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Advanced sessions in NIWeek


Yair

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QUOTE(crelf @ Aug 10 2007, 05:53 PM)

PS: looks like we're trying to hijack the thread - if you'd like to discuss this further I suggest a new thread be created in the LAVA Lounge...

It isn't that there weren't any sessions with technical content.

I'm mainly an LV guy, however, and I was interested more in high level content about LV. Steve Rogers' session, for instance, mostly went over stuff which was already available online (e.g. from his presentations from previous years). The content was high level, but it was not worth coming all the way to Austin for.

Obviously, you get the ability to talk to the presenters after the sessions, but that is not a proper occasion to get such content (you're in a hurry, they're in a hurry, there are other people wanting to talk to them, you may not necessarily have specific questions, they may not necessarily know what they're allowed to talk about, etc.).

There are also private sessions, but these are probably rare and hard to get into (I had the champions one with Jeff K, but I didn't realize that was the type of meeting we were going to have).

You're probably right, too. I went to Greg's session and that was probably a mistake, but with some of the good sessions scheduled at the same time, you have no choice other than to choose one and hope that you got the right one.

I would like to see, for instance, sessions like:

  • Behind the scenes of the complier (I think I saw a presentation online from NIWeek 1999 or something like that).
  • Optimizations options for various options (similar to Steve R.'s session).
  • Behind the scenes of the event structure.
  • Inplaceness details.
  • Behind the scenes of LV Classes (to be fair, Stephen's presentation may have done, but I doubt it).
  • Behind the scenes of Xcontrols.
  • See some potential new features in LV and give feedback (Darren actually did something like that with a small feature he just thought about).
  • Some demo of Xnodes and how they're actually used in LV?

Obviously, some of the stuff is NI's IP and they would not like to expose it to everybody, but it would have been nice to have high level stuff like that properly scheduled.

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QUOTE(yen @ Aug 11 2007, 10:10 AM)

I would like to see, for instance, sessions like...

All of the sessions that you listed are either behind-the-scenes or about things that NI doesn't officially support (or even acknowledge). I may be sounding a little harsh here, but did you honestly expect to see these kind of sessions? NI-Week is partially about learning how to use LabVIEW, not how the NI engineers created it. Sure, I'd love to see some of those things as well, but only out of curiousity - I more interested in you to use the features to do my own cool stuff than how the tools I use were created.

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Part of what I would like to see as part of sessions like these is how we can get performance improvements or where there are caveats and hidden points which can only be understood by understanding how things work behind the scenes. This also doesn't necessarily have to go very deeply behind the scenes, since even some understanding of these things helps somewhat. I admit that it is more important to know how to use LV, but having used the beta I already know most of the new features. Even if I hadn't, I would probably be able to download the evaluation version and learn about the new features from webcasts or the NI sales people.

I agree that sesssions explaining and demoing complex features are also good (e.g. Michael's XControls, Stephen's LVOOP, Norm's from last year), but I wouldn't want that for every LV feature.

It's the same basic thing with new hardware. I could learn how to use it from NI sales personnel and from the web (at least the ones in Israel are good). Getting to those sessions in NIWeek is good, because you do get folks who understand what they're talking about, but my focus is mainly LabVIEW.

Did I expect to see these sessions?

No, not really, but based on the descriptions of some of the sessions I went to, I was hoping for more than there was. I can understand why NI goes to the LCD, but I would also like a more advanced track (and I said as much to some of the relevant NI people).

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QUOTE(yen @ Aug 11 2007, 10:55 AM)

I can understand why NI goes to the LCD, but I would also like a more advanced track (and I said as much to some of the relevant NI people).

NI doesn't go for the LCD - they used to, but IMHO they have done a lot of work over the past few years towards a fairly good balance now. They need to have sessions for the beginning user as well as the advanced user. Sessions from people like Stephen Mercer, Jan Klasson, Mike A and Dean Streck show that they are committed to the latter. Whilst I agree that it would be nice to have some even deeper stuff, I just can't agree with comments like "...NI goes to the LCD" because it's just not true anymore. You said that you are a LabVIEW guy, so I just wanted to make sure that everyone's clear that your comments refer only to the LabVIEW sessions that you attended. I think painting NI-Week with such a broad brush is unfair. It may not have appealed directly to you, but I'm sure a lot of people (including myself) got a lot out of it this year.

When it's all said and done, I really hope that your discussions with NI to tailor NI-Week more toward what you're after work - after all, NI can't read our minds, and the only way we have a chance of getting what we want is to ask for it. :thumbup:

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I have a different take on the sessions. My motivation as a presenter is to get the audience excited about a certain technology. Based on my quick survey at NIWeek, only 10% of the room was using XControls in a real project. What's the point of going deep and analyzing the inner workings of a technology when you can't even get someone to use it? I think that would scare people even more. My only hope is that I made a connection with a few people, enough to encourage them to go home and try to create something with XControls. Then, when they stumble or hit a block, they come to the forums or contact support to further push the envelope.

Yen, you and other select LabVIEW users out there are in a special category that I'm afraid NIWeek cannot adequately satisfy. There needs to by an additional day, possibly similar to Alliance day that is geared for advanced users seeking more in depth knowledge.

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An additional day geared towards advanced users sounds like an excellent idea. I'd also like to see more judicious scheduling. There were a number of times where interesting (at least to me!) presentations overlapped so you were forced to choose one. Some times this will happen -- I certainly understand that -- however, that saturing of some time slots was juxtaposed to some slots were there really weren't topics of interest (at least to me!) for the intermediate to advanced user.

Now I don't want my comments to sound negative. I think that overall NI Week was really quite good. It's the first one I went to and I've been using LV since 98. Before this it really did seem like it would be worthwhile to come down. I don't know that the prior ones were NOT useful or worthwhile!!! Again I'm not wanting to be negative. But I can say that this one was really informative and revelated some interesting things --- like LAVA underware. Having used BRIEF a long time ago that somehow reminded me of....OK I won't go there.

I did pass along my comments about trying to schedule more "advanced" programming sessions and it was pretty well received from what I could tell. So, at this point, I suspect that I'll be coming back next year. I can't bear to think that I'd miss the LAVA BBQ. And of course it was great to meet everyone face to face otherwise I might have continued to believe that crelf only wears a tuxedo.

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Some of you have already seen this in another forum, but here's my list of sessions that I would consider to be of interest to advanced users. I think there was quite a bit of advanced topics.

0) Steve Rogers' presentation of the new inplaceness structure

1) Michael's XControls presentation

2) Jim Kring's commercial software presentation

3) Jan Klasson's presentation of the beta of the new UML editor (this is SO amazingly cool it had me drooling!!!)

4) My presentation on Intro to OO Development (which included a new way to architect functional globals)

5) The OO Early Adopter Stories, tales from other advanced LV users on using the new LV classes

6) Bioacoustic Algorithm Engineering (aka using DAQ and signal processing to help with interpreting whale song)

7) One or more of the hands-on sessions had to have had something new for you

8) All three of the keynote presentations -- I can't even begin to cover all of them. But mind-controlled machines was really cool, and contemplating the possibilities of every person in your neighborhood having a personal aerial strike force has kept some of us in conversation for a full day.

On the floor of the expo hall, your engineers should've been excited about

1) S.E.A.'s new LV Localization Toolkit

2) The inovations with the LEGO and NXT toolkits

Further, a lot of the value of NI Week is to compare notes with other advanced LV engineers, over and beyond the sessions, and to feedback to NI on specific needs/wants. I came out of the week with multiple pages of suggested work in a much MUCH more valuable format than I get from online discussions.

