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An Architect's View

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An Architect's View

CFUNITED - Thoughts on the non-technical stuff

June 27, 2008 · 28 Comments

First off, I'd like to extend huge congratulations to the team that organized CFUNITED: Liz Frederik and Nafisa Sabu with technical assistance from Elliott Sprehn (and, of course, several on-site folks who man the registration booth and run around making sure everything's OK). Despite all the others, we know the powerhouse behind CFUNITED these last several years is Liz and Nafisa and it wouldn't happen without them.For speakers, CFUNITED is a fairly well-tuned machine with a good, timely flow of information and valuable benefits in exchange for delivering drafts and other information and material to the conference in a timely manner. The speakers' dinner was nice and quiet (although Clyde's had no idea how to cook steak). Choosing to record all the sessions with Adobe Acrobat Connect was a brave experiment and, in my opinion, a great success overall. Sure, some recordings had rough audio and some speakers somehow didn't manage to conquer Connect but well over half the sessions are now available on Charlie Arehart's UGTV. This is a huge step forward. Of all the conferences, CFUNITED excels at networking. It's the biggest (CF) event with the widest audience and the best chances for meeting other CFers and talking about work problems and work opportunities. It wasn't all good tho' this year. I want to talk about some things that didn't go as well (and are mostly out of the control of Liz and Nafisa so this is not a criticism of them). Content I gave my talk twice and went to eight other sessions (plus one keynote). There were two sessions that I wanted to see but missed (due to getting caught up in networking conversations). I've gotten used to the fact that I'm not very likely to fill my schedule at CFUNITED but this year pickings seemed unusually slim in terms of advanced content. It also felt like more speakers were giving their talks and then leaving town. I think back to cf.Objective() and Scotch on the Rocks where I was able to fill my schedule fairly easily. Part of the problem, of course, is that talks I'd seen at those two conferences were repeated at CFUNITED, further reducing my options - and there were several talks that were variants of topics that come up every year at CFUNITED (I heard several attendees complain about "the same old topics" this year). Track chairs could do more to pick new topics and push speakers to write new talks. I know it's a lot of work. I've committed to two new talks for CFDevCon because I feel it would be unfair to their audience to reuse the two talks I did at Scotch on the Rocks. I was asked to repeat my Event-Driven Programming talk at MAX but it will be substantially different so that folks who saw it at Scotch on the Rocks or CFUNITED can come again and see something new. Adobe's keynote was great (of course) with positive news about ColdFusion's sales and lots of juicy information about Centaur. Michael's opening keynote was... painful. I've already touched on this in my review of day one but it really needs to be said again. Keynotes are supposed to be upbeat, engaging, informative and enjoyable. Perhaps even spectacular and rehearsed (MAX and similar large vendor conferences). Michael was quiet, unprepared and downbeat. It felt amateur and it was boring. A shambolic Q&A session is no way to start a conference. He really needs to just come on stage, get people excited about the next three / four days and introduce the "main act" and get out of the way. Michael's sessions at CFUNITED tend to be very "touchy-feely" and full of audience participation. Fine. Keep it to the sessions. It doesn't work in a keynote. Then there was HostMySite's keynote. I stayed away - I couldn't imagine what they could talk about that would be worthy of a keynote rather than just a case study on their business. Lots of other people stayed away too as far as I can tell and the reports that filtered back to me from folks who attended said it was pretty awful. I like HMS as a hosting company but this is a good example of why even top sponsors should not automatically get keynote slots! Birds of a Feather Sessions What was with only one BOF slot? Everything had to compete. It would have been far better to have had more slots and used fewer rooms. Oh wait, there was that two hour networking event wasn't there? Well, let's hope the food and drink there were good enough to warrant not having more BOF slots. Since all six BOFs competed, we had to pick one and only one. I went to the Open BlueDragon BOF (to show I'm not "against" the project). Matt Woodward told an audience of about half a dozen about OpenBD and what was coming in terms of new features and project infrastructure (including the open source wiki project). It was good to hear about discussions on the committee, especially around license considerations (although he emphasized that LGPL was not being considered). Several BOFs had similarly low attendance (I heard the remote workers BOF was abandoned after a few minutes). Ray's SciFi BOF was fairly well-attended (my wife went to that!) and I heard that the Railo BOF was fairly well-attended (about 30 people?). Cut back the networking event and give us more BOF options next year! Attendance & Catering An observation rather than a complaint: attendance seemed way down this year. Last year I believe somewhere around 950 attendees packed into the Montgomery Conference Center / Marriott. This year it seemed closer to 700 (and I heard that number from a couple of sources but haven't been able to confirm it yet). I'm sure the economy had plenty to do with it - CFUNITED is an expensive conference in an expensive location - but I'm