Session Proposal deadline is this Friday, March 4

This is just a reminder that session proposals for Southwest Fox 2016 and Southwest Xbase++ 2016 are due by 8 AM EST this Friday, March 4. If you are interested in presenting at either conference, please read the Call for Speakers and submit your proposals via the Geek Gatherings Submission Web site.

The conferences take place September 22-25, 2016.

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Call for speakers

We’ve issued the Call for Speakers for Southwest Fox 2016 and Southwest Xbase++ 2016. If you are interested in presenting at either conference, please read the document and consider submitting sessions via the Geek Gatherings Submission Web site.

The conferences take place September 22-25, 2016. Session proposals are due by Friday, March 4 at 8 AM EST.

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What do you want to learn in 2016?

As we’ve mentioned in earlier posts, we read all the comments on the evaluations attendees submit, both those on the conference evaluation and those on evaluations for individual sessions. As you’d expect, we look especially hard for themes, multiple people mentioning the same issue. Usually, when that happens, they’re on the same side of the issue.

For example, a few years ago, tons of people commented about poor WiFi service in the hotel and conference center. We used those comments to encourage the hotel to improve their offerings and that’s made a big difference.

Sometimes, though, all we can do is shake our heads because commenters want exactly opposite changes. For example, one of this year’s attendees indicated a preference for a keynote session that “will preferably get the crowd interacting” while another requested “Anything that does NOT involve audience participation.”

This year, fewer of you mentioned issues around the temperature in the session rooms. That may be because we worked with the conference center staff to find a temperature that seemed appropriate, and avoided resetting thermostats during the conference. It was also probably helped by the weather being a little cooler than we usually encounter. Nonetheless, there were still plenty of comments on the topic, but as usual some complained that session rooms were too warm while others found them too cool.

One theme that was new this year was people having trouble finding sessions in every slot, along with some comments about sessions being overcrowded. No doubt this was partly due to the fact that we had fewer VFP speakers and topics this year.

As speakers, we actually love it when a room is full. A crowded room generally has a lot more energy, and we feed on that as we present.

But we know that for attendees, getting to the session you want to hear and finding that all the chairs are filled is a bummer. So is looking at the list of topics in a given time slot and finding nothing that seems applicable to your needs. (In fact, we saw a reflection of this in some session evaluations, too, where the speaker was rated highly, but the ratings for “Session provided valuable information” and “Session topic was relevant” were much lower. In some cases, there was a comment along the lines of “This session was well done, but was a schedule filler for me. I don’t expect to use this.”

As we start planning for 2016 (yes, we actually started on the day that the 2015 conferences ended), we don’t yet know how many speakers we’ll be inviting. It’s likely that we’ll do something like we did this year, and pick a core group first, and then add speakers if early registrations warrant.

Beyond the possibility of offering more simultaneous sessions, we’ll try to do a better job of picking sessions that you want to hear. That’s where we can use your help right now, whether or not you attended this year’s conference.

We asked for topic suggestions on the conference evaluation and quite a few people offered ideas. They’re listed below. We ask that you comment on this post (or send us an email) both to tell us what you think of these ideas and to tell us what else you’d like included. We’ll include the list of potential topics in the Call for Speakers that will be released sometime in February.

Here’s the (long) list of ideas from the evaluations:

  • User Interfaces
  • VFP in the cloud
  • REST API with VFP
  • Disaster recovery
  • Case studies
  • Business development, marketing, sales, customer service
  • More non-VFP technologies such as Python
  • SQL Server
  • Web technologies (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • Client side web development (JavaScript,JQuery, Angular, JSON, etc.)
  • Web services
  • .NET technologies (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • Mobile technologies (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced)
  • More on Thor
  • 64-bit compiler
  • Building applications to run as a service and building complimentary UI based apps to interact with and/or control that service’s behavior.
  • Specific things I can do in xBase++ that will complement my suite of VFP applications
  • Lessons Learning Upsizing Data
  • Hosting VFP Apps in the Cloud
  • Building CXP apps for VFP developers
  • Alaska open panel: What features do you want? What direction do you want to head?
  • Cathy Pountney on Reporting topics
  • Rick Borup with an advanced session on branching and merging in version control as a half-day pre-con, especially if we could actually work through examples on our own systems

Some of you may notice that we have offered some of those topics before. Please tell us whether you’d welcome (updated) repeats of any of those sessions; we know that some of our prospective speakers are more likely to submit topics if they can recycle something they’ve presented previously.

Finally, we’ve had some suggestions for workshop-style sessions, where the speaker would would actually walk attendees through a topic, as they try it on their own machines. Obviously, such sessions would cover less material than a lecture-style, but you’d leave having actually tried the relevant technique or technology. Let us know what you think about this idea.

