Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Virtual Conferences

A few weeks back, I attended quite a few sessions of Emarcadero/Codegear’s Coderage III virtual conference. I’ve been to a few live conferences before, and have always found them very useful. This was my first virtual conference, and I must say I found it was almost as good as the real thing. There were a few audio issues, but nothing too distracting. As with all conferences, be they live or virtual, some of the sessions were great, others not so great, but I suppose that depends on what interests you. On the whole the sessions I attended were well presented, and hit the mark. I’m going to make a few observations though, so that perhaps Coderage IV might be even better.

  • Time Zones. There were a lot of sessions I’d have liked to attend, but at 4 in the morning, I also like to sleep. Now I know however you play this, there’s always going to be someone who’ll complain that 4 in the morning is time they should be in bed, but since the sessions were recorded, why not repeat them twice, even three times so that anyone in any time zone can find a decent timeslot? I know that you can get the replays after the event, but not the same thing..
  • I felt the sessions were slightly too short. Or perhaps the subjects that were covered were just too vast for the time allotted. I’m sure there’ll be someone who says the sessions were too long though.
  • Attendance was a little disappointing. Does that reflect a decline in the popularity of Delphi, or just the fact that a lot of people don;t like virtual conferences? Has anyone ever attended other virtual conferences? If so, how was the attendance there?

Another thing I noticed during this conference. From a technical point of view, being a trainer is much easier than being a day to day developer. I’m not saying the presenters at Coderage did not know their stuff. I’m sure that they do. It’s just that when giving a session of 45 minutes, you are forced to basically present glorified Hello World applications. You just scratch the surface.

I’m just trying to say that the technical side of things, while important (you can’t do a 45 minute session about something you know nothing about), is only a small part of what you need, to be a successful presenter. In my opinion, one of the best presenters I’ve ever had the pleasure of listening to, was Lino Tadros. His sessions, while having the requisite technical knowledge, had that X factor, that made them interesting, whatever the subject covered. The sign of a good teacher.

Does he still do Delphi, or has he completely gone over to the dark side? If so, he’s sorely missed!


x-ray said...

>Attendance was a little disappointing.

i'm loyal delphi user and have been an avid coderage attendee. last year i attended or listened to nearly every delphi presentation.

i didn't attend because the registration & notification system was so poor this year.

let me explain.

the registration page also listed only "rooms" and times (not subjects). result: the registration page isn't very useful because the actual names of the sessions weren't on the registration page so i'd need to remember day 2, event X on room Y and go to the registration page.

it should all be in one place:

title, date, time, room, presenter, etc. REGISTER FOR THIS hyperlink.

the reminder e-mails from christine ellis contained no mention of which webinar it was. it should also contain the title & author.

the lack of this information meant it was too much trouble to register and attend even one event this year.

i hear replays will be published but i haven't found the replays yet.

if i'm typical, attendance will be better if:

- registration information is all present beside a "register now" link.

- the reminder e-mails include which event i'm being reminded about.

it's not so much work for codegear to marry the event title together with the actual event day, room, time, etc...

last year's code rage was much more "accessible" because the registration page actually had the titles...

some may think i'm lazy. if it's too much work to register & attend, i won't bother.

i'm hoping to listen to the replays. hopefully they are listed by subject instead of the room, day, and event #!

Anonymous said...

"It has been almost 3 years since I wrote any code in Delphi".
Found on Lino Tadros blog. He's doing now c# things.

Anonymous said...

I would be interested to see the percentage of live viewers vs. replay downloaders. I'm sure many like me (due to time zone issues or convenience) wait for the replays to come out and watch at our leisure. This makes the "attendance" seem artificially lower.

Also, it was much more complex to go to a live conference this time. No central web page, you actually had to find a relevant email, click through, login...

bf said...

codegear should read:


it would help a lot!

Carlos said...

Online conferences can't be compared with real ones.

I didn't attend because:

1) Timezone "problem"
2) The registration and notification systems sucks
3) Customers kept making me busy

Brett Graffin said...

There was a comment in your Blog that the CodeRage attendance was down. And you commented that maybe it is because people don't like Delphi anymore. I still like Delphi (I just don’t like CodeGear), and I don't like the Virtual Conferences in a live format. Why don't they let the presenters just pre-record and post their presentations? Then have a kick off date when everyone can see them. That way, regardless of “time zone” issues, I can go in anytime and see anything I want, when I want. I'm not going to look at the schedule and try to work my schedule around what I want to see, because I can only see it live. I skipped the whole conference this year because the other ones really bored me to death because they were to slow paced, and to much bureaucracy in accessing them.
Lastly, what’s the need with even having a Live “Conference”. Make a shopping center like portal and fill it with tons of content, and make it presentable with a conference atmosphere.

Anonymous said...

Now if CodeGear would use a virtual conference product actually written in Delphi!

It also has all those nice registration features mentioned.


Paul said...

Quite agree with the other comments left - beaurocratic enrollment etc... A simple stack of pre recorded conference material available all in one place at any time. I've never "attended" the virtual conferences. If I could ever find the replays, I would pick and choose a couple to watch - no doubt skipping sections as I saw fit.

My bottom line is - "where is my 64 bit Delphi!". Roadmap updates may or may not have been mentioned in the conference, hopefully if the replays appear I can find something of relevance.

I know I'm very blinkered in this respect, but I honestly don't give a jot for any new features other than having a 64 bit address space to make use of. (don't get me started on Lazarus, AWE or /3GB. Been there, exhasuted them, give me a 64 bit Delphi compiler)

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed CodeRage a lot.
All the complaints about registration seem a bit strange to me. What's so difficult about ticking the 'select all sessions' box, and then using the appropriate one to enter the sessions?

x-ray said...

>What's so difficult about ticking the 'select all sessions' box, and then using the appropriate one to enter the sessions?

that's what i did but the notification e-mail didn't contain the title so you need to go looking for what session it is. i don't have time for that...