We have completed our second Exchange Online, a "virtual conference" on the Intertubes.
All the content will be available for on-demand viewing via web browser until mid December 2010. You can watch the session recordings, listen to the question and answer segments, and download all the slide decks. Go to http://www.progress.com/exchange2010 if you want to see the on-demand stuff.
If you have not seen it yet, I highly recommend Anne Disney's talk entitled "The Few, the Proud, the Excellent: Producing High Quality Software in a Small Shop". It was without a doubt the best talk of the conference.
Here is a tip which may be useful for watching: the videos use Flash and the Flash player browser plug-in has an inbuilt "zoom" feature that you can use to enlarge video to a size other than full screen, which is what you get if you press the zoom button on the lower right below the video. Full screen turns out to bee too big, at least for me.
To activate the browser Flash plug-in zoom feature, right click on the video (ctrl click on macs). You get a menu with "Zoom In" and several other options. This feature is disabled by some browsers (IE for one) but it works in Opera, Firefox, and Safari.
There are some definite advantages to online conferences. Reaching more people from more far-away places is one of them. We had an audience made up of people from 66 countries, at last count. Second, everything is available after the conference is over so you can see anything you might have missed and you can watch things more than once. Third, you don't have to spend any money to go somewhere.
In her day 3 recap, Colleen Smith said "maybe it is time to bring back the “in-person” conference of the old days". I couldn't agree more. An online conference doesn't allow high-quality interaction with other people.
All things considered, a meatspace conference is just better. Unintended conversations and discussions about all sorts of things are easy, natural, and frequent. There is usually more and deeper content. Most speakers are available to answer questions for extended periods in hallways, lounges, at meals, and in the bar. Even better, speakers can ask the audience questions too.
Live talks often go in unexpected directions and the speakers are usually much more lively. I can't think of anything more boring than listening to me drone on about stuff to people I can't see.
I always learn a lot from the audience at meatspace conferences. Not at online conferences and I've been to many, not just ours.
I think there are fewer distractions too. When you're there, you're more involved.
Here's hoping next year we do an "in person" conference.
View all posts from Gus Bjorklund on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.
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