guessing that WebManiacs in Washington, DC only a month earlier also hurt CFUNITED. We seem to have an embarrassment of conferences in the second quarter of the year and that can't help anyone's budget plans! Despite the lower attendance, the catering seemed to have aimed at a still lower number. Sodas and coffee ran out every day (I managed one Coke on Saturday afternoon and I think I managed one coffee, despite trying to get soda and/or coffee and a snack every day). Food ran out. The unionized staff at the convention center couldn't care less. I heard several reports of attendees asking if there was more "X" and staff either just shrugging or saying that the event organizers hadn't bought enough / had gone over budget. Some attendees missed lunch altogether because food was all gone early in the 90 minutes allotted to lunch. Even when there were "leftovers" they seemed to be cleared away too swiftly for latecomers to take advantage of. Even before the conference I'd heard concerns expressed by folks who'd had dealings with the Washington Convention Center in the past - and MAX Chicago also suffered from unionized staff indifference and obstructive behavior. I'm going to put the special event in the catering category. I didn't go. I'd been told TeraTech wanted $150 for guests to attend the two evening events and that seemed outrageous to me. I heard (after the event) that they'd reduced the price to $100 but that still seemed expensive. A couple of attendees said they'd heard of tickets available for just the special event at $50-$65 and one attendee claimed their guest got in free after bitching about the ticket price. I was of course interested to hear what folks had to say about the event at the Crime & Punishment museum. All I heard was negative, both about the museum itself and the poor selection of food and drink at the event. Several attendees said they wouldn't have paid the $15 entrance fee if the event hadn't been included in the conference. I'm not sure what to suggest about "special events". Most conferences try to organize them and most conferences seem to charge for guest passes. MAX Chicago wanted $100 for a guest pass (and that event got terrible reviews from most people I spoke to) and MAX Barcelona wanted $75. I complained so much about that, I got a comp'd guest pass and it most certainly was not worth $75. cf.Objective() did not have a special event (the committee talked about it but the cost and logistics made it very hard to justify). Instead they held a sponsor-funded reception on the evening before the conference, left attendees to their own devices on Friday evening and ran four tracks of BOFs in two time slots on Saturday as well as an Adobe BOF in between those slots. What do attendees prefer? Location & Layout When I checked in on Tuesday, I was stunned at how big the convention center is. My first thought was "Wow! CFUNITED is going to be pretty lost in this big building!" (and this was only half the total convention center). CFUNITED had six rooms spread across the main floor (there were dozens of rooms on that floor and I think the second floor was also full of conference rooms). The vendor area, dining area and keynote area were in the "basement" - a vast, cavernous concrete space with three little squares curtained off in the middle. CFUNITED looked very lost in that giant space. Of more concern was the location of the vendor area - next to the breakfast / lunch / keynote areas. None of the attendees would be in that space except first thing in the morning and then for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. Vendor after vendor bemoaned the lack of attendees in the exhibition area. I felt pretty sorry for them. I didn't even make it to any of the vendor booths myself because I was usually embroiled in conversations with attendees when I wasn't in sessions. The hotel was a bit of a hike from the convention center but it's been much worse at past MAX events. The Marriott / Montgomery Conference Center was a great location in that respect (although many attendees had to find hotels nearby and had much longer walks or cab rides or other transportation woes). The hotel was extremely nice but it was also extremely expensive. I winced at last year's $192 per night for the Marriott but $252 is a huge burden on attendees (that's over $750 plus the cost of the conference itself and whatever travel costs). The sports bar wasn't too outrageous (and the food and beer were pretty good) but the Cure bistro was highway robbery ($12 for a large beer! Although the food was interesting and enjoyable). The bistro staff seemed indifferent to attendees each time I went in there (again, the sports bar was better). The hotel restaurant was good and the service was attentive but when you're paying $14 for a simple burger, it had better be good (it was). Final Math I added up the sessions and there were 20 regular slots, 3 keynotes and 1 BOF slot. For $849-$1099 plus $750+ for the hotel. For cf.Objective() there were 17 regular slots, 1 keynote and 3 BOF slots for $499 (e/b) or $649 (full) over three days in a $120 a night hotel (so $240 for most people's two nights). Let's say your travel costs were the same (mine were $300 for cf.Objective() and $600 for CFUNITED but let's leave that out) and you got the early bird pricing. You paid $1,600 for CFUNITED vs $740 for cf.Objective() or nearly $900 for an extra 3 sessions and 2 keynotes, but 2 fewer BOFs - and a "special event". The differential at full price increases to $1,000. Unless CFUNITED changes substantially next year, I will not be speaking or attending again. I'm finding it hard to justify supporting a conference that is so expensive for attendees. Again, almost none of the above falls in the laps of Liz or Nafisa. Their hands are tied on many issues by their management at TeraTech.

