ProgPower 2014 - An Experience of a lifetime

September 22 2014

Image:ProgPower 2014 - An Experience of a lifetime


So those of you that follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram know this - but last week, I was lucky enough to attend ProgPower 2014 in Atlanta. I made the first ProgPower 15 years ago here in Chicago, but this year's line-up really was a no brainer for me.

So we all have our own musical tastes. Mine have shifted in the past 15 years or so. I used to really love the power metal style - think Helloween, Stratovarius, etc. along with progressive - my readers know how much of a Dream Theater fan I am. The past few years have seen me drift from power to metalcore and technical metal/djent. Think Killswitch Engage, Periphery, and the likes. But when I saw the line-up for ProgPower 2014, I had to attend. Here was the line-up:
ProgPower XV
Country of Origin
Need Greece
Orden Ogan Germany
Leprous Norway
Overkill USA
Seventh Wonder (playing Mercy Falls in its entirety) Sweden
Stratovarius (playing Visions in its entirety) Finland
Withem Norway
Divided Multitude Norway
Voodoo Circle Germany
Masterplan Germany
Pain of Salvation (playing Remedy Lane in its entirety) Sweden
Jon Oliva's Pain (playing Savatage's Streets: A Rock Opera in its entirety) USA


Kick-Off
Kick-Off
Country of Origin
Draekon USA
DGM Italy
Pagan's Mind (playing Celestial Entrance in its entirety) Norway


Mid-Week Mayhem
Mid-Week Mayhem
Country of Origin
Theocracy USA
Vangough USA
Pain of Salvation Sweden



On my bucket list, both seeing Remedy Lane and Streets was on there. Plus Visions - my favorite Stratovarius album - and Mercy Falls. No way I was missing this. Need, Orden Ogan, Leprous, Withem, Divided Multitude, Masterplan, Pagan's Mind, Draekon, DGM, and Vangough were all first time live for me. They all put on great shows. I wasn't a big fan of Voodoo Circle - too Deep Purple/Whitesnake for me. Overkill kicked ass as they always do (I think this was my 8th time seeing them) and Pain of Salvation was incredible twice.

Due to Kickstarter, I got to go bowling with the guys from Vangough - who are from OK. Nice guys and great musicians. That was a fun afternoon.

I went down by myself, having lucked out getting tickets from a gentleman who had an extra to sell - as the event sold out in the first 30 days! And what an event it was. Besides the music, which was incredible, I can't tell you how incredible this event is put on. It felt like a user group meeting that so many of you reading this understand. A core group of people who go every year. They go early and hang out. That 'going early and hanging out' has extended the event from two days to four. The bands hang out with the fans - not just at official signing's, but at the bar, at the hotel courtyard, and just in general. People were friendly, helpful, and just there to have fun. It's almost as if the event is a backdrop to a group of friends who enjoy spending time together. Sounds familiar. Now - unlike one of the user groups, this event attracts a large number of people and has logistics to run. And the core team, led by promotor Glenn Harveston, do an incredible job. It was weird being at an event like this and being the newbie and on the outside. Put me in an IBM event and I know most of the people - and they know me. But here, I watched others hug and give gifts. It was a bit refreshing. I got to watch it from the other viewpoint. It made me really cherish what we have in the IBM space as a community.

If you are into this music, you need to get to ProgPowerUSA once. ProgPower 2015 looks like a great event - which I will probably not attend. It has nothing to do with the event at all. I highly recommend and endorse it. But it's a big power heavy for this prog guy. We shall see - maybe I will go. But if you like any of these bands - some of which only play the USA at ProgPowerUSA. Go. Seriously.
Image:ProgPower 2014 - An Experience of a lifetime

Taking a new role at Lumity - Outreach Director on the Executive Committee

September 19 2014

Image:Taking a new role at Lumity - Outreach Director on the Executive Committee

I am really excited to announce that I have accepted a position on the executive committee of the Board of Directors of Lumity as the Outreach Director. As a current board member, this just extends my involvement. I have been lucky enough to help with the business development processes and performance the past two years, and in July took over as the chair of the Operations Committee. My new role is slightly wide open in terms of specifics, but it will let me get more involved in an organization I believe in.

Lumity has really double-downed our investment in STEM and Workforce Development. This summer, the organization hosted a Summer Youth Employment Program that had real impact on lives. I saw our Executive Director, Kara Kennedy, get really emotional this morning on the impact it is having on her. I am lucky to be able to give back to the community on a topic I believe in to much. We can only improve the quality technology professionals in the marketplace if we start in the schools - as early as possible.

