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ASE Certification.  This week made all the hard work worth it!

Inside ASE 1999 Toronto

As I emerged from the fog of rum bestowed upon me the night before by the good folks from Compaq, and delivered by the gentle folk at Black Creek Village, I realized that I had to get back into the groove of things quickly. After all, we’re in Toronto to attend a conference, right?

I mustered up unknown reserves of sobriety and made it downstairs to the breakfast buffet. Sadly, there was no hair of the dog to help me, only my trusty friend, hot black coffee. With the help of this good friend I was soon ready to face the day. Luckily our first scheduled event wasn’t until 10am. So Henry and Ed worked their way up to my room and we spent the hours after breakfast trying to get the %^@*^ Internet connection to stay online. It took about twenty redials, but eventually I got Monday’s pictures and diary posted. Not a fun way to start the day.

After overcoming the Internet demons, we proceeded to make our way to the conference area. First stop was the concierge desk to pick up our tickets for the afternoon activities. Compaq must have known that people would not be in too good of shape from the visit to Black Creek Village the night before, so they only had conference sessions in the morning. Every thing conference related was closed at noon, and people chose an afternoon activity. The choices were: rounds of golf at area golf courses, Toronto Harbour Tour, Niagara Falls trip, or a CN Tower/Toronto bus tour. We chose the CN Tower option. However, we still had to attend our conference session.

Our session was our one allotted hands on session, and it dealt with the Compaq StorageWorks8000 product. We were able to sit down and configure one of these pricey and powerful hard drive enclosures. This is good, because this is a product that Boise Technology would like to be certified to start selling. We had two hours to play with the unit and try different things with it. This was a good initial exposure to the product for me and Henry, as we will become pretty familiar with it was we pursue our StorageWorks certifications.

After the session, we were treated to box lunches, which weren’t all that good, and there wasn’t much food in them. This did not bode well, since Tuesday is one night that Compaq doesn’t supply dinner. We ate our lunches and met our Tour Guide, Phil (remember this name…) . The CN Tower was within walking distance of the conference center, so we hoofed it over to the base. Here we were given a brief overview of the tower and then boarded the elevators for the ride up. Here are the particulars of the tower: 1,315 feet tall, built in 1976 for ~$60 million, tallest freestanding structure in the world. As we boarded the elevators, we realized the walls were glass, and as we ascended, we realized the purpose for this. The shaft was glass also! You got a great view the entire ride up.

When we got to the top, the view was incredible. It was a little overcast, but not too thick and the clouds were high enough that they didn’t obscure our view. There are two levels, an enclosed observation deck with snack bar, and a lower level with an outside walkway and an interior section of glass floors with an unobstructed view straight to the ground. That was a little unnerving. We snapped a lot of pictures up there and stayed about an hour. I even got a little business done up top via a phone call to one of our clients. (Hi Rich and Nelson. I told you I was up there!)

We took the elevator down and met back up with our tour guide, Phil. We loaded onto a bus and started on our tour of Toronto. As we got started, we were introduced to our bus driver, Terrance. I couldn’t believe it. We had Terrance and Phillip giving us a tour of Toronto. Viewers of South Park will get the names right away. That’s too bizarre for even me to make up! We saw many of the sites in Toronto. We were taken to the waterfront district, down into the financial district where we got out and saw the BCE building and a bank building where every single window was made with a small bit of gold, so the entire building appears to be made of gold! We traveled through the shopping district, which was every bit as impressive as the Miracle Mile in Chicago or the Nieman-Marcus area in San Francisco. We saw Toronto’s Chinatown, the University of Toronto, City Hall, and many other notable sites. Phil was from England, but he moved to Toronto in 1962 and had an incredible wealth of knowledge about the city. He was very insightful and didn’t give us a canned, boring tour. We were able to stop every once in a while and get out and see some of the stuff. But soon the weather turned bad and we became confined to the bus. All in all it was a very enjoyable time, and it let us recover nicely from the night before.

Since we had to forage our own food tonight, rather than hunt our own game, we decided to let the good folks at Benihana’s do it for us. I’ve never been to one, and have never eaten sushi, but I took care of both of those items at the same time. It was very cool having the chef cook right at the table, that was a new experience (with all do respect to Sun, who cooked just about the whole meal for me and Rich at the Korean BBQ in San Fran).

After dinner we checked the movie listing to see if there was something showing close to the hotel. We were in luck. A movie house a few blocks from the hotel had Tuesday matinees for $5CDN. That works out to about three American bucks! Not a bad deal. We hiked over and saw "The Blair Witch Project". That was the scariest damn movie I have ever seen! If you haven’t seen it yet, go and do so. The three of us were scared shitless walking back to the hotel.

And that was our Tuesday in Toronto. We learned a lot on the StorageWorks product, and recharged our batteries while learning many things about the great city of Toronto. We’ll be fresh for Wednesday, which features a full day of conference sessions, capped off by an ASE only event in the evening. If you thought Black Creek Village did damage, wait for Wednesday’s report…

Click on the links below to see the pictures from Tuesday: