Yes I fully admit that this article is click bait, but i can promise you that attending the event below will help you learn all about VMware’s latest and greatest release (and a few other things besides), as well as having the opportunity to network with some awesome like-minded individuals!
The event agenda is below and follows the usual mix of vendor sponsors and top notch community sessions, followed by a couple of cheeky lemonades at the vBeers event at the Pavilion End at the end of the day.
As an added bonus it seems that the night before the meeting, the crew from TECHUnplugged will be in town and everyone is invited to a vWhatever session (vBeers, vWine, vCurry, vWhatever!), location TBC. Keep an eye on Jane Rimmer’s blog for more info!
I am hoping to be at the event, having only missed one in about the last 3 years, so if you do spot me there (I’m the 6’7” Scottish bloke”)!
, Cisco ACI
, vCloud Air
, vSphere 6
I begin this brief post with a certain level of trepidation, I suspect most likely to due to the inherent discomfort which most Brits feel when discussing the relative qualities of one another’s labours.
I am talking of course, about the annual Top 100 vBlog awards run by Eric Siebert of http://vsphere-land.com and vLaunchpad!
Many hundreds of bloggers around the world spend tens and sometimes hundreds of hours every year producing such excellent content, it is often used not only to augment vendor documentation, but indeed to replace it (whilst at the same time providing keen insight and valuable opinion on the state of our industry)!
I certainly don’t count myself among those individuals, but hope that the occasionally irregular content I find the time to post is of some value to somebody! 🙂
So with that in mind if you’re reading this now, I would encourage you to head over to Eric’s site below and register your votes; it only takes take a few seconds of your time to show some appreciation for the time and effort put in by those ladies and gentlemen who worked tirelessly throughout the year to help make all of our jobs that little bit easier.
Now if only I could convince Eric to spell virtualisation correctly…
Just one quick bit of good news relating to the recent vSphere 6 announcements… during the beta I tested the Intel 82579V adapter which comes as standard in the original generation of Intel NUCs, and found that it works out of the box in vSphere 6! Superb!
That means no more messing around with VIBs, you just install ESXi and start creating VMs!
There are a significant number of people in the community now using Intel NUC machines in their home labs for their low noise, power utilisation and cost. This may indicate VMware endeavouring to get more behind the home labbing community!
I will post more on this when vSphere goes GA. Hopefully this support won’t change between now and then, as I believe it may have once or twice in the past…
For more info on these brilliant devices, see other posts in this series: Intel NUC NanoLab
Public speaking can be daunting if you don’t do it regularly (and sometimes, even if you do!). As part of my role I regularly talk to small groups of 5-10 people, but this year I have had the opportunity to speak a couple of times at the London VMUG.
The following tips are a combination of my own experience, both where I think things in my sessions went well, and equally where I could definitely have improved. Many thanks to Mike Laverick, Simon Gallagher, Andrew Audsley and Mark Wilson for their presenting and technical tips as well!
- Facts, figures, best practices and suggested configurations are interesting, but sharing of real life experiences is what people come to hear. Anecdotes are much more interesting.
- Talking about what works and what went well is great, but issues or things that didn’t quite work out as you expected are just as valuable, if not more so.
- Gauging the audiences level of knowledge / experience early on can be very helpful. The first thing I did in my last presentation was to ask how many people in the room worked with or designed storage on a regular basis. As it was a “Noddy’s Guide”, I was expecting few hands, but in fact ¾ of the room put their hand up! The advantage of asking this up front is that I was able to tweak my session to the audience by dropping or de-emphasizing a lot of the simpler stuff and concentrating on the more complex / interesting bits.
- By talking about what you did / would do in a scenario, as opposed what you think other people should do, they are be more likely to be receptive. This subtle difference can change the feel of a session from being a lecture, into a discussion. If the intention of the session is to get people to interact, this might encourage people to step up and say what they would do in the same situation, or to talk about their experiences.
- If you are not 100% sure of / expert in all of your content, consider including “islands” of content at regular intervals (e.g. every 10-15 minutes), where you know the content really well. This means if you happen to start to drift and lose your way a bit, you can anchor to the bits you know really well and build your confidence back up before moving on to the next bit of the presentation.
- Don’t be off put if you don’t get a huge amount of interaction, especially with large groups. The bigger the audience, the less interaction you are likely to get, unless you specifically ask for it or start picking on audience members!
Dont worry… VMUG audiences are friendly!
- Don’t be nervous about the audience! Much like a wedding speech, its worth remembering that the VMUG audience at a community session really want the speaker to succeed. It’s unlikely you will find a more friendly and willing audience in almost any other situation.
- Lists are not exciting, and neither are multiple slides of “and another thing” type of comments. I definitely felt I should have tried to break up my last session into different types of content and context, which would have made it more interesting.
- Even if you plan your presentation to the minute in advance, things never quite work out that way! You are likely to be asked questions, stopped mid flow, projectors turn themselves off and start smelling a bit smoky etc… the best thing to do is plan a shorter presentation as you will undoubtedly use all the time anyway!
- When it comes to slides less is most definitely more!
- You don’t actually have to go through every line on every slide, sometimes simply picking out the most pertinent bits can make for better flow, and the decks are usually available after anyway, so someone who is really interested can read the detail if they want to.
- One other tip which Duncan Epping gave recently and I definitely agree with is to practice your presentation a few times through in advance, but don’t over-practice and end up being too robotic. Everyone has their own style but I personally like to use the slides as a talking point and guide, rather than planning word-for-word what I’m going to say.
- Once you have your initial draft, try it out on some friends or colleagues in the industry. This can be invaluable for working out your timing and getting a feel for what works and what doesn’t. I ended up rewriting large chunks of my storage presentation after running through it with some guys from my team at work.
- Don’t forget about the awesome FeedForward initiative! I was fortunate enough to have the inimitable Mike Laverick provide me with FeedForward prior to both of my London VMUG sessions, and in both cases he provided lots of valuable suggestions and improvements to my content and style as well as coming up with a few ideas I hadn’t even considered.
- As I have painfully discovered first hand, no matter how much prep and testing I did on my slide deck, it still went wrong! From now on I plan to have a backup plan; a PDF copy I can whip out if PowerPoint goes nuts again!
- Don’t use PowerPoint animations… they’re unreliable at best!
Sacrifice to the Gods of Demos
- If you are going to do a live demo, don’t forget to sacrifice an old laptop, phone, printer or other electronic device to the gods of Demos! [Alternatively, you could just record a copy of your demo in case it all goes wrong then you have a backup plan].
A prime example of this (and I’m sure he won’t mind me sharing it) was our London VMUG’s very own Simon Gallagher who was doing a software demo. He tested it successfully just minutes before his presentation was due to start. During his presentation the demo then decided to fail! After a bit of investigation, Simon realised that the license key on his software ran out in the few minutes between his last test, and his live demo starting. Talk about unlucky timing?!
- [Mac] Mirroring screen contents instead of using presenter view tends to work more consistently, rather than extending the desktop to the projector. In my day-to-day work this is what I have always done and its always worked very reliably. It does mean you can’t use speaker notes though of course.
- [Mac] Consider running PowerPoint in Parallels or Fusion on Windows. The Windows version of PowerPoint is apparently more consistent!
If you have any more tips or suggestions you think would be worth adding to the list, please feel free to contact me and I’ll be happy to add them for the benefit of others!
, public speaking