Tags: cfunited08 · coldfusion

28 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Jake Munson // Jun 27, 2008 at 8:13 PM

    Hi Sean,

    I agree with most of your points about CFUnited, but I actually enjoyed the Host My Site keynote. However, it's important to note that I have always been fascinated by the hosting business. Others might find the topic boring.

    I am not a HMS customer (I use Vivio) but I thought their perspective on CF was very interesting. For example, in their experience CF 5 has been the most stable release to date. And they had a lot of interesting information for keeping your CF server running well.

    </2 cents>
  • 2 Jake Munson // Jun 27, 2008 at 8:28 PM

    Sorry for the 2nd comment, but I have a question. In your "Final Math" section, you didn't add MAX to the comparison. I have never attended MAX, but when I've compared prices it seems CFUnited is a little cheaper than MAX. However, I don't know how much the hotel typically is for MAX. Do you think CFUnited stacks up well against MAX, as far as price/value (relatively speaking)? I know it's not really a good comparison, because MAX covers the entire Adobe product line, and the conference in general dwarfs CFUnited. But I'm curious anyaway. :)
  • 3 Sami Hoda // Jun 27, 2008 at 10:01 PM

    Wow, powerful review Sean. I made the same decision a couple years ago, but having family out there made me change my mind. But yeah, with that much money, you could almost afford a copy of ColdFusion (cough). ;)
  • 4 Elliott // Jun 28, 2008 at 1:12 AM

    I was really happy this year we could use Connect and offer up these sessions to the public.

    A big thanks needs to go to Adobe's guy Ryan for the onsite Connect assistance and helping us get these out to the public so fast.
  • 5 Christopher Vigliotti // Jun 28, 2008 at 4:36 AM

    Yowch! Glad I skipped it this year.
  • 6 Andy Powell // Jun 28, 2008 at 4:47 AM

    I felt the same way after last year's show. Truth be told, you can go to CFUnited for two years and see all the content you will really want to see.

    It would seem that they have not responded well to competition from cf.Objective() and have really conceeded the "advanced developer" market to cf.O. The problem is that a lot of the people they alienate are the people who should be speaking and sharing thier knowledge.

    At the end of the day, CFUnited has gotten complacent about their position in the conference market and schedule. If they want to stay viable and competitive they need to reinvent themselves. I, for one, would like to see an executive forum so sponsors can come in contact with decision makers who will pull the trigger on products and services.
  • 7 Adam Haskell // Jun 28, 2008 at 5:06 AM

    Well said Sean, though it would be a complete shame to not have you at the conference next year. I liked Michael's keynote, probably the only person there that did. It certainly was not the typical keynote one comes to expect at a major event and in that respect maybe it was not a good keynote. I thought the discussion was fun and something that needs attention but maybe you are right that it was better left for a session. The main gripe I had about it was he hinted at politics and that just irritates me to no end.

