Review of the Year - 2010

It seems like lots of bloggers do these end of year wrap up posts, and I understand that lots find them boring. But as with all my blogging, I largely write posts for my own benefit. I just spent half an hour reading my previous few years posts and I find it interesting to see how things have moved on in some ways and stayed the same in many others.

Anyway, the year started, as ever, with Lotusphere. A crack team of Elguji and LDC manned the Elguji stand in the product showcase and Tim Clark and I presented our Show 'n' Tell session. All in all it was a very good week with lots of new contacts made. The one thing which working in the showcase means is that it's pretty much impossible to get to see any sessions. So for 2011 we're not doing the stand and instead I plan to cram as much new techie goodness into my head as possible.

The first half of the year got pretty much taken over with travel to various user groups and training courses. BLUG, DanNotes, XPages training became my life until the end of May. And just to make the travel even more entertaining, Warren Elsmore and I got trapped in Copenhagen trying to get home thanks to the Ash Cloud. This became an epic trip home involving cars and trains, but unfortunately no planes. It also marked, looking back on it, a huge turning point in telecommunications for me. The #GreatGeekEscape hashtag on Twitter provided entertainment for those watching us try to get home, but from our point of view people were able to help us find travel options in pretty close to real time. On the flip side, the image of Warren and I sat in a Fiat 500 (a lovely if small car) with 2 laptops and 3 phones trying to find our way through a new road system in Holland having already driven for 8 hours is one I can happily forget.

The other effect of Twitter on my online life is that I am blogging less and less. With Twitter taking the minutiae of day to day life and XPages101.net taking the majority of my technical posts I'm not sure what's going to happen with the blog as time goes on but for the moment it will stay here, just getting updated less frequently.

Talking of XPages101, this really took a lot of my time this year and it's been a very interesting experience. The whole driver came from our session at Lotusphere. Several people said they'd like to see it converted into online video. To make it worthwhile I had to go through the process of breaking it up, creating the supporting material and so had to charge for the whole endeavour. I had absolutely no idea if people would be interested. Well I'm happy to say that well over 150 of you have been interested. I know that it's all gone quiet on the video front for the last couple of months, but there will be more in the New Year, consider that a resolution. The combination of the video course and the classroom course seems to work rather well. I've been into several companies and organised my own training days which people seem to like as a way of getting going with XPages. The plan is to continue with these introductory classes and then supplement those with a new intermediate and advanced course. I just need to decide what that actually means, where the interest lies.

The other work parts of my life - IdeaJam and IQJam with Elguji and consulting with LDC have been keeping me pretty busy (especially over the last few months hence the lack of new videos). The challenge with these three competing streams of work is striking a balance between them all. Overall it's pretty difficult to complain about having too much work to do.

IdeaJam work has been especially interesting this year with continued growth in sales to companies and governments around the world, but we're noticing a distinct increase in interest in our hosted offerings so I've been working away on infrastructure tools to help us quickly deploy and manage new IdeaJam sites which is why there's been a slight slow down of late in new features for the public site. But worry not, we have a huge queue of enhancement requests to get through and I am making good progress on the next version of IdeaJam.

The LDC is still a great source of new work, help with existing projects and support from some of the smartest people in the Lotus world. We're always looking for new projects and most of us will be at Lotusphere, so if you'd like to know more just collar Julian, Mark or myself and we'll be happy to have a chat with you.

The end of the year was marked, unusually, with ILUG running in Belfast. I think you've probably seen the amazing coverage it got on blogs, twitter, video sites etc. It was a great success thanks, mainly, to the efforts of Paul and Eileen. It's a testament to them that there are so many other user groups using the same model around the world now. Of course the planning for UKLUG is already starting so the focus shifts to Manchester in May.

The most important change in my life this year has been a personal one. I do tend to not get into "real" life stuff on here too much, but let me just say that I've had the best year of my life outside of work hours. Those of you who know me, know why and hopefully have noticed how much happier I am. Long may it continue.

I suspect that for many 2010 wasn't a good year, if so let's hope that 2011 is better. Always one to buck trends I've been very lucky and had a great year with interesting things happening on all fronts. I'm not sure how 2011 can match up but we can but hope.

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