

Saturday morning came early (as did Sunday and Monday) so after getting a good full two hours of shut-eye, I ran through the shower (being careful not to get too wet) and zipped downstairs. Ok... I slid downstairs with toothpicks holding my eyelids open. I said my good mornings, made sure everything was ready and bolted out the door. It wouldn't open for fifteen minutes so I had time to burn.

In the foyer were people sitting over their morning muffins and coffee like they were waiting for the bell to ring. There were gaggles of people making small talk and introductions, the unsung heroes of the day were at the registration table dutifully taking care of registrations, attaching ribbons to name tags and putting packets together. A shoppers delight for the gregarious type! My eyes went South and I could see the battered souls, nay, the outcasts of society as they stood outside the door for a morning... ummm... well you know why they were there. Now I've always tried to be all things to all people so I thought it best that I step outside and join them. editor note: Wayne, smoking is not good for you, please see http://ash.org/ash/.

As outcasts, we actually had some great conversations out there, computers, some politics, a bit of hunting, weather, common sense (and why are we the only people that seem to have any). It was a great atmosphere, in terms of weather and attitude. They came from all over the US, Canada and at least 4 european countries that I know of personally. There were also a couple of people from Florida at least one of which was just a bit worried about his property as a hurricane (Floyd I believe?) was ripping up the coast. After a few mental snapshots and gladhands I stepped inside to continue my rounds, collecting names and tidbits of personal information as I went.

I cannot overstate how much I enjoyed WarpStock again this year. Everyone, and I mean "everyone" seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely. From the very start, the WarpStock crew (Board and volunteers) were extremely helpful and great attitudes must have been part of the uniforms they issued. Even to the point of coming around and asking if there was anything else we needed to get ready. Who gives you that kind of service anymore? Many thanks go out to Milind Rao and Johnny Kitchens from the great people doing all the work in the Voice booth and myself for all their help. (in prison a guy like this would wear the proud title of, "the guy who can get things") :-) editor note: Wonder how Wayne knows this prison lingo?

Another smiling face, Eric (Erickson, our networking guru) said the internet connection was up 100% of the time if I remember correctly. With a stable link to the outside world Eric and crew made the inside work look easy. He spent most of his day wrapped in cable and smiling at everyone that passed by.

I was very happy to see so many IBM'ers in attendance and I must say that they were stellar examples of the kind of people any company would want wearing their badge. I didn't have an opportunity to meet the guys running the IBM booth as they were quite busy when I had a chance to stroll over there (I had to sign up for the WSeB drawing that I didn't win) but I did get a chance to meet Mike Kaply, Jeff Kobal and Mike Persell (alphabetical order <BG>) and they were all personable and very friendly. IBM represented themselves well with the good people they sent. These are guys that seem to enjoy what they do and while they are at it, they are doing some great things for all of us... We do need to remember to thank them whenever we get the chance.

What About the Show

I was busy and didn't get to see any presentations except for Warped Jeopardy. I had intended to be at Abel McClendon's Voice presentation as I was supposed to be helping him get it together and be there for moral support but didn't even realize I missed it until three or four hours had elapsed. I really fell down on the job but lucky for me, Abel had it all under control and didn't utter any of the discouraging words I deserved.

Everything kinda' shut down when Warped Jeopardy was about to start. I think almost everyone wanted to see what it was going to be all about. What a great job by all the folks at Sundial. They had the visuals all setup along with the Jeopardy music and we even had commercial breaks!

Chris Wright had mentioned the TV commercials elsewhere and they were great (some even hilarious) but, having never seen him before, I have to tell you how impressed I was by David Barnes in the clips that were shown. That guy could sell AMD cpu's to Intel. Wow, what a personality! I had always heard about him but had never seen anything with him in it. If I had that kind of charisma, I'm telling you... I could move mountains.

We(PillarSoft) were situated in an area known as the Serenity Pavilion where several independent vendors were taking part in a working demonstration of Serenity's WiseManager technology demo for the weekend. All of the vendors apps were loaded onto the system and each morning (and during the day for demo) the system would fire up and distribute all of our individual desktops to a diskless NetStation at our booth. The amazing thing is that I expected the apps to run slower over the network but actually didn't notice much speed difference. And man were those NetStations nice looking little units. I could see one of them on my desktop. :-)

I had quite a few applications to show and we were not able to get all of the apps on the system to demo them from WiseManager. I sat with Kim Cheung for about 15 minutes and he had several on but we got separated for some reason and were not able to get it all done. I did have another machine along so everything was still available and I also got to see most of them set up on Serenity's system.

