Hey, this was an incredible week and it's hard to believe that it's over! Sorry that you didn't hear or read from me during this week (except of course the people who attended the Conference), but I was (with a few exceptions, thanks to Sheeri and Roland) offline this week and could not post any new articles in that time.
Every individual day was absolutely incredible. The trip was alright, it was my first big journey alone and I was concerned about many things that could possibly go wrong - from how to find my way through the airports (my route was Vienna - London - San Francisco), or since I rented a car, driving in a different country with some different rules and things like that. But it all worked very smoothly and there were no such problems at all ... and I gained a lot of new experiences about travelling. The flights were long and much of it was boring, but even there I had a few remarkable moments - for example when I managed to see Greenland's snow and ice landscape (absolutely beautiful). On my flight back home I had time to take a taxi into the city of London to get myself a cup of coffee at Harrods - this is also a nice thing on the side of my whole journey (although quite expensive since one taxi ride costed me 45 pounds).
But back to California - I arrived at my hotel (the Wellesley Inn at Steven Creek Blvd.) on Saturday afternoon. After checking in and having a shower, I planned to look up for the Convention Center, the location of the Users Conference. Just when I was about to leave, I got a call on my mobile phone from Roland Bouman, so we arranged that I pick him up to go there together. So we did - it wasn't hard to find the Convention Center, so we went in to look around and get ourselves a cup of coffee. Suddenly, Roland asked: isn't that Arjen Lentz over there? - and it was him, together with Jay Pipes and Colin Charles. It was followed by our first MySQL dinner.
Sunday was our sightseeing day. Originally I thought of going alone, but Roland told me that he arranged to go sightseeing with Mike Kruckenberg and I was delighted to join in. So we picked up Mike from the San Francisco Intl. Airport on Sunday morning and drove into town to take a ride with the famous San Francisco cable cars, see Golden Gate Bridge and more. Also watch out Roland's and Mike's articles about our tour - I'll soon also put some pictures online that I took.
In the evening, we returned to the Convention Center to register for the Conference. Here we met Beat Vontobel and Giuseppe for the first time - two more great bloggers that I spent most of the time at the Conference together. Of course we also finished this day with a dinner all together.
Monday was the tutorials day at the Conference. My first tutorial was "Secure Your PHP and MySQL Web Applications" with Laura Thomson. Even though I heard most of the things concerning PHP security before, it was great to call them back into memory. My second tutorial - "New Features of MySQL 5.0 and 5.1 In-depth" with Jan Kneschke - was not a good decision for me. The tutorial was not bad, but since I do a lot of work and testing with the latest versions, there was nothing new for me. If I could chose again, I would probably select the Data Warehousing tutorial.
In the evening, I joined the BOF session "MySQL's Graphical Tools - Current State and Future" by my compatriot Mike Zinner, who's the leader of the GUI developing team. It was a pleasure to meet another Austrian who has made a career with MySQL and he does great work - which was nothing new for the GUI tools MySQL Administrator, MySQL QueryBrowser and MySQL MigrationToolkit that I have used before, but I was very impressed by the possibilities that come with the latest tool in the GUI family: MySQL Workbench. If you haven't already done so, you should give it a try!
Tuesday was certainly the greatest day for me. There were these keynotes in the morning and I knew that I will see many of MySQL's most famous people like Monty Widenius, David Axmark or Kaj Arnö for the first time. Not only that - I met with Sheeri Kritzer who organizes those great MySQL meetings in Boston that I heard so much about and that really impressed me a lot (I hope, I can manage to be there one day). But the best surprise was yet to come. After the State of the Dolphin talks with Kay Arnö, Monty Widenius and David Axmark, the winners of the MySQL Community Awards were announced. Giuseppe and Roland were the winners for Contributor of the Year (Giuseppe) and Forum Leader of the Year (Roland) and I almost fell off my seat when I heard that I won the category "Writer of the Year"! That was completely unexpected and such a great honour - probably the most remarkable moment in my life (WOW!).
Sheeri wrote a great article covering these moments, including some photos that also show some of my most memorable moments - check it out!
I met a lot of people who told me, they were reading my articles and they knew db4free.net. It's such a great feeling to find out that I have a voice and it's heard and welcomed by so many people - thank you all and please continue reading my articles and using db4free.net! My great experiences at the Conference give me a lot of motivation to also continue my work and keep on improving these things - so stay tuned.
Back to the events at the Conference - in the following I'd like to give you a list of the other sessions and BOFs that I attended (I hope, I have memorized everything correctly):
* The 5.1 Release, Brian Aker
* A Look at New and Cool Things in the World of PHP, Rasmus Lerdorf
* New Storage Engines in MySQL 4 and 5, Patrick Galbraith
* Performance Tuning Best Practices, Jay Pipes
* PHP Framework and the Eclipse PHP IDE, Andi Gutmans
* Higher Order MySQL, Giuseppe Maxia
* HackFest B: Creating New SHOW Commands, Brian Aker
* BOF: MySQL Meetup Groups, Sheeri Kritzer
* Speeding-up Queries: New Features of the MySQL 5.0 Query Engine, Timour Katchaounov
* MySQL Migration Toolkit, Michael G. Zinner
* Web Performance and Scalability with MySQL, Ask Bjørn Hansen
* Tuning MySQL5 SQL and Stored Procedures, Guy Harrison
* MySQL Quiz show (with me participating and winning two books!)
* Plugging Your Applications into the MySQL Storage Engine Layer, Brian Aker
* Confession Time: Deadly Sins Using MySQL and PHP, Arjen Lentz
* MySQL GUI Tools for the Enterprise, Michael G. Zinner
* Jim Starkey's OLTP Storage Engine, Jim Starkey
Thursday ended with another MySQL dinner including Kaj Arnö, Arjen Lentz, Colin Charles, Jay Pipes and of course Beat, Roland and Giuseppe.
After checking out of Wellesley Inn and a little shopping tour with Roland, Giuseppe and Beat, I drove (joined by Roland) back to the airport to return my car and travel back home (which was a nice trip again with a short stay in London as I mentioned before - and a lot of rain when I arrived in Vienna *aargh*).
This is still not everything about the Conference - watch out, there's more to come.
And I don't want to finish this article without giving one more statement: this Community ROCKS! Not only from far away with mailing, writing articles and all the things we used to do. This Community also rocks meeting face to face! I met so many nice and lovely people - and it was like knowing Arjen, Beat, Colin, Frank, Giuseppe, Jay, the "Mike's" (Kruckenberg and Zinner), Roland and Sheeri (the people that I spent most time with in alphabetic order to not prioritize) for a long time.
Keep on doing your great work and see you all!