Saturday, May 5, 2012

IBM Impact in Las Vegas, Nevada

All this week I was at the IBM Impact conference in Las Vegas. This was quite a trip. Original plan was to arrive on Saturday morning and rent a car to drive to Grand Canyon, but since my presentation was not completely ready, I canceled the car and worked on my session all Saturday. On Sunday I presented a short session to IBM Business Partner pre-conference and then on Thursday had my WebLogic and JBoss competitive session for the general public. The conference itself was excellent. There were a number of cool IBM announcements found on the Impact site.

IBM holds conferences in Vegas every year and between Impact and other conferences, this was my 12th time in Las Vegas. However I love it each time I go there - this is like going into the animated movie. The replicas of the world wonders are sometimes better than the originals. All the fountains, music, people, energy on the strip. I also love running on the strip in the morning before the conference start. This year I ran every other day and biked in the gym and swam laps in the pool on days when not running. Since I missed my long run on Sunday, I moved it to Tuesday and ran 10.5 miles on the strip that morning. Felt great afterwards! First 5 miles were a warm-up and then I ran a bit faster in the second 5 miles with 7:15 min / mile pace.

Having been so many times to Vegas, I have never visited Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon. Saving this for a family trip some time in the future :-). Last year while on the plane to Las Vegas I took a picture of the Hoover Dam from the airplane:
The conference was in Venetian Hotel. If you have never stayed in Venetian - you should. The rooms are simply amazing. Here is a virtual tour of the room and a floor plan of the room where I stayed - this is one hell of a room for one person to stay !!!

However the highlight of the trip was not the hotel. On Sunday one of my best friends - Victor Pleikis flew in to Vegas from San Jose, CA with his wife and we met for dinner at the Brazilian restaurant and also played roulette for 10 minutes where I quickly lost my $10 and Anna (Victor's wife) won $20.

The other cool thing in Vegas was my trip to the CIRQUE DU SOLEIL show "Ka". I have never been to their shows. What an amazing show it was! It totally blew my socks off. Just imagine a high quality music (on-par with Pirates of the Caribbean), mixed with excellent lighting effects, elements of the movie projected on the semi-transparent screen that drops from the ceiling at different times, mixed with ballet, martial arts, dance, acrobatics in the air, rotating stage where you could see action a-la google-earth at different angles as it rotates (people suspended on ropes so they do not fall of that rotating stage), very cool costumes, nice looking decorations, smoke, folks shooting real arrows, humor and bunch of other things coming out at you for 90 minutes. This was by far the best show I have ever seen anywhere. You can have a look at the short review of the show on their site here.