A trip to Manchester for UKLUG

Sunday morning started with an early run up the M40/M6 to Manchester for the set up of UKLUG (United Kingdom Lotus User Group). I say early because 8am is not a time I normally witness most Sundays, well for now anyway. I was surprised at the amount of Red Kites that I saw all looking for prey along the M40 corridor from High Wycombe up to Banbury. They are close to the endangered list so it was good to count about 50 of them up the motorway. Arriving in Manchester I made my way to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) and found some of the team in full swing preparing the various rooms with sound/projection/lights, all the normal stuff that needs doing for a conference like this. I got to work setting up the wifi access points and running 25m ethernet cables in the ceiling space to the 2 access points we had. This is seemed to work fine so we moved on to taking a few pictures around the place while the rest of set up was happening. The bag stuffers were in full swing collecting all the bits of marketing material for each of the conference bags. It takes quite a while to put 20 bits of 'stuff' into 250 bags.

With the set up done in a really good amount of time we all set off for our hotels by about 6pm. The speaker dinner event was happening later that evening with a canal boat tour on the Manchester ship canal. It was a great evening and quite a few drinks were consumed.

Monday morning came around and we were there early to await the arrival of the guests. Everything was as smooth as silk, apart from the wifi that I set up. It turns out that Netgear in it's infinite wisdom would only allow 50 DHCP addresses to be assigned through it's tiny little wifi router. Grrrrrr. Luckily one of the sponsors had a Linksys router that would allow us 220 addresses so we set that up instead and cut down the lease time to about 3 minutes. Luckily for me, Warren Elsmore and Chris Miller helped me sort this out and work out what the best time was. We are also looking at ways to make this work in a much more stable way in future.

Tuesday was fun and we managed to attend sessions and get everything sorted for the XPages taster morning before everyone came in. The wifi needed rebooting again mid-morning so we really know that it's something we have to fix before the next event.

The closing session was the usual prize-fest from the sponsors, and as usual, those who didn't stay until the end didn't get their prizes.

All in all it was an outstanding event. Great attendees, awesome sponsors and a fantastic venue. The only thing that makes all this work is the volunteers who run it and the speakers who spend coutnless hours distilling their knowledge into consumable chunks in the form of presentations. I for one am very grateful to Kitty and Warren for organising it and to the speakers who turn up, unpaid, to impart their wisdom.