Thursday, November 02, 2006

Back from MAX

I've been back from MAX since Friday. And in some ways it has taken this whole week just to recover. Las Vegas is a crazy city. So what did I learn? I'll separate it in to two difference sections, Vegas and MAX.

First MAX. The conference was one of the better ones I've been too. I took a full day training session on Flex with ColdFusion on Monday, which was really worth the extra money and time. Before that training session, I really didn't feel like I had a grasp on how to use CF as a back end for Flex. Sure I could cut and paste example code, play with it, and make it sort of work, but I didn't have a good understanding of what I was doing -- now I do (at least with the basics). That knowledge was reinforced by the Flex sessions that I attended. I really feel I'm ready to dive, head first, in to a complex Flex project.

Other things I learned? Well, I think Adobe is on track with the Apollo product. I didn't get to see as much of it as I wanted to, but from what I did see, Apollo is going to be a great solution for providing a single application across the OS/browser divide. The fact that it will render Flash (and Flex of course), HTML, PDF, CSS, etc in a single easy to use environment should really allow it to take off. That being said, I'm concerned about making the product a success. Macromedia tried with Central. Sun with Java something-or-other. And, there have been others as well, who've tried to create a platform for bringing web applications from the browser to the desktop. Is this the right time? Right product? Only time will tell, but I think Adobe is on the right path, and truly "gets it".

Of course, an equally large part of my week was Vegas. What a city, it many ways, it shows the best and the worst parts of what America is. The best part of the experience was playing Black Jack. I had never played in a casino before. I stepped off the plane expecting to play, and lose, I choose an amount that I could accept losing and when with it. In the end, on my last day, I ended up with a profit of $5! This including the money I spent on food, drinks, etc. I consider that to be a huge win!

Seeing the many casinos was pretty cool -- of course the casino floor in all of them ended up being the same. Different ways to get you to spend money. That being said, I was really impressed with the expense, the use of costly materials, and the overall quality of the finished products. Some of the places I visited were truly beautiful. The thing I didn't really expect, or realize was the size of Vegas. When you are on the strip, the different locations don't seem that far away. However, try walking from Mirage to Paris, and you soon realize how far away they really are. Last, but not least, was the food. While the food at MAX itself was fairly boring, the after parties, and the special event made up for it. I got to eat Kobe beef for the first time, at two different places, it was damn good at Tao, but it was incredible at Little Buddha. And I did end up eating in my third Emeril resturant, Emeril's N.O. Fish House -- it wasn't as good as the other two I've eaten at (Tchoup Chop andNola), but it was still one of the best food experiences I've had.

Last, by not least, I met some really nice people at MAX. That, perhaps, is the best part of the conference. Each year, I make more friends, new contacts, and expand the list of people I hope to see at the next one.

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