2013 has been a very interesting year for me.
It started with a trip to Connect in Orlando that almost did not happen. The company I work at was in a money-saving mode, and denied my request to attend. I had already resigned myself to this and come to terms with the fact that I would be missing Lotusphere for the first time since I stared going in 1997. It was made even harder as I heard several of my friends in the community saying that they feared this would be the last Lotusphere, either for them or for the conference itself, in the shape we knew it.
But suddenly out of the blue I was offered a press pass to cover Connect, like I had been doing in the past for a few publications (as well as a blogger, during the now-cancelled blogger attendance program). With the conference fee covered, and with a kind offer from a friend in the community to share his room, I purchased my own airline tickets, requested vacation days at work and headed to Orlando for what I thought might be the last time.
Connect 2013 was, despite the name change, better than I expected. It was a great conference, my schedule was full of excellent sessions and I got to meet many of my friends again. There were a few faces missing, but many of the familiar faces and voices were seen and heard during the week.
Unfortunately, one voice was silenced forever the Sunday before Lotusphere. Kenneth Kjærbye was killed in a motorcycle accident, during a yearly ride with other attendees and presenters. This of course affected many in the community, but my opinion of IBM increased more than a few notches from hearing how well they responded to the tragedy.
This was not the only familiar face in the community that we lost. Rob Wunderlich and Jens Augustiny both passed away, also way too early, in 2013. You will all be missed.
There were also some other emotional farewells at Connect 2013, with long-time attendees being there for the last(?) time.
On a more personal level, things changed as well in 2013.
I still haven’t started working very much with XPages, but with the release of Notes and Domino 9.0 in 2013, it feels like XPages are more solid and ready for prime time. My workplace is still on Notes 8.5.2 Basic client, which limits me to classic Notes development. I use Notes/Domino 9.0 at home, though, and I am very impressed with the stability.
I also started on a web application, developed using Bootstrap and jQuery, working with a Domino-based backend. I can’t talk too much about this project yet, but it has a lot of potential to help children in need, and I am very happy to be in a position to work on it.
I also moved, something that if you know me is a big deal. I don’t like to move. I actually loathe moving, which is why I had been living at my apartment for 9 1/2 years when I finally moved. But the reason I moved was to move in with my girlfriend in Dallas. In the end of 2012, I was lucky enough to meet Chrissy, and during 2013 the relationship developed to a level where we decided that I should move in. It is wonderful, but also sometimes annoying, to be in a relationship with someone who is on the same level as oneself when it comes to intelligence, logic and knowledge. Sometimes I wish her mind was not as sharp, like when she manages to out-logic me in a discussion. :-)
Work have been steady busy. I have been involved in a couple of projects where we provide data from Domino databases to external applications. In one case it was to create a nightly export in CSV format to be used in a SalesForce application, other one was to create a RESTful web service to return JSON used in a web application being developed for our underwriters. I have of course also been busy keeping up with the requests from different department heads to modify their different mission-critical Notes application, based on new business requirements and regulatory demands as well as department reorganizations.
The end of 2013 was the pinnacle of the year. Not only did I get moved in with Chrissy, I also received a surprise email telling me that I had been selected IBM Champion. Professionally, this is huge for me. I feel very flattered and humble to be on the same list as so many of the great names in the community, people who I looked up to and learned from for years.
Looking forward to 2014, I have a busy year ahead. Connect 2014 is coming up in just over 3 weeks, and this time work approved and paid for the trip. Despite some missing faces, I hope that Connect 2014 will be as good as previous years, and that I will learn new technologies, learn more about what I already know, and connect with new people.
I also have some additional trips planned. Hawaii in the end of March for a conference (hopefully with some personal time available, as I have never been there before), London in May to visit my best friend who lives there with his family, and perhaps a quick trip over to Holland to visit Chrissy’s cousin who is living there, a real life (well almost) Indiana Jones. :-)
I am also planning to step up my blogging some in 2014. 2013 was the first full year of my blogg being hosted on WordPress, but I did not setup the statistics to save more than the last 120 days, so I don’t have a full years worth of statistics, something I realized just the other day. I wrote 60 entries this year on my blog, as well as seven on SocialBizUG.org, but I hope to be able to create even more content in 2014.
So in closing, I want to wish everyone reading my blog a Happy New Year, may 2014 be a great year for you and your families.