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November 8th, 2010

~Monday~  Joe dropped me off at the Hilton Wilmington Riverside for the first of my three-day conference, UNC CAUSE 2010, which is an annual conference (when the budget allows) for anyone working in information technology (IT) in support of the 17 institutions of the University of North Carolina system.

I went from a Quality Inn for $62 a night to the "upscale" Hilton for $109 a night (which was a special conference rate at that), and this is what I got for it:

  • No refrigerator

  • No microwave

  • A strong smell of an extreme excess of furniture polish or new wood or something

  • An ice machine at the opposite end of the building on my hall that you find out once you arrive there that you need your room key to access

  • Ants crawling around on the bathroom floor
All that is to say, it didn't start off very well. On the plus side, I had a great roommate, a good view, and wireless access, which didn't quite make it to some of the rooms, so I know I was lucky.



The conference opened at 1:30 with a keynote address from the CIO of the entire UNC university system, which was less than fascinating, but probably information that needed to be shared.

Following that, I attended this session:

Yammer Time! – Creating Collaboration, Conversation and Culture

Yammer is a private microblogging platform that has been described as a cross between Facebook and Twitter. ECU is piloting this platform during the Fall 2010 semester. The pilot consists of many different groups around campus including the College of Business, New Faculty Orientation group, College of Nursing and the Instructional Technology Consultants, just to name a few.

During the pilot we will be looking at how Yammer changed the culture at ECU. Does it facilitate collaboration? Is Yammer an appropriate platform for facilitating communication and has it change the culture in which ECU communicates?

During this presentation you will learn what Yammer is, how it works and the lessons learned during the Fall 2010 pilot.

Matt Long – East Carolina


During the next session time (3:45-4:30), which contained all vendor presentations, Jen and I met in the boardroom and worked on our presentation. I wasn't really tantalized by any of the session names during the next session time (4:45-5:45), and none of them had any kind of direct connection to the type of work I do, so I went back to my room and worked on my portion of our presentation for some final tweaks.



At 6:30, I attended the Speakers Dinner, which was delicious. I'd already knocked back a few by then and when we got in line for the buffet-style dinner I backed up to let someone go by and hit a tray full of pitchers of water and ice tea that three people grabbed at once and saved from a huge crash to the floor.

I thoroughly enjoyed my meal—particularly the bread and butter—and I didn't know it then, but I was to enjoy every meal I ate at the conference. Here I am after dinner, in the back corner of the room against the wall, checking for messages and such on my phone.


As much as I wanted to go to the "Desserts and Trivia" event that followed the Speakers Dinner, I was so wiped out from being up until 3:00 in the morning last night, that I went up to my room, was in the bed at 8:30, and slept through the night.

I hated to miss the trivia, as my friend and colleague, Jen, put a ton of work into it, and I even edited the questions with a little help from Joe at Port City Java on Sunday.

However, I heard a great time was had by all, so that's good. The hardest part to believe was that I passed up an open bar.

I mentioned that we had a good view from our room. Here are a couple of shots from our window as night drew nigh:

A nearby pier



The USS North Carolina Battleship in the sunset

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