Kim was busy "all" of the time. The guy must have 80% caffeine in his bloodstream because he is always on the go. If he needs to go to the other side of the table for example, he practically "runs" around it. I see Bob St. John as more of the facilitator type. He's got that deep voice with just a bit of rasp that can be a soothing influence when you have the personality he seems to have. "How can we make this work?" If I close my eyes, he sounds just like my brother-in-law. Oh no, that's good Bob. <BG> I wish I'd had more time to visit with them too but they were wanted from every direction most of the time. These guys seem to have all their eggs in a row and together they make quite a team.

Most of my day was spent leaning over a table visiting with fellow users. That might not sound like fun to you but for me it was absolutely terrific. I don't consider myself a salesman but I do enjoy visiting with people and every minute of the day was fun for me. Last year I rolled into Chicago for WarpStock 98 not knowing a soul that would be there. I walked away three days later with an armload of friends and new acquaintances. This year, I knew I would see most of those old friends and looked forward to sharing some conversation and a few laughs but after the weekend in Atlanta, I had acquired another armload to add to the list. It's sort of like a family reunion and it's going to be an awful big family on the next trip.

The downside is that when you meet so many new people it is hard to be able to spend much time with each of them cultivating a relationship. Being the quiet, shy and yes... even bashful, guy that I am, I felt that in order to do my part, it was necessary to invite folks to my room so the night wouldn't end too fast. Half of the fun of being there is sitting up all night and talking with people that share your interests. I think I averaged two hours of sleep a night and felt bad for taking up so much time doing it.

Out of the three nights we spent there, the front desk only had to call us once to have us keep the noise down. Personally, I think it was some of those crotchety old windows users next door that couldn't stand to see us have so much fun.

Yeah But Did You Have Any "Real" Fun?

Saturday night was the Voice/Mensys social event. A few of the well-heeled among us appeared to be getting dressed up a bit so I had to do something besides turning my t-shirt inside out again just so I'd look "different". I didn't have one of those tuxedo t-shirts to get me by either so Abel painted a tux on my t-shirt with spaghetti sauce (he used olives for button studs and cufflinks). The way people stared at me, you'd think that either they had never seen a red tux before or they were jealous of my butter dipped walleye tie and chocolate mousse boutonniere. Well... maybe I didn't actually do that but don't count it out for next time.

After a great meal Craig Greenwood made an appearance with his magic show and kept us entertained well into the evening. Of course, like any good magician, he coaxed a few notables up to the stage from the audience to be the butt of... er... I mean, to help him perform some amazing feats. I think I had heard that he will be doing his show at WarpTech in the spring so if you want to see a real OS/2 user that really has an "outside the realm of OS/2" talent, you may want to book your flights to Phoenix early.

After the social I had invited quite a few people up but had to run some errands for the "Mistress of OS/2" (Esther, you didn't show up so Judy took the title and wore the sash all weekend) and I think I may have lost a few of them when they knocked at my door and no one was home yet. We still had enough people to fill the available seating areas and parts of the floor (this isn't one of those "high class" affairs) but I felt bad about not being there sooner.

And Now, the Time is Near

I could hardly believe it when they said it was time to wrap up on Sunday afternoon. It's over already? I felt like I had just gotten there. You mean I have to go back home and, and WORK? Yes, the weekend flew by faster than a flagging whitetail. Last year it seemed like the first day lasted about three days. The second day was like about a day and the third day... (stolen from "The Jerk") I suppose I had taken it it too seriously and actually worked a little bit this year instead of just laying back and savoring it. That made the daytime really fly by but I still enjoyed it immensely and took time to relish the evenings.

And in the End

On a final note, I'd like to add a few words about the people that came just to be a part of WarpStock. It shouldn't have surprised me but I was almost dumbfounded by all the upbeat attitudes and willingness to just be there and enjoy the moment. As mentioned earlier, I certainly do not consider myself a salesman but it is amazing to me how receptive everyone seemed to be when visiting with them. I am convinced that many people were there just to show support for OS/2. They showed it not only with their pocketbook but with their kind words and I for one must say "Thank you" for the vote of confidence and the recharge and to pledge my continued support for OS/2.

Isn't it great to sit amongst friends?

Wayne is an OS/2 developer. His company is PillarSoft http://www.pillarsoft.net and their products include WarpZip, DeskTop Backup (DTB), SFX Installer, ShowTime/2 and the Enhanced E Editors. Wayne is also Vice President of VOICE.

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