Inside ASE 1998 San Diego
Day Two: Monday August 18th
Finally, the start of the conference! We awoke early and boarded buses from the hotel which took us to the location of the opening speeches, but more importantly, breakfast! We were taken to the San Diego Concourse, which is a group of large conference halls in downtown San Diego. After wolfing down a decent breakfast, we headed across the way to the main auditorium to hear the opening speeches. The setup was simply stunning. The auditorium was set up to seat around 3,000 people. On each side of the stage there were two forty foot tall projection screens. To open the show, they had a Top Gun style video playing on the screens, with accompaning sound and laser light show. Very impressive. Then Bob Fernander, Compaq's VP of PC Products and SMB Marketing delivered the keynote speech. He was a very impressive speaker, and got the crowd into it. He spoke for about 20 minutes, then handed the podium over to a sucession of speakers. We heard from Peter Blackmore, VP and GM of Compaq North America, Keith McAuliffe, VP of Engineering for Compaq's servers, and Fred Pollack, Intel's Director of Architecture, Measurement, and Planning. Fred was the head of the group that developed the Pentium Pro chip. All of the speakers were very good. After a short break, a panel discussion ensued. All of the above speakers plus a couple of others sat on the panel and fielded questions from the audience. Whenever someone asked a question, they showed their face on the 40 foot screens. I went up and asked a question. Henry and Ed said I looked like a scary child beater on the screens.
Lunch was an outdoor buffet back at the Marriott hotel. After lunch, the techinal training started. We first paid a visit to the Living Lab. This was a huge room where Compaq had all of their cutting edge technology setup. It was very impressive. We saw a $99 fingerprint authenticator for NT, a new 4 way Xeon processor Proliant 7000, Vinca clustering on Novell, the non stop kernel SQL from Tandem, Fiber Channel setups, and much, much more. I wanted to get some picture to put up, but because of non-disclosure agreements, I wasn't allowed to take pictures. We then went to a breakout session on RAID and I/O. We learned about performance differences between SCSI RAID and Fiber Channel RAID. It was a good session. The last session of the day centered around the Distributed File System in NT 5.0. It was a packed session. It was a very informative look at how the upcoming technology is developing.
Before dinner, we went over to the tennis club and tried to play some tennis. However, it quickly deginerated into a tennis ball home run derby. We checked out 6 tennis balls and only returned 2. The rest floated out to sea. We returned to the room to watch the President's speech.
The evening event was great. The blocked the street off in front of Dick's Last Resort and The Lamplight Billiards Club. Both places were for ASEs only, we had the run of the place. Outside on the street they had a live band, open bar, magicians and celebrity impersonators. Inside was dinner buffets, pool tables, magicians and most importantly, open bar. The magician they had was great. He was a Hell's Angels biker, and he did some amazing tricks. The best part was he went from table to table so he was always performing for only a few people. Of course, the anything would impress us after having 10 shots apiece of different kinds of rum and tequila. The pictures below will show the results from the open bar. Once again, Compaq spared no expense in hosting the ASE conference.
Note on the pictures:
The reason there are no pictures from the technical events is because of a non-disclosure agreement we signed with Compaq. I wished I could, but Compaq won't let me. Once again, the pictures are large, so they make take a while to download.