President's Corner

Welcome to Austin! The forecast for the week is sunshine and spring temperatures, a terrific portent for an excellent SHARE week all around.

As usual, the program is chock-a-block with technical material. Our keynote speakers add an extra dimension to stimulate your thinking. And in the Technology Exchange Expo, you can greet the vendor community and see their latest offerings first-hand.

If you’ve been watching the SHARE website, you’ll have had an opportunity to visit the virtual theme rooms to see the major program tracks for our conference themes. The theme rooms go live on Monday in the first time slot following the General Session.

There are also a number of special activities on the agenda this week. On Tuesday, IBM celebrates the 45th anniversary of the mainframe at lunch-time in Room 17A of the Convention Center.  Wednesday brings an opportunity to visit the IBM Austin Lab. The first 200 people to pick up their limited edition pins from the IBM booth in the Technology Exchange will enjoy a trip to the lab that includes demos, refreshments, “meet the experts”, and the opportunity to visit IBM’s Accessibility Lab. Many thanks to the local IBM team tor their generosity in making this visit possible. The tour is limited to just 200 people and this special pin is your “boarding pass” for the bus, so be sure to get yours early.

We’re also privileged to be hosting two groups of students from the local area. The students will tour the Technology Exchange and get exposure to the value of SHARE as a resource for IT professionals. This is part of our on-going program of early engagement with young people preparing for careers in our industry and the faculty members who are giving them their educational foundation.

We’ve added something new in Austin. Charging stations are available in the Convention Center to feed those hungry laptops you’ll be using to view the on-line presentation materials. Soak up some “juice” between sessions while you chat with colleagues or check your e-mail using the free wireless access.

You’ll also find old friends and make new acquaintances in the evening receptions. If you’re new to SHARE, be sure to include the receptions in your plans. The informal discussions over a beverage and food are at least as important as the formal sessions. Google’s all well and good — and I’m not sure we remember how we coped before the advent of online search — but it can’t replace what happens in a face-to-face conversation where you can learn first-hand from another’s experience and where ideas flow freely in discussions of problems and how to solve them.

Finally, don’t forget to find some time to enjoy Austin while you’re here. The vibrant dining and entertainment options are just the ticket to relax after a busy day. Austin’s a very casual city, and the area around the convention center and along 6th Street gives you many options within walking distance.

Learn a lot, make new friends, have some fun …enjoy your SHARE week.

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