Reflections of London, Brussels and COMMON Europe Congress 2017

All work and no play?

With the wonderful opportunity of speaking again at COMMON Europe  (, Larry Bolhuis, Richard Dolewski, his wife Maria and I decided to include a two-day pre-conference stop in London.  Larry and I timed our flights to land at London Heathrow within ninety minutes of each other but with his delays and my flight arriving early our touchdowns were apparently only minutes apart. Once we both got through the customs queue we took a few minutes for a quick COMMON Europe promotion video:

While visiting London we were fortunate to meet up with Liam Allan and his girlfriend Emily-Mai Brown.  Liam is one of the Fresh Faces of IBM i.   You can learn more about that by clicking here.

We all enjoyed having lunch together in The Nags Head Pub.


While also in London I was able to fulfill a bucket list item, that is to take a photograph with one of the lions in Trafalgar Square.  Fortunately Larry was able to assist with me climbing the statue, otherwise this would have never been possible.   Thanks Larry!

Meeting up with “Strangers”

I say this every conference and it continues to hold true.  The events are always great, as are the locales.   But surely, I believe the best part is meeting everyone. Particularly in Europe, where so many cultures and languages intersect.   In addition to meeting IBM i minded folks, I find great pleasure in random encounters and chatting with “ordinary” people while being out and about.  Many of them even let me take a selfie with them.


COMMON Europe Congress 2017

Each year the Congress ( is held in a different city, with this year being in Brussels.   Nearly 100 sessions in 2 and 1/2 days.  This trip provided me with a little free time for exploring, meeting the local residents and sampling some of the restaurants.  Two of the signature foods are frites and mussels.   We took the EuroRail to Brussels and met up with Robin Tatam and his family.  It was very cool going through the Chunnel, going through France and then Belgium.

Congress networking

From opening reception to the dinner at the Comic Art Museum (, there were several opportunities to visit with peers from over 20 countries.  Throughout the event I was able to take some photos with board members and attendees.  Here are a few:

RDi sessions

It was decided to present a track of RDi sessions which showcased a broad spectrum of RDi’s vast features.  The three selected sessions were “From STRPDM to RDi,” “From STRDBG to RDi” and “RDi FAQs.”   I was very pleased at the attendance and interest in this topic and fully enjoyed presenting the content.  At the end of my last presentation I created a short video thanking everyone who attended.

Beautiful music in the air

One need not spend too much time in Brussels before you encounter music of all genres. It’s everywhere, searing through the throngs. This first video is of a street musician playing an incredible rendition of Giacomo Puccini’s Nessun Dorma.  It stopped me in my tracks.  Hearing street musicians is something we encounter all the time in NYC, but this music, combined with the surrounding architecture made it extra special.

As an added bonus, at the COMMON Tuesday dinner, COMMON Europe board member Igor Novotny’s two amazing daughters Zora and Nora Novotna provided classical piano overtures that astounded the senses. Nothing had prepared me for this. Whether you listen for just a few moments or the entire length, I’m sure you will agree their rendition of Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 is masterful.

Saying goodbye

On the very last day Liam and I took the train to Brussels airport and began my journey back to New York.

After the long flight, here is one final video from the baggage claim area at JFK airport.   Thank to you everyone I met during this last week, this is yet another trip I won’t ever forget.











An all-day hands-on RDi workshop at QUSER

Twin Cities, MN, May 2017 

For this workshop, we supply a sample source library for each attendee, which is used during the activities.  The event was promoted with a short video that was tweeted out to the QUSER membership.

One of my favorite things to do is to create are the promotion videos.

Getting There

As always, the best part for me is meeting everyone, reacquainting with old friends and catching up.   When my plane first left JFK we were told to look out our windows for an incredible aerial view of New York City.  You can really appreciate exactly how large Central Park is, plus a grand view of midtown and downtown on the southern end.

Hello from MSP!

 A quick video as soon as I landed provided one last tweet to the members of QUSER to make sure they know the event is being held the next day.   I was hopeful we would have a good turnout.   

QUSER hospitality

Robin and Angela Tatam are such great hosts.   We were able to catch up over dinner the night before the event where I had the featured dish of Minnesota, the famous walleye.  In fact, I’ve had so much walleye during this trip that I swear I was starting to grow gills.  

The hands-on RDi workshop

I wasn’t prepared for the turnout, more than 30 people showed up.  What a great sign that developers want to modernize the tools in their toolkit.   Everyone had RDi pre-loaded on their laptops.  Most people were new to RDi but there were some who are advanced RDi users and evangelists.   For those who weren’t current users they were able to download a 60-day trial directly from the RDi Developer Hub.   In this workshop, we focused on source code maintenance and the various views, demonstrating how RDi far exceeds SEU and PDM.   There were also many requests for a crash course on using the RDi debugger so we also covered that.    All in all, with an entire day we covered a lot of ground.   These corporate workshops are typically two days long and which allows us to dig deeper into LPEX.  Many times, we will work with the client’s own source code or debug their own programs.

Back in New York

So many thanks to the hosts and all of the attendees of QUSER.   When I arrived back in New York there was a nice package waiting for me.    In it was a T-shirt from Help Systems plus a QUSER coffee mug, filled with chocolates.    The gifts were surely appreciated and I hope to return some day, for both another day of exploring the cities and to meet those who are as passionate about application development as much as I am.