And you never know, you might come home with a new Wii. I did. ;-)

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I didn't attend NI Week so I cannot judge if the presentations were interesting or not. However, IMHO, I'm don't think we should accuse NI of not organizing interesting sessions for us advanced users. If we feel NI Week doesn't provide enough content for us, we can always organize ourselves some additional program. This is how it works on all other fields of science and engineering, the community organizes the conferences. Why should LabVIEW developer conferences be different. I'm even confident that if we would organize some program, NI would be more than happy to take care of practical issues such as providing conference rooms and such.

Tomi

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I can feel the pain of Yen his NI week costed probably the same as Wiebe's (>3000 us$)and seeing that figures I am sure I will never convince anyone (including me) to go to NI week.

Having a similar (LabVIEW focused?) 3 day seminar in europe would certainly be interesting.

I can see that NI week is very interesting for a Hardware/Software combo I can imagine a trip 3000 US$ for 10 interesting sessions is quite expensive.

Ton

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It is worth mentioning that it is pretty tough to go deep into a topic in 45-60 minutes. Especially when you know that you will have a really broad spectrum of an audience. Not everyone at NI Week is a LabVIEW Architect so it is no practical to aim presentations at that level of understanding. It is really important to organize outside of the NI space -- in the Bay Area, we are lucky enough to have a Bay Area LAVA group - Michael's XControl presentation at that meeting was ~ 2 hours long and we got to see much more of the technical detail.

That being said, I think that one bit of feedback I heard, which I don't mind repeating, was that overall, NI seemed to spend less time preparing for the presentations than the independent (mostly Alliance Member) presenters. Of course there are exceptions to every rule (Stephen Mercer's LVOOP presentation was standing room only for good reason :thumbup: ) -- but the quality control of other NI presentations was criticized by many people I talked to.

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QUOTE(Val Brown @ Aug 11 2007, 05:57 PM)

...like LAVA underware. Having used BRIEF a long time ago that somehow reminded me of....OK I won't go there.

I'm sure there's a photo or two around of the striptease we all got at the LAVA BBQ. :D

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QUOTE(tcplomp @ Aug 11 2007, 07:14 PM)

Having a similar (LabVIEW focused?) 3 day seminar in europe would certainly be interesting.

I definitely agree :) Should we try to organize Advanced LabVIEW conference during the European NI Days in Barcelona. European NI Days take place in April or something. This would be an excellent excuse for all the LAVA gurus from all over the world to visit one of the nicest cities in Europe. Would you guys like the idea?

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I think an Advanced Topics Day on Friday would be great. Plus it is an excuse to stay for Friday night on 6th street :P .

First, there should still be advanced sessions during regular NI Week or else we'd all get bored.

Second, I would like to see longer time slots. I'd like an hour long in-depth presentation followed by an hour long discussion with the developers. Four or Five of those sessions plus a short lunch. The interest may even be small enough to have it on the campus (since it is probably too late to get that Friday slot at the convention center next year).

I can imagine sessions on LVOOP, Large Projects (project window, multiple developers, multiple targets, source control, etc.), Improving Performance, FPGA, Real-Time, XControls, VI Scripting (come on, release it to NI Labs!).

Pat Lavezza

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QUOTE(crelf @ Aug 11 2007, 05:46 AM)

I'm sorry, you're right. That term came up in one of my conversations with someone from NI and just stuck in my head. I don't think any of the sessions I went to were LCD. Some of them (like Steve's) were relatively advanced, but simply didn't provide me with much new material that wasn't available before online. I realize I'm the exception in this, but I am eventually me and that's what I care about. :D

QUOTE(Michael_Aivaliotis @ Aug 11 2007, 10:32 AM)

I have a different take on the sessions. My motivation as a presenter is to get the audience excited about a certain technology.

Yen, you and other select LabVIEW users out there are in a special category that I'm afraid NIWeek cannot adequately satisfy. There needs to by an additional day, possibly similar to Alliance day that is geared for advanced users seeking more in depth knowledge.