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Save $50: Register before September 1!

Simple, quick reminder: the Early-bird registration deadline is this Monday, August 31st. We would hate to see you lose out on the $50 discount.

If you still need to register, please head over to the registration Web site today:

Every registered attendee gets admission and white papers to all regular conference sessions. Don’t miss this chance to learn from the best and mix with your peers.

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A change of speakers … and next deadline approaches

We’re disappointed to share that Cathy Pountney won’t be speaking at Southwest Fox this year after all. (She’s fine, but needed to step out.) But we’re delighted that Tuvia Vinitsky has agreed to help fill the schedule. He’ll be covering two topics that should be of interest to both Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++ attendees:

dbSchema: SQL Server Database Design and Maintenance Made Easy
PCI Compliance: Facts and Fears

Also, just a quick reminder that the next discount deadline is rapidly approaching. Register before September 1 for a $50 early-bird discount.

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The conferences are a go!

Rick, Doug and I met (via Skype) and made the decision to move forward with this year’s conferences. Registrations to date are almost identical to last year’s on the same date, giving us confidence that the conferences remain financially feasible.

We’re also happy to tell you that we’ve added Rick Borup to the speaker list. He’ll follow up three previous sessions on using Mercurial with Version Control Faceoff: Git vs Mercurial, plus present I See What You Mean: Data Visualization for the Database Developer.

See you in October!

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Less than a week to Super-saver deadline!

Hear that sound? Tick, tick, tick, tick…

That’s the countdown clock here at Geek Gatherings getting closer to the Super-saver deadline for Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++! June 30th is a little less than a week away and we thought we would pass along a reminder just in case you forgot to type it into your task list, or put a yellow sticky note on your monitor. We still need people to register to make the conferences happen.

The conferences take place October 15-18, 2015 in Gilbert, Arizona and we really hope you can be there. We would hate to see you miss out on the $125 discount, the FREE pre-conference session, and an opportunity to win a scholarship or a license of Stonefield Query SDK (a $6,000 value).

Head over to the registration Web site today:

If you’ve already registered, we thank you. Can you help us remind your fellow developers who have been procrastinating about the looming deadline by sharing this post or tweeting about it? Spread the word by telling others you are going on our Facebook event.

Also, if you sent in your registration and have not received a confirmation, please contact us to see what happened. Everyone gets a confirmation when the registration is processed. As promised, we are not cashing checks or processing credit cards for new registrations until the middle of July.

Check out our list of amazing speakers and dig into our session tracks for VFP and Xbase++. Follow the news about the conference on this blog.

Contact Us:

So please beat the rush so we still have some fingernails left when July begins!

We appreciate all the support people have shown for the conference with early registrations; we look forward to getting many more this week.

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We’re on the FoxShow

We were interviewed by Andrew Ross MacNeill for his The FoxShow podcast. Click here to go right to this episode

And don’t forget to register for the conference by July 1 to get the Super-Saver discount of $125 plus one free pre-conference session!

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2015 Registration is open!

We’ve opened registration for the 2015 conferences. Super-Saver Registration, which saves you $125, is available only through June 30th, so don’t wait.

As we’ve explained before, putting on a conference is a risky endeavor. Conference centers require a guaranteed minimum income to block the dates of a conference; for a conference like Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++, that minimum is in the tens of thousands of dollars. We have to confirm our commitment to the conference center by July 2nd and need your support by July 1st to make that commitment.

In addition, as we recently said, if Southwest Fox Super-Saver registration is strong enough, we’ll add some speakers and topics.

Here is what you can expect from Southwest Fox and Southwest Xbase++:

  1. Two simultaneous conferences for the price of one.
  2. Terrific selection of sessions from great presenters.
  3. A total of 25 regular conference topics between the two conferences, 5 pre-conference sessions to choose from, and a keynote to pack your days with learning opportunities and inspiration.
  4. White papers from every session (mandated by the organizers) so you can read about sessions you can’t fit into your schedule, or review material you saw at the conference when you return home.
  5. Lunch Thursday if you register for two pre-conference sessions. (You can also purchase lunch Thursday at our cost.)
  6. Lunch Friday and Saturday for all attendees.
  7. Dinner Friday night.
  8. A free pre-conference session if you register by June 30th.

So please register soon, and encourage every Visual FoxPro and Xbase++ developer you know to register, too.

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2015 speakers and topics announced!

Today we posted the list of speakers and topics for this year’s conferences on the conference website. As we mentioned a couple of weeks ago, if registration warrants, we’ll add some speakers and topics to Southwest Fox over the summer.


Southwest Fox topics

Southwest Xbase++ topics

Watch for registration to open soon.

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