    My BOF, note I was not in the OpenBD BOF and I did my original Improving Quality BOF, was fairly well attended. I think we had a about the same as Railo but all of the Kroger group came to mine which added 6 folks, never the less we had quite a crowd.

    Food sucked except for Saturday, hotel not worth it, and the walk stunk. I liked the walk it was nice to get out but it was inconvenient. Apparently the hotel that was even closer to the Convention Center was even more expensive, insane! My problem with the sports bar was it seemed like a local hangout spot as well and that took away from the whole spirit of things, thinking back to how we pretty much owned the bar at past cfuniteds or cfObjective this year seemed to miss something a little.

  • 8 Christian Ready // Jun 28, 2008 at 5:58 AM

    Thoughtful comments, Sean. I agree that much of CFUnited's challenges this year were due to factors beyond Liz/Nafisa's control. I could only stop by for a little while Thursday afternoon but I immediately noticed how 'different' it felt compared to previous yeaars. Oh well, new location, new challenges.

    My only other thought is that cf.Objective() and CFUnited are ultimately two different conferences aimed at different audiences. That said, I think most - if not all - of the readers of this blog understand and appreciate those differences.

    Great to see you at the conference again, my friend!
  • 9 Raymond Camden // Jun 28, 2008 at 6:44 AM

    I think this is a pretty good review and it meshes (mostly) with my thoughts as well. I will say that I thought the special event was pretty cool. The food wasn't good, but it's what you expect at a thing like that. But I really enjoyed the museum. The price for an extra though was way too high. If I had brought my wife like you did, I don't think I would have paid for an extra ticket.

  • 10 Sean Corfield // Jun 28, 2008 at 7:41 AM

    @Raymond, yes, I'd pay $15 each to go around the museum on my own time because I'm interested in the subject matter.

    @all, although I'm drawing a few direct comparisons to cf.Objective(), I don't want anyone to think I'm trying to suggest cf.Objective() should replace CFUNITED. They have very different target audiences and serve very different needs. I really just want to see CFUNITED adapt and become better value for money with more new content.
  • 11 Raymond Camden // Jun 28, 2008 at 7:47 AM

    Speaking of Connect - as a speaker, I didn't bother trying to Connect running. Not because I didn't want to share, but I've had issues in the past with Connect. I figured my #1 goal was to provide a good presentation to the guys in the audience right then and there. Other people needed to be my secondary priority.

    Imagine my surprise when - during my first preso - someone walked up to me and took over my laptop.

    While I was presenting.

    I asked what was up - he said he was just setting up Connect. I warned him that I had had issues with it which was the reason why I didn't bother, but he assured me it would be no trouble.

    5 minutes in - I still didn't have my laptop back. I had to basically put my foot down. I had gone as far as I could in my preso by memory and I couldn't go on anymore. Connect did not work. Firefox was locked up. All in all I lost close to 10 minutes.

    I made the decision then that if someone else approached me during a preso I was going to knock em out. ;)
  • 12 Sean Corfield // Jun 28, 2008 at 9:53 AM

    @Raymond, I don't know why Connect doesn't like you... :) I use Connect a lot and have pretty much zero problems with it. I gave up on Firefox 2 (but have gone back to FF with 3.0 which seems to behave much better). I tried to record both runs of my preso and CFUNITED posted the repeat. I don't know whether the first run had issues or whether they just chose that version as the better of the two (from my point of view, it was the better preso).
  • 13 Sean Corfield // Jun 28, 2008 at 11:25 AM

    @all, FYI, Liz and Nafisa confirmed on issue 5 of the CFConversations podcast that attendance was down:

    http://www.cfconversations.com/

    They said attendance this year was just under 750 compared to around 920 last year. They said this was due to a number of factors including the economy and "competition" in terms of other events.
  • 14 Brian Meloche // Jun 28, 2008 at 12:07 PM

    I had much of the same thoughts, Sean.

    I thought that the food/beverage situation at CFUnited was terrible. It did improve in Day 3 and 4, but as a whole, it was the worst I had ever seen at a conference.

    Only one time slot for Birds of a Feather was not enough. Two or three would have been better, and I think we would have seen more of them.

    There was not enough advanced or frameworks content, and I was disappointed in the lack of slots that were running on Day 4. Largely, you could only pick from three slots.

    I enjoyed the Crime and Punishment event, but my wife did not attend CFUnited with me so I wasn't in that situation to have to pay for a pass for her. The food there, like it was for the rest of the conference, was disappointing.

    Liz and Nafisa did well under the circumstances, the overall location was better than cf.Objective() (the area around the hotel was full of things to check out), and there was no end to the networking, but I would have to give the nod to cf.Objective() this year between the two conferences. That said, I think next year will be worth attending CFUnited, with Liz and Nafisa running it again. I think this was just issues moving to a new location and in a bad market. I look forward to next year.
  • 15 Marc Esher // Jun 28, 2008 at 4:19 PM

    A thoughtful write-up... thanks Sean. I'm disappointed to hear you may not be attending next year. I enjoyed our brief chat in the hallway and am sad to know that will be the last, at cfunited anyway. Your presentation on event-driven programming was a real thought provoker and it's unfortunate to know that this kind of content could possibly be missing next year.

    I'm curious though about what kind of sessions you and the commenters are looking for, at least in terms of more "advanced" content. I also wonder whether the track chairs at cfunited didn't have much choice, i.e. whether the submissions were slim, or whether they chose to accept submissions less-advanced in nature.

    To play devil's advocate a bit, and maybe to help the organizers better get a feel for what people are looking for, can you tell me this: If you were to design your ideal conference schedule, what would it be? What would the sessions be called? what kinds of content? And to go a step further, if you were designing a conference schedule for the "young, inexperienced, new guy down the hall", what would his schedule look like? Or what would your manager's schedule look like (ok, not YOU, but those of us who have bosses). What kinds of BOFs would you like to have on your schedule?

    Brian, you said you wanted more advanced frameworks talks: what would your conference schedule look like?

    I think it'd be cool to see you guys (and others reading this) blog your answers. We'd see what the community leaders have on their minds; cfunited organizers would get a better handle on what kinds of talks to request of speakers; and current and potential future presenters might get some ideas for submissions that they hadn't previously considered.

    Thanks, and I do hope you'll take up this offer!

    Best,

    Marc
  • 16 Sean Corfield // Jun 28, 2008 at 5:10 PM

    @Marc, well, that's a bit of an unfair question for me since I designed the content at cf.Objective() and that would be pretty much my ideal conference (for intermediate / advanced developers).

    Being track chair is a huge amount of work (I'm not sure I would have volunteered to run the content at cf.Objective() if I'd known just how much work!). I don't know what the content selection process was like at CFUNITED but I suspect part of the problem is most track chairs are advanced developers and may have a hard time figuring out good *new* content for "young, inexperienced" folks. I know I have a hard time getting my head into the beginner space - I'd need help from beginners to plan content for that audience.

    I do think it would be instructive to have folks post here with their thoughts on want content they'd want at a conference.

    If nothing else, it'll give me ideas for next year's cf.Objective() since I suspect I'll be track chair again... :)
  • 17 Brian Meloche // Jun 28, 2008 at 9:59 PM

    @Marc, I plan to blog my own "good, bad and ugly" take on the conference, and I'll explain it there.
  • 18 Peter J. Farrell // Jun 28, 2008 at 10:41 PM

    Well, I did not attend CFUnited this year both due to time and basically money. Since cf.Objective is in my home town, it's easier to attend...

    I've submitted presentation topics to CFUnited for the past two years running and have never been selected to speak (however, I attended in 2006 and 2007). I've never been officially notified why none of the topics have been selected, but the word on the street in the past is that they are "too advanced" or "of interest to a select few".

