Sorry we didn’t get to “chat” with you all last week ‑ we were so tied up running our RPG & DB2 Summit in Dallas that the blog fell by the wayside.
We thoroughly enjoyed the Summit. Getting together with more than 150 of our fellow IBM i aficionados is always invigorating, particularly when folks come up to you after one of your sessions and tell you that the information “more than paid for the whole event.” When we first arrived at the hotel though we did begin to wonder how things were going to turn out. This picture will give you a good idea why:
This is what we found in the ballroom one evening! This beautiful Texas Longhorn and about 99 friends were being auctioned off. Cattle in a hotel ballroom? Yup ‑ we were in Texas after all. But not just any cattle ‑ these were very expensive breeding stock. Top price paid for a bull was apparently just shy of $500,000 and the top cow went for about $340,000. Don’t think anyone is planning on turning them into burgers any time soon! We took a lot of photos of these beautiful creatures out in the rear parking lot (which had been turned into a stockyard) and will pass the link along in a future blog post once they have all been uploaded.
We had been assured that the cleanup on Sunday would remove all trace (including smells) of the cattle. We really had our doubts about that when we came downstairs for breakfast on Sunday morning! It seemed a little like eating breakfast in a barn ‑ not that Susan has ever done that, but she can now imagine what it might be like.
Turned out the hotel’s cleanup plans were based in part on the assumption that they would be able to have the rear doors open all day Sunday. The weather however had other ideas and the wind direction rendered that impossible. By the time our Monday Headstart sessions came around, there was certainly still an interesting aroma around the place. But the hotel moved us to rooms a little further from the problem so it was definitely tolerable. By the time the Summit proper started on Tuesday, the smell was all but eliminated and all went ahead as planned. By the end of the week, you’d never have known that the cattle had ever been there. But we still nicknamed our main meeting room as “the Corral” for the week in honor of the earlier inhabitants of the room.
Before we close, an update on a completely different note. Back in December, we blogged about “The Hour of Code.” In that piece, we mentioned that a version of the graphical programming language Scratch from MIT was used in the tutorial. This week we saw on KickStarter a new project established to fund ScratchJr ‑ a new version of Scratch aimed at children 5 - 7 years of age. If you think that is too young to be able to program then all we can say is “Watch the video.” The project has already met its funding goal for producing the iPad version. If they get enough additional funding they will be producing a version for Android and add features to allow the sharing of ScratchJr projects with friends and family. They will also be able to create additional resources for parents and teachers.
We think this is a fabulous project well worth our support. We encourage you, our readers, to also chip in a few dollars to support this effort. We need more kids who can think logically. ScratchJr can help achieve that.