As a speaker I did visit Cardiff Castle. We enjoyed a fun short tour of the castle followed by a dinner at the former servants area. A speakers dinner is a great way to get to know some of the other speakers and organisers. Since I am fairly new at this type of thing it's an excellent way of getting in touch so the first day of the event you feel a little familiar already.
At the first day some of the people had a little trouble finding this particular university building, so we started a little late. The opening presentation was done by Uffe Sorensen, Social Business and Collaboration Director of IBM Software Group, who took us on a tour from the early days of Lotus to the contemporary Notes Social Edition.
Some ofthe highlights of the two-day event for me were Simon Vaughn's and Jon Scott's presentation 'Targeting an Exceptional User experience - Connections in Education'. I loved how Cardiff is looking at 'what student excpect from their IT environment'. After all they are the employees of the future!
During lunch break the first day, Nerd Girls hosted by Gabriella Davies, organised a 'Spark Ideas' session. Kind of like TED talks. A short (5min) freeform talk started at Lotusphere 2012, from anyone who has an inspirational story to share. Really nice to attend. I hope they will be doing this again at Social Connections IV in Amsterdam on 30th of November.
For all the admins and developers there were plenty of technical sessions to attend by some great thought leaders from around the world, such as Paul Withers, John Head, Sharon Bellamy, Gabriella Davies, Paul Moony and many others. There were actually quite a few presentations on XPages, amongst which one of my colleague Frank van der Linden about 'Yellow and Blue stream - Make use of the Activity Stream, oAuth and XPages in your Social Business applications' . Also I enjoyed the two bickering brothers Roy and Tony Holder presenting their great HADSL FirM engine in 'User Management - How to improve service and security while reducing costs'. Ofcourse I won their give away iPad so I will love them forever.
I loved Mat Newman's session 'Lotus Notes, Yeah Baby, Yeah...'. In a very enthusiastic manner he talked about all the cool features of Lotus Notes. One thing struck me most: he said "if your users are not using it, it's your fault!" (receiving a hearhear from Susan Bulloch) Something I recognize very much. Often at user adoption sessions with clients on Lotus Notes I find a lot of the cool stuff not being properly implemented or known by IT. Take the Sidebar for example, which can be used for many great things by adding great widgets. Mat showed us some really nice widgets that can be installed in seconds which make work so much more efficient....and fun!
The two days were so packed with interesting stuff, that it is impossible to mention everything. You really have to come see for yourself! Or go get the slides from the UKLUG website. In the meantime, you may want to attend some IBM sessions on Connections 4: september 19 in Amsterdam and september 25 in Brussels. Or join the Connections 4 testdrive on October 4 in Rotterdam (Netherlands), and ofcourse Social Connections IV on November 30 in Amsterdam! Plenty of events to learn more and meet people!