    I've found that the lack of communication off putting to potential speakers. I never know if a) my potential topics are too advanced, b) is off topic to the CF community or c) they are not interested in having me speak. All of which are valid reasons not to select a speaker, although that can lead to picking by what "feels safe" instead of what is interesting as you never take a chance.

    It's irksome to spend time (even an hour or two) putting together ideas for presentation topics and submitting them to a "black hole" without any acknowledgment. Without feedback how can you improve your presentation topics or even know what the conference topic selection people are looking for. I spent time submitting topics so the at the least they can spend 2 minutes rejecting them with some short feedback.

    Then again, maybe that's how I'd run things...
  • 19 Jake Munson // Jun 29, 2008 at 6:04 AM

    @Peter,

    No, I think you have an excellent point. I have found that the flow of necessary information for both attendees and speakers is weak. For example, I had trouble finding both the hotel and the conference center. I thought I had brought good directions (printed from cfunited materials), but when I got there the directions left me lost. However, the attendee packet that I received when I finally arrived at the conference had excellent directions...but by then I had already found everything, of course.

    As far as why your topic wasn't picked...I'd suggest that maybe they just ran out of slots? I'd think that most of the submitted topics were worthy of acceptance, but they are forced to skip some in favor of others. One thing I do know is that the track chairs are people from our community, and if I understand it correctly, they get to pick the topics for their track.

    A friend of mine told me about a Borland conference, and how they pick topics. Like CFUnited, they have an open submission. But the difference is that they let the community pick ALL of the topics. As an attendee, you'd be able to see the list of submitted topics, and vote for the ones you like. The top vote getters are the final list of topics. A couple of years ago I submitted this idea to Teratech, but they don't like it. I think it's partially because they give a bunch of their session slots to sponsors.
  • 20 Nick Kwiatkowski // Jun 29, 2008 at 4:33 PM

    I hope TeraTech realizes some of the difficulties that people had this year, and attempt to correct them.

    I was on the fence this year as if I wanted to go; last year was great, but there really wasn't a great selection of advanced topics. Apparently, if your advanced, you want to hear about Frameworks, otherwise, it's pretty much beginner stuff. I know they made strides to change that this year, but from Sean's reviews it didn't happen as much as it should have.

    I submitted to my office to go this year; with pretty much the same information that I've been putting in each year. I figured that the cost of the hotel might go up a bit, and air travel would cost more, but that was about it.

    (a) The week changed. This caused a conflict with another conference I was already scheduled to speak at. This pretty much killed the idea instantly.
    (b) The cost went up. A lot. The hotel, the conference, etc. all went up SIGNIFICANTLY from previous years. This was already one of the most expensive conferences I go to. With budgets set in January, it would have really been hard to ask for more money.
    (b) There weren't really too many topics that just drew me in enough go overcome the above problems.

    While the networking aspect of this conference was something that I enjoyed enough, it is not something I can bring back to my boss. I might not be the developer that CFunited is targeting, but as CFML becomes more and more mature, there are more people like me out there that would like to get more of the advanced stuff. AJAX and the established frameworks don't do it for me anymore.

    CFunited should look to see what some other conferences are doing. 360|Flex and MAX are very similar, and in my mind, are much more valuable. 360|Flex has such a variety of topics that anybody at any skill level can come in and learn LOTS. You don't see the top-tier presenters sitting around somewhere -- they all attend the sessions learning more (Well, maybe Tom and John, but they have their reasons!). On the flip-side beginners are not bored either.

    MAX has enough slots and topics where anybody has at least 20 things they wish they could have seen but couldn't. While I know CFunited could never offer that many slots, they could help expand the topics they offer. Why not take one of the rooms and divide it by 4? You would be able to entertain 25 - 50 people with an obscure topic, but not have to waste the space. Obscure topics shouldn't be BOF sessions either -- BOF should be for things like "Educational Users," "Sci-Fi Nuts," or "HostMySite.com Users". BOFs should really be more of a social environment, and not sessions.

    I plead with TeraTech to try and get back into the conference center by White-Flint (like previous years). It was affordable, a good layout, and it worked very well. Letting us know the week and price early would help people who need to budget these things. I will take a look at the topics next year to see if I can make the case to my boss if I can go.

