I decided to go to the event as I thought it would be a good opportunity for me to meet some of the people at Dyalog who I have spoken with, have a go on the Stormwind Simulator which I have heard so much about, see some of the marketing items Mike had designed on display.
The day started early and I met Mike at Crawley station at 7am and off we went to Gatwick Airport. The flight was at 8.55am so we got there in plenty of time to have a quick look around the North Terminal. The flight was a little delayed took just over an hour so we landed in Glasgow about 10.45am. We then had to find Bus stop no 9 where we were picked up by the Hotel Mercedes.
Once we arrived at the Golden Jubilee Hotel, we were met at the registration desk and shown to the conference room. We spotted the Optima contingent and took our seats.
Now, I do not confess to knowing or even understanding what APL is or have any clue about coding so for me it was all about meeting people and joining in the celebration. The first presentation we attended was Dyalog Implementation – The Early Years with Geoff Streeter and John Scholes (Dyalog Ltd) This was an interesting presentation which you did not really have to be geeky to understand and they had some photos of themselves on the big screen with nice beards and flares which was quite funny. It covered as the title suggests Early years - how they set up in business and the risks they encountered along the way.
Mike and I were then ushered by Fiona from Dyalog to the much talked about Stormwind Simulator. This was designed by Tomas Gustafsson – a virtual boating simulator written using Dyalog APL. Quite impressive!
Mike and I then entered the Stormwind Challenge. I put myself up first to be the driver and Mike the navigator. We stepped up the ramp and sat in the seats which had belts to strap you in – did not know that it needed this kind of safety so felt like I was getting ready to go on a roller coaster ride. The challenge was to pick a route around an island and avoid some giant eggs which would hit the sea and make the whole journey very bumpy. We chose the quicker more difficult route, needless to say I was rubbish and unfortunately it stopped working as a technical glitch had happened. (not my fault I did not break it!)
We had another go and Mike was the driver and I navigated. This proved to be a better combination (no comments about women drivers please) so we sped through sea and made it to the finish. We seemed to impress the organisers of the challenge as they said they had not had anyone make it to the finish in a good time. We assumed he had meant that day and laughed that wouldn’t it be funny if we won the challenge seeing as we were only there for a few hours! We only went and won the challenge!
We then had some lunch and I met a few people from Dyalog and a few drinks in the bar terrace with Mike, Callum and James as it was a lovely day we sat outside and admired the view of the river.
Presentations we attended were:
How I won the Programming Contest – Zack Batik
Programming Contest Awards Ceremony – Brian Becker and Niels Hallenberg (Simcorp)
The use of APL in SimCorp Dimension – Niels Hallenburg SimCorp
Composition Based Modelling and Dyalog APL – Stephen B Jaffe – see below – needless to say was far too technical for me to understand.
At 4pm we had to leave the Hotel to make it back to Glasgow Airport. Karen Shaw from Dyalog gave us a goody bag with various marketing items – mug, phone charger, rain coat, Poster, mouse mat.
It was a long day, but I would say that I had not thought about attending an APL/Dyalog event before as it is not something that I understand and I do not use it in my Finance/Admin world but it was a very interesting. A great day out and I would recommend it to anyone who is not a programmer to give it a go.
Update: Dyalog has made available a complete list of resources and materials from the User Meeting in Glasgow.