I guess I made an impression on someone in San Jose. Either that, or I’ve got some unpaid parking tickets I need to take care of. At any rate, I have been invited to come to San Jose March 16th-18th for the first ever Wireless Field Day! This event grew out of Tech Field Day thanks to the influence of Jennifer Huber and Stephen Foskett. Jennifer and Stephen realized that having a Field Day focused on wireless technologies would be great to gather the leading wireless bloggers in the industry together in one place and see what happens. That very distinguished list includes:
|Samuel Clements||Sam’s wireless||@Samuel_Clements|
|Jennifer Huber||Wireless CCIE, Here I Come!||@JenniferLucille|
|Chris Lyttle||WiFi Kiwi’s Blog||@WiFiKiwi|
|Keith Parsons||Wireless LAN Professionals||@KeithRParsons|
|Andrew vonNagy||Revolution Wi-Fi||@RevolutionWiFi|
|Steve Williams||WiFi Edge||@SteveWilliams_|
List HERE. This list is also a handy one in case you need people to follow on Twitter that are wireless gurus. I’m hoping that I can pick their brains during our three days together to help refine my wireless skills, as I am becoming more and more involved in wireless designs and deployments.
After our last Tech Field Day, a couple of people wondered why we bothered flying everyone out to California to listen to these presentations when this was something that could easily be done over streaming video and chat room questions or perhaps Webex. I agree that many of the presentations were something that could have been done over a presence medium. However, many of the best reasons to have a Tech Field Day never made it on camera. By gathering all of these minds together in one place to discuss technologies, you drive critical thinking and innovation. For instance, I had taken for granted that most people in the IT industry knew we needed to move to IPv6. However, Curtis Preston opened my eyes to the server admin side of things during a non-televised lunch discussion at TFD 5. Some of our roundtable discussions were equally enlightening. The point is that Tech Field Day is more than just the presentations. Ask yourself this: Given a chance to have a Webex with the President of the US or flying to Washington D.C. and meeting him in person, which would you rather do? You can have the same discussion with him over the Internet, but there’s just something about meeting him in person that can’t be replicated over a broadband link.
How Do I Get Involved With Tech Field Day?
I’m going to spill some secret sauce here. The secret to getting into a Tech Field Day doesn’t involve secret payoffs or a good-old-boy network. What’s involved is much easier than all that.
1. Read the TFD FAQ and the Becoming a Field Day Delegate pages first and foremost. Indicate your desire to become a delegate. You can’t go if you don’t tell someone you want to be there. Filling out the delegate form submits a lot of pertinent information to Gestalt IT that helps in the selection process.
2. Realize that the selection process is voted upon by past delegates and has selection criteria. In order to be the best possible delegate for a Tech Field Day, you have to be an open-minded blogger willing to listen to the presentations and think about them critically. There’s no sense in bringing in delegates that will refuse to listen to a presentation from Arista because all they’ve ever used is Force10 and they won’t accept Arista having good technology. If you want to learn more about all the products and vendors out in the IT ecosystem, TFD is the place for you.
3. Write about what you’ve learned. One of the hardest things for me after Tech Field Day 5 was consolidating what I had learned into a series of blog posts. TFD is a fire hose of information, and there is little time to process it as it happens. Copious notes are a must. As is having the video feeds to look at later to remember what your notes meant. But it is important to get those notes down and put them up for everyone else to see. Because while your audience may have been watching the same video stream you were watching live, they may not have the same opinion of things. The hardest part of TFD 5 for me wasn’t writing about Druva and Drobo. It was writing about Infoblox and HP. These reviews had some parts where I was critical of presentation methods or information. These were my feelings on the subjects and I wanted to make sure that I shared them with everyone. Tech Field Day isn’t just about fun and good times. Occasionally, the delegates must look at things with a critical eye and make sure they let everyone know where they stand.
Be sure to follow @TechFieldDay on Twitter for more information about Wireless Field Day as the date approaches in mid-March. You can also follow the #TechFieldDay hash tag for updates live as the delegates tweet about them. For those of you that might not want to see all the TFD-related posts, you can also use the #TechFieldDay tag to filter posts in most major Twitter clients. I’m also going to talk to the delegates and see if having an IRC chatroom is a good idea again. We had a lot of good sidebar discussion going on during the presentations, but I only want to keep this aspect of things if it provides value for both the delegates and those following along online. If you have an opinion about methods that the Internet audience can get involved, don’t hesitate to let me know.
Tech Field Day Disclaimer
Tech Field Day is made possible by the sponsors. Each of the sponsors of the event is responsible for a portion of the travel and lodging costs. In addition, some sponsors are responsible for providing funding for the gatherings that occur after the events are finished for the day. However, the sponsors understand that their financing of Tech Field Day in no way guarantees them any consideration during the analysis and writing of reviews. That independence allows the delegates to give honest and direct opinions of the technology and the companies that present it.