    It seems like this was a good year to take a break of CFUnited.
  • 21 Tom Chiverton // Jun 30, 2008 at 12:49 AM

    Costs: Aye, just look at what Scotch is able to do on a tenth of the ticket price !
  • 22 Karen Leary // Jun 30, 2008 at 4:29 AM

    @Sean

    I agree with your post, although the most pressing reason I went was for the speakers, and I was not disappointed there (mostly - while waiting for one session, we received an announcement 5 minutes in that the speaker had left for a family emergency) - leaving us all to scramble for another session.

    I was not happy with the convention center's size, location (it seemed if you went out the back door you might be in a really bad neigborhood), or food service (one day lunch was all cleared by 12:15 when it began at 12! - When the day before there were lines of 50 people) - I don't think they know how to manage groups of people very well at the convention center, nor do they care to improve.

    The hotel left a lot to be desired. The projector was over a half hour late to Mini-Max the day before the conference. I had a knock on my door at 9:30 one evening because the staff needed to reset the router under my desk so an adjoining room could get internet. I had also made a tentative reservation for Saturday night, which I canceled when checking in, but the hotel staff made a mistake and I spent an hour on Sunday straightening it out (after first being told I'd have to wait until Monday).


  • 23 Sean Corfield // Jun 30, 2008 at 7:35 AM

    @Karen, I heard about the projector problems with MiniMax but MiniMax is always a bit of a shambles so I've avoided it where possible.

    I'm curious as to which speaker "left for a family emergency" - I know Simon Horwith simply bailed on the conference the morning before his talk, just as he bailed on WebManiacs. According to his blog this won't happen again because he won't speak at any more conferences, preferring to stay home.
  • 24 Karen Leary // Jun 30, 2008 at 12:49 PM

    @Sean

    It was the session with Simon. After being told there was a family emergency, I was naturally concerned that everything was ok with him and his family. I was quite dismayed to find out he simply left. I'm sure the person who annonced the emergency was just reporting what they had been told. It just seemed rather unprofessional. If he didn't want to speak, he shouldn't have committed to speak.
  • 25 Sean Corfield // Jun 30, 2008 at 1:00 PM

    @Karen, Simon hints at it in this blog post:

    http://www.horwith.com/index.cfm/2008/6/20/back-in-my-cave

    He left the conference a few hours before his talk because he was tired of the conference / the public and wanted to be back with his family.

    Publicly he said he had to bail from WebManiacs due to "workload" and sent a colleague along instead: Simon Free - who also stepped in for him at CFUNITED on Saturday.

    Simon Free took Simon Horwith's few slides and non-working code examples and did a live refactoring of it which folks said made for a great talk. My reading of that was that Simon Horwith would have been unprepared for the talk anyway.
  • 26 Daniel Greenfeld // Jul 2, 2008 at 9:01 AM

    CFUnited is way too expensive. I live within miles of it but even when I did ColdFusion professionally I never wanted to go because it was expensive every year. This year its unbelievable - $899 (early bird) to $1099 (standard) is just too much for only 4 days. If I had traveled there that balloons the cost by another $1000 on hotel fees alone, to about $1899 - $2099.

    Back in October 2007 I went to a non-Python conference in Naples, Italy which was $450 in United States dollars. The hotel came out to $90 a night. The flight was $950. If I hadn't stayed for longer than the conference, it would have cost $1850. Plus, I can assure you the catering including some incredibly good food!

    So yes, CFUnited is way overpriced, economy or not!
  • 27 Tom Ortega // Jul 2, 2008 at 9:09 AM

    Great post, Sean. This thread got me to thinking and the output of those thoughts can be found here:
    http://360conferences.com/blog/2008/07/1-cfunited-could-pay-for-all-5-360flex.html
  • 28 Sean Corfield // Jul 2, 2008 at 10:07 AM

    @Tom, your post makes great reading too. Very interesting to see the cost comparisons for 360|Flex and cf.Objective() from behind the scenes.

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