IIUG Heads West

I don’t mind admitting it; I’m obsessed with frequent-flier miles. I’ve racked up several million of them. That’s why I know that it’s about 1,330 air miles from airport code MCI (Kansas City) to SAN (San Diego). And it’s also one reason why I’m pleased that the International Informix Users Group (IIUG) switched the venue for the 2012 IIUG Informix Conference from Kansas City to the San Diego Marriott Mission Valley. I’m told the surfing out there is sublime.

So, summer will be coming early for IIUG attendees! But great weather aside, San Diego provides another distinct advantage. San Diego’s international airport is a little easier to reach from Europe. Some attendees can take direct flights, while others can arrive via a quick hop from nearby Los Angeles. Easy connections are available from Asia/Pacific and South America, too.

Located only four miles from the airport and the Ocean Beach district, the Marriott Mission Valley provides the additional benefit of 50 percent more meeting space—which means we can put on more sessions (over 100) and more tracks (a total of seven). The themes for the new tracks are “The World of IBM” and “Genero for Everyone, from Beginner to Advanced.”

Because IBM offers more than 5,000 software products, I always hear IBMers say that it would be great to have individual, deep-dive sessions on specific products. That’s why this year’s “The World of IBM” track will feature IBM products from outside the Informix world—including Cognos, InfoSphere, Guardium, Tivoli, Lotus and many more.

The other new track will be particularly relevant for committed Informix 4GL users. We plan to provide three full days of sessions on Genero. Following the recent deal between IBM and Four J’s Development Tools Europe, Genero appears to be the future toward which Informix 4GL is headed. An estimated 40 percent of the Informix customer base uses Informix 4GL (and yes, this writer still believes it’s just about the best computer language ever developed), so we’ll be hosting 14 to 17 sessions on Genero, from beginning to advanced levels. These sessions will be presented by IBMers and Four Js technical people, who also will show off their brand-new release and customer applications. Even if you don’t currently use Genero, I highly recommend checking out at least one session. Whether you work with simple or complex applications, Genero can be useful to almost everyone.

In the interest of full disclosure, I admit that I’m actually writing this article in the lobby of the Marriott Overland Park in Kansas—the site of the past four IIUG conferences. Even as I sit here remembering all the great times, sessions and parties, I can honestly say that any wistful nostalgia pales in comparison to my excitement about staging the conference at the new San Diego venue this April.

See, every year I study the IIUG exit surveys, and in the past few years I’ve seen three major complaints (besides the standard ones about too many sessions, too much food and too much fun). Those complaints are: 1) Internet speed, 2) a lack of entertainment options near the hotel and 3) rain. It’s true, we’ve had a lot of rain in previous years.

But this new location is going be a game-changer. Our base hotel might have one of the fastest Internet speeds I’ve ever seen—it served up a 20 Mbps download on our last site visit, and we could not make it slow down. The hotel is only two miles away from the fanciest shopping mall south of Orange County, and a short ride on the San Diego Trolley puts you in the city’s historic Gaslamp Quarter in 20 minutes. And regarding rain, average April temperatures in San Diego range from 65 to 85 degrees. The city sees 330 days of sunny skies per year.

But that’s not all. Attendees who register for the 2012 IIUG Informix Conference before April 10, 2012 using discount code IBMMAG also receive $100 off the conference price. So check out the conference at www.iiug.org/conf and book your airline ticket today to be part of the world’s premier Informix event in California.

And of course, don’t forget to bring your bathing suit. The hotel’s Wi-Fi works by the pool—so get ready to make everyone back home jealous with photos of the sun setting behind palm trees.