UKOUG 2008 – Arrival and Tuesday

Dec 3, 2008 / By Alex Gorbachev

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I arrived to the conference at yesterday around lunch time. I was supposed to come on Sunday but I was delayed because of my UK visa renewal. In fact, I almost had to cancel it completely but the world is not without good people who were able to magically help speeding up the process.

Unfortunately, I’ve been on the road for the 42 hours or so which includes about 8 hours drive to the UK High Commission in Canberra and then back to Sydney airport. Then the flight to London with stop-over in Singapore — way too long to be reasonably enjoyable. From London it’s a coach to Birmingham and finally after quick check-in at Jury’s Inn and shower, I was here — “fresh and rested”.

My first presentation was supposed to be today at 16:30 but I wasn’t sure if I would make it on time or not so we decided to keep Gregory Guillou as he volunteered anyway to substitute me in case I wouldn’t get a visa (thanks Gregory!). Well, turns out that I would be able to help and having couple people on stage (assuming they know what they talking about) is better than one. ;-)

When I realized the issue with my visa, we also started to think about options for the masterclass on the last day of the conference and we had a great idea of setting up a remote presentation bridge UK-Australia with couple Oakies on the stage locally. Those brave volunteers were Michael Moller, aka M2, and Moans Nogood. In fact, I think they might still pop up on Friday and I’m sure it would be good fun so please drop by.

The presentation yesterday went pretty well except that we obviously had to skip all the demo’s as it was 45 minutes and the original presentation was for 1.5-2 hours slot. In my experience, it’s tough to follow someone’s else slides but Gregory did a good job. It was also his first conference speaking experience as far as I know and I hope he would consider doing it more often — he has lots to share. I had nothing better to do than to play with the laser pointer but I took the liberty to answer few questions and add few details — in the end, why would I sit on the stage then!?

Alright, back to the conference now. You should be able to find me in few places – OakTable, Pythian booth or wandering between the halls as well as sitting on few session, I hope. You can catch me on the phone as well if you want to meet me but don’t see me around — text me at +44 7901581915.

Oh, almost forgot to say that I had great evening last night and it was a pleasure to catch up with everyone at the Focus Pubs and later and the Tap & Spile. I should mention that Scottish table was my favorite at the Focus Pubs as they had the best drinks around (what a surprise, Thomas!). I should also share my disappointment in Tap & Spile this year — their beer selection wasn’t great this time and they closed down the downstairs area doing some painting job — bad timing guys! I should say that I survived until midnight after this loooong day for me and this morning looks great (so far).

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