Inviting you to particpate in the IBM Domino/Notes Community Survey

September 16 2014

Have you ever wondered what other companies plan on doing with IBM Domino? Now is your chance to find out. PSC has committed to collecting feedback from Domino users worldwide, and sharing the results of this survey back to the community.

Please take 30 seconds to answer the questions below and share this URL via social media. The more responses gathered, the more valuable this information is. Let’s work together to capture the big picture view of where companies see Domino in their future.

The poll will run until October 3rd, 2014. We will release the results on October 6th at http://www.psclistens.com/ibm-survey-results.aspx - or you can enter your email in the survey to get them emailed.

We are not doing this to gather anyone's info for solicitation. This is about trying to get a handle on active use and strategy around the IBM Notes & Domino products. We plan to share the data with the community so we can all have access to the numbers.

You can access the survey at http://bit.ly/PSCXPagesSurvey

11 Years

September 12 2014

So my blog turns 11 today. [add comments about number of blog entries]

New PSC Video: Happy IT Talent = Happy Clients

September 3 2014

PSC Group, LLC has published a new video on why having great talent is so important to a successful company. Having worked here 13+ years, I find this video to be spot on with our PSC approaches and values or team.

PSC Group reconigized by Inc 5000 and Chicago’s 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For

September 2 2014

Over the summer, PSC Group received two recognition's that I wanted to highlight.

Chicago101small style=

The first was back in June. PSC was named one of 'Chicago's 101 Best and Brightest Companies to Work For' for the third year in a row.

Inc 5000

PSC Group was also named to the Inc 5000 for the second year in a row, jumping over 1000 places since last year.

This is a testament to the amazing team at PSC Group. Congratulations to everyone!

MWLUG 2014: BP110: The Mobile Distruption - Why XPages Development is targeting Mobile First

August 28 2014

BP110: The Mobile Distruption - Why XPages Development is targeting Mobile First from John Head

PSC Group @ MWLUG 2014

August 19 2014

Image:PSC Group @ MWLUG 2014


MWLUG 2014 is less than two weeks away! Are you attending? PSC Group will be there two.

First, you can meet us in the vendor showcase. We will be talking about our services and solutions and will be all ready to talk about how we can help you.

We also have 4 sessions given by PSC Group team members.

Don't fall asleep using Relational Databases: Using Hibernate with XPages
Toby Samples
Friday, August 29th, 2014 at 11:30 AM - Gerald Ford room

Domino is THE all-purpose Application Server that fits all of your needs even if those needs involve relational databases. Hibernate is an object-relational mapping library for Java and can be used with XPages. The framework can help you easily combine the relational databases that you have with the secure, flexible environment you already know and love. In this session I will demonstrate that with a little setup Hibernate allows you to treat records in a relational database in a similar manner as Domino documents in a Domino Database. You will learn how to setup Hibernate on Domino, setup eclipse to use Hibernate tools, and build an XPages application that is bound directly to your Relational Database.

Java versus Javascript: There really is no competition
Andrew Barickman
Wendesday, August 27th, 2014 at 5 PM - Gerald Ford room

Should you use Java or JavaScript to write XPages applications? The answer is yes. XPages facilitates creating great applications written almost entirely in Java and written almost entirely in JavaScript. There are no right or wrong answers, only circumstances and ramifications. The determining factors as what is best for your development team are many and complex. In this presentation Andrew will seek to dispel the myth that there is even a competition. The answer should always be - it depends. Come and see the session and make your own mind up.

The Mobile Distruption - Why XPages Development is targeting Mobile First
John Head and Matt Engstrom, IBM
Thursday, August 28th, 2014 at 11 AM - Grand View room

Over the next five years, enterprise apps will increasingly be built for mobile as the target platform. This session will cover the business reasons why you need to focus on the mobile experience, from both the IBM and a business partner perspective. With mobile, social, cloud and big data being the top priorities of most CxOs worldwide, we will look at how XPages can play a key role in your application strategy. We will guide you on how XPages can fit into your MEAP (Mobile Enterprise Application Platform) strategy, what you can do today to position yourself for success and demonstrate real world examples of why XPages is a smart choice.

