Well it is now Sunday, two days after Tech Field Day #5 ended.  I am finally starting to digest everything that was presented to the team and just wanted to take a moment and share some of my experiences.  I am going to hold off on commenting on the data gathered from the presentation because I would like to gather some more information, review my notes, as well as even review some of the wonderful video that was shot.
Let me start off with the invitation to the event.  To be quite honest I was very surprised to be invited to this event because I did not think I was worthy of attendance.  When I was asked, I was very excited at first – then humbled by the invitation.  It is because of all of you that I was able to go – and that I thank you for. If you are interesting in being a delagate, some of the things that are sought after are respected by your peers, knowledgeable in the industry, and being respectful to others. To apply to be a delegate, please feel free to visit Gestalt IT at this link.
When it comes to the preparation for the event, it shows that they know what they are doing.  The travel arrangements are spot on, your hotel room is ready for you when you get there, the transportation schedule is worked out to the minute (and we all know that is an amazing thing to do!), and the dinner arrangements are perfect.  You can tell this is a profession organization and knows how to plan an event!  The preparation that they do is amazing, if not mind boggling.   They have a schedule that is well communicated, well planned, and very well thought out.  They also make sure that the presenters are aware without actually interrupting the event – they run a fine show.

Gathering on the first night.

Our first day (Wednesday) was very well planned.  They had a delegate there with a Gestalt IT Tech Field Day sign, waiting for people to arrive. This person had the privilege of welcoming you to the event and letting you know what is going on.  This little bit if personal touch makes it so much easier considering you may not know anyone there. This helps to bridge the initial gap in communication as well as build the bases for a sense of comradery with everyone else.  Once you are all checked in, you have some time to mingle and get to know everyone – by names and not twitter handles 🙂 – with the others prior to dinner.

Dinner with the delegates


Dinner the first night was awesome! It was a small Mediterranean restaurant called Zeytoun that is  a quick 5 minute walk from the hotel.  The evening was alot of fun as we were each asked to bring a gift from our hometown to share.  It was something that should be representative of where you are from, so I chose Mike and Ikes from Just Born Candy.  I think everyone liked them, at least most people seemed pleased with that gift – either that or it was just the sugar rush that came with a BIG box of them 🙂  As dinner progressed, we even had some cultural entertainment for the evening – a belly dancer.  Initial impression might be WHAT?!, but if you look at many Mediterranean style restaurants, the dancers are common as are hookahs (no hookahs as CA is non-smoking). The young lady dancing was mesmerizing and entertaining to watch . I have never seen this type of entertainment in person, and watching her dance with the sword on her head was simply amazing!
To finish off our fist day of classes, we all gathered at the Computer History Museum to mix and match with all the vendors for the event.  Some of them had already presented whilst others would be presenting the following day. This was a nice experience and a great way to wind down the first day of sessions.  We had a chance to see the Babbage Difference Engine No. 2 run that evening.  For those of you who do not know what this is, it is an automatic, mechanical calculator designed to work with polynomial equations.  It consists of 8,000 parts and was designed around 1822! Below is a video of the machine actually working, and yes it is hand-cranked!
It was a great pleasure and honor to actually meet Stephen Foskett at this event.  Yes, it is his event; Yes, he runs the event, but to finally meet the man who has brought us so much information to the community was a wonderful experience.  He has a great sense of humor as well as some amazing knowledge of the industry.  I was very surprised at his in depth knowledge of the industry and technology, and to be honest it was very refreshing.  He loves what he does and I think he loves bringing together smart people to enjoy the experience.  Below is a video from the first evening with Stephen introducing Tech Field Day #5
[vimeo http://www.vimeo.com/19773356 w=400&h=225]
Now, Claire – what can I say about this lovely lady.  I think that she is truly the glue that makes everything happen and keeps everything moving.  She is more on top of things that we will ever know and I am confident that she was doing things and addressing issues that we never even knew existed.  She is a wonderful person, great sense of humor, and just an all around good egg.  She and Stephen are as much as a key to this event as are the delegates.
To recap, this is a great experience and one that should not be missed.  If you ever get an invitation to go, do not hesitate to accept or worry about how any of it works.  You can trust the people behind this event, they will take care of you.  Perhaps I will see you at a future Tech Field Days, that is if Stephen would ask me again (fingers crossed).
I just want to thank the past delegates who helped to make this happen; the delegates I attended with for helping me to learn more; the companies that helped to make this event happen; and to Stephen for the honor to attend.
Below are links to the other delegates from Tech Field Day #5, be sure to check the sites out as well.

Sean Clark SeanClark.us @vSeanClark
Jeff Fry FryGuy’s Blog @FryGuy_PA
Robin Harris StorageMojo @StorageMojo
Bill Hill Virtual Bill
Gestalt IT
Tom Hollingsworth The Networking Nerd @NetworkingNerd
Matthew Norwood Network Therapy @MatthewNorwood
Devang Panchigar StorageNerve @StorageNerve
W. Curtis Preston Backup Central @WCPreston
Maish Saidel-Keesing Technodrone @MaishSK
Eric Siebert vSphere-land @EricSiebert
Greg Stuart vDestination
Chris Wells vSamurai @wygtya