You're probably right in your thinking and I think most sessions were actually that - trying to introduce people to new features and new hardware and I definitely tried to get into some of those sessions as well to learn about new hardware which would be relevant for my company.

I feel that whether advanced sessions are in a seperate day or spread throught the conference is an implementation details and I can see ups and downs for either approach. I'm guessing it would actually be more practical for NI to do the two-hour-long sessions Pat suggested, since you can easily manage these with a small number of people during the conference. The important thing is for NI to realize that there are people who want these things (and get an estimate of how many people and what kinds of sessions they want. I don't think it would have to be a huge number of people. I saw sessions that had less than 20 people). The general vibe I got was that NI heard this from other people as well and is trying to address this.

QUOTE(Val Brown @ Aug 11 2007, 10:57 AM)

Amen to that, brother.

QUOTE(Aristos Queue @ Aug 11 2007, 06:41 PM)

8) All three of the keynote presentations

...

Further, a lot of the value of NI Week is to compare notes with other advanced
LV
engineers, over and beyond the sessions, and to feedback to NI on specific needs/wants. I came out of the week with multiple pages of suggested work in a much MUCH more valuable format than I get from online discussions.

The keynotes were great (especially the demonstrations Jeff K did and Chris Anderson's demonstration of the Lego UAV and the kid with model trains not programmed with "C Pound" :laugh: ). That is actually part of what I'm talking about - getting to see some experimental stuff or interesting and thought provoking usages (yes, I know I didn't mention that before). Unfortunately, I didn't get to some of the others.

As for meeting other developers and NI R&D - yes, that was the probably the most of what I got out of NIWeek. Sitting in on a discussion you and Jim had about possible LVOOP features was enlightning.

QUOTE

And you never know, you might come home with a new Wii. I did. ;-)

I didn't. :angry:

:laugh:

I was told that NI is trying to organize online conferences where they can get NI R&D members as well as users from around the world to participate. This might handle some of these issues if these are frequent and usable enough. Does anyone know if any of these sessions happened already?

By the way, NIWeek was quite a bit of information overload for me and I'm positive I missed out on some stuff that would have made it better. In general, however, I definitely did enjoy it and I also gained all kinds of stuff, the value of which I can't really judge yet (or possibly ever). Being almost a lone LV developer just the chance to meet some proper LV developers is basically a new experience for me, so I don't want to convey the feeling that I suffered, just that this would something more suitable for my specific taste (and presumably that of some others).

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QUOTE(yen @ Aug 11 2007, 11:19 PM)

Being almost a lone LV developer just the chance to meet some proper LV developers is basically a new experience for me, so I don't want to convey the feeling that I suffered, just that this would something more suitable for my specific taste (and presumably that of some others).

Yen, I have to say that I went to NIWeek for two years before I figured out that there's a whole other underground "track". This track is where all the cool LabVIEW developers mix with the advanced LabVIEW users and have thought provoking discussions you don't find in the normal tracks. I'm talking of course about discussions during lunch, evening, hallway chatter and hanging out at the JKI booth.

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QUOTE(Michael_Aivaliotis @ Aug 12 2007, 12:35 AM)

Yen, I have to say that I went to NIWeek for two years before I figured out that there's a whole other underground "track". This track is where all the cool LabVIEW developers mix with the advanced LabVIEW users and have thought provoking discussions you don't find in the normal tracks. I'm talking of course about discussions during lunch, evening, hallway chatter and hanging out at the JKI booth.

It's kind of like that old idea of developing v1 to throw it away -- go to your first NI Week to prototype the experience and then throw all of the assumptions and expectations you brough to that first "failure" and do the real deal at the next one, your own personal NI Week v2.

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QUOTE(Val Brown @ Aug 13 2007, 04:50 AM)

It's kind of like that old idea of developing v1 to throw it away -- go to your first NI Week to prototype the experience and then throw all of the assumptions and expectations you brough to that first "failure" and do the real deal at the next one, your own personal NI Week v2.

:thumbup: Oh - I like that!

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