Write once, run anywhere - Angular.js in XPages
Mark Roden
Friday, August 29th 2014 at 3 PM - Imperial room

The business requirement to surface functionality from one application inside of another has long existed and is often difficult to implement. There has always been a gulf between displaying data and creating a functional application. Mark will demonstrate how the power of building a solution based on Angular.js allows an application to be "moved" from Domino to another platform easily and with the bare minimum of code re-write. Taking "Write once, use anywhere" in the literal sense, you will see how to make Domino applications running natively inside of other platforms. Client side frameworks such as Angular.js are the future of web development - come and see it in action.

Look forward to seeing everyone in Grand Rapids!

IBM Digital Experience 2014 Conference - General Session Thoughts

July 23 2014

Image:IBM Digital Experience 2014 Conference - General Session Thoughts

I am at the IBM Digital Experience conference for the first time. Of course, that leads me to doing the compare and contrast with the other major IBM event I have attended, IBM Connect/Lotusphere. About 700 people here, and 85% of the sessions are technical. And from what I have seen, there is a great community of partners and customers here. I have spent most of my time in the business / customer story sessions. All of them have been pretty good.

One item I wanted to really highlight was the Opening General Session. The contrast is so huge.

First, there is no teleprompter. No script being read. I am sure there was an overall script, and lots of practice. But I never once felt like I was being spoon fed. Gary Dolsen, the new Vice President for IBM Digital Experience, who just took over for the retiring Larry Bowden, set the tone perfectly. It was rehearsed but not memorized. Gary knocked it out of the park.

Next up was Doug Gieger to talk about the products specifically and a few announcements. The new Script Portlet and Mobile Preview functionality is great stuff. There were plenty of slides but it didn't feel too sales or marketing focused. Nicole Carrier and a counterpart did the typical IBM demo for a conference like this. What was typical is they pretended to be from a company, a business user and a technical user. What was different is it felt so relaxed. To the point. Showed off great functionality without the Connect rehearsed awkwardness. It might have been the best product demo I have seen since the Notes 4 Release The Power days.

The general session wrapped up with Stephen Powers from Forrester. His talk was titled 'Revamp Your Digital Experience Technology Strategy' - but it wasn't typical analyst stuff. Stephan's talk was awesome. Focused, on point, and a message that rang true.

A great start to the week. The best conference keynote I have seen in years. I hope that IBM reviews the feedback for the session and applies it to future ones. I know, the Connect OGS's have had to speak to the press and analysts that are there - and there is no press or analysts here. But what a stark difference. And in the best of ways.

PSC is proud to introduce our new partnership with Intuit QuickBase

July 17 2014

PSC and Intuit Quickbase are proud to introduce our new partnership. Come celebrate with us and enjoy the amazing views of Downtown Chicago from the penthouse floor of the Swissotel.  

Network with local QuickBase users and learn about our new partnership with PSC, a Chicago based services firm.  PSC is an expert in integrating dynamic reporting and collaboration.

Admission includes:

  • Networking with other QuickBase users 
  • Cocktails & Appetizers
  • Chance to win Blackhawks memorabilia
 

Image:PSC is proud to introduce our new partnership with Intuit QuickBase
Image:PSC is proud to introduce our new partnership with Intuit QuickBase

You can sign up here

40

July 11 2014

As you probably guessed, I turn 40 today. Not sure if I should look at this as an accomplishment or milestone or a warning - but it's a good day. No longer 'a kid' - but still 'the kid' to many.

With June being such a rough month for me, and this June being even harder, this July is special. That number '40' I was never sure I would make. But at 40, I find contentment with who I am. I have a great family, especially those closest. Wonderful friends. Awesome coworkers. I am part of many wonderful communities - IBM, Shacknews, YRs, Chicago. I find myself happy with the man I have become. Confident in my abilities. Proud of my accomplishments. Challenged by my work. A real future to strive for.

I accept that I am emotional. Layered. Complex. Passionate. Focused. Driven. It has taken many events in the past year for me to embrace all of those words. They are who I am. I no longer shrink from being called any of them. I stand proudly and own them. Life is about accepting who you are. Who matters in your life. Finding your inspiration. Surrounding yourself with those who have immeasurable impact on your life. I am happy to have found those that accept me, protect me, and make me happy. To all of you - thank you for your love and support. Every day I work to return it.

Thanks for reading and hopefully I can continue to share for another 10 years - a decade - and then some.

Suckuary

June 30 2014

In my world, June has been renamed Suckuary. With the anniversary of my father's death, Father's Day, his birthday - it's a hard  month. My Uncle (father's brother) had the same heart attack as my father this month. Luckily, he survived and is on the mend. Add in end of quarter/end of year for a lot of companies, licensing deals that barely closed, and a bunch of other personal stuff. Damn. I am glad June is done. July is a brighter month. Mom's birthday. My Birthday. Holiday. Vacation. and much more.

So next year, I propose we change the name of the month of June. And I might take the entire month off. I am glad today is the last day of the month. Bring on July.

Memorial Day - Remembering Jack Head

May 26 2014

Today is Memorial Day in the states, the day we remember and honor all of those that have fought and served this country in our military. I thought I would share a few stories of my grandfather.

John "Jack" William Head was a veteran of World War 2. A marine who fought in the battle for the Pacific. He was on Guam. He was part of the 3rd marine Division assault. Unfortunately the Marines were dropped on a beach at surrounded by a high ridge. Japanese soldiers opened fire immediately and the Marine casualties were high. Your grandfather was the Master Sergeant and every one of higher rank was killed on the landing. Dad's men were pinned down by rifle and machine gun fire from on top of the ridge, so Dad took two men with him and started up the ill to try and open a path for the men on the beach. The Japanese saw them coming and began to roll live grenades and mortar shells down the hill. The two men with Dad were killed. He was badly injured and rolled back down the hill. He was placed with other injured men on the beach. When it became obvious that the assault had failed, the Marines withdrew leaving the dead on the beach. Dad was one of those they thought was dead. When the Marines returned in the morning with greater numbers and better support from heavy Navy guns they found some of the men left behind were in fact still alive. Your Grandfather was one of them. He was sent to a hospital ship where he recuperated. He then was assigned to the invasion troops that would lead the assault on the Japanese islands which never happened. My grandfather was one of the most gentle and kind men I ever knew, but he was also someone you didn't cross. There was strength there. (thanks to my Uncle Tony for reminding me of the specifics - I have used his words)

Years later, my grandfather was looking through a book of photos from the war. He received the book as a proud veteran and member of the VFW. My grandfather made his living as commercial artist, during the same time period that Mad Men takes place in. So he had an eye for great work. As he was looking through this book, he found a photo that caught his eye. He saw the aces of three of his friends from the war. He pointed them out to my Grandmother and said 'I should be somewhere around here - I remember walking with them on Christmas Eve.'

Image:Memorial Day - Remembering Jack Head




Imagine his surprise as my grandmother Rosalie looked over his shoulder and said "Jack, that's you right in the middle!" and so it was. My father and uncle both got copies and now I am proud to have one in my office. Hanging right next to his medals, including the Purple Heart.

Today is a day we honor our veterans and active military. Today is the day I remember my Papa Jack.

My interview with SocialBiz User Group - Listen Now

May 13 2014

Last month, Celia Hamilton of SocialBiz User Group, interviewed me to talk about XPages and the work I am doing at PSC Group. Here is their blurb about it:

John Head was kind enough to share some of his time with me recently to have a conversation about XPages and mobile development. John's background in coding and current role in business development at PSC Group give him a unique outlook when talking about technology. From his perspective, he looks at what customers want when they need his company's services; his focus is finding out what technology is best suited to their needs.
Press the play button below to hear our conversation about these topics:
  • What John does with PSC Group
  • What customers are really looking for when building a web application
  • If you are still building client-only applications, you are the problem, not the solution
  • What developers can do to their web apps today to make them ready to go mobile tomorrow
You can also read a transcript of the interview if you prefer. Until then, enjoy the audio!


You can listen to it here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tbVHwsWK0nU

Tim Tripcony

May 12 2014

Today the news tells us that one of the Lotus/XPages community has let us, much to early. Tim Tripcony was one of the good guys. No,Tim was one of the best guys. Besides being smart and talented, Tim was a gentle soul who loved to share knowledge. I remember many chats with Tim talking about XPages, something new he was working on, or music. I will always remember seeing Tim at the first MWLUG in Chicago - just after he cut his long hair. I didn't recognize him at first. We laughed at my confusion. Tim's response at the time was 'well, I might have cut off my hair, but my technical skills weren't because of my hair!' ... Tim, you might have left us, but your technical skills aren't all we will remember. Rest in peace my friend - I will miss you.