CA-World'96 Roving Reporter
August 28
At The Show Put some fiber in your network diet
Around Town Follow Jeff and David as they eat their way around town
What's The Buzz Bill Gates and the Internet
Spotlight Find out what the folks at the show are saying

[Note: This is a sample page from CA-World's website of the daily "Roving Reporter" series. The actual CA web site was online until the end of September, 1996.]


I go to lots of trade shows, out of necessity more than any love for them. It is refreshing to walk the floor of CA-World, where the aisles are wide, the booths staffed by people that offer more information than decoration, and where you can bring home more solid product information instead of cheap gimmies like nerf balls and buttons.

The program development manager for the show is Dennis Sullivan, who along with ten other people work year-round to pull off CA-World. He manages the content for the show, running 268 concurrent educational sessions, with about 50 or so with hands-on equipment in the rooms. "This is the largest training effort that I know of and the best educational value for the dollar," he says and I would agree with him on both points. Dennis gives high marks to the team assembled by Ed Markowitz at CA: "they are the best in the industry."

Part of the focus of the show and my own personal interest is the network. The show network is being run by Ben Lucchese, a hardware manager at CA. I spoke to him and Steve Palmese today before the floor opened, to get some perspective on what it took to get things setup.

During the show, CA maintains T-1 lines to 13 hotels around town. These terminate at the convention center, where about 100 fiber lines connect the various booth locations back to a central "glass house" in the middle of the floor. In addition, the company has put in fiber in each hotel from the telecommunications demark point (where the T-1 line enters the hotel) to the various meeting rooms and areas that have computer gear in them. That stuff in both the hotels and the convention center stays when the show leaves town this week, and could be used by others - "because of our needs, we are giving the convention center and the city a benefit that they can use for other shows," said Ben.

The network has over 1400 computers, with over 50 servers of varying shapes and sizes, including NT, Unix, and even one Tandem. It took two days and eight people to get everything set up before the show started.

Running a network isn't always easy, and this week things got off to a rocky start Sunday morning care of CSX corporation. According to a news story, 146 DS3s were cut between Michoed, LA and New Orleans, LA. This happened while CSX was extracting a crane that had overturned on top of Worldcom's cables. The crane was trying to remove a derailed train car. Worldcom is the local Internet Service Provider that CA used to connect its show network. "We have four T-1s that connect us to our offices: two go to headquarters in Islandia, one goes to our office in Chicago, and one goes to San Diego. Unfortunately, this problem happened so close to here that all four lines were cut," says Ben.

Back to the show floor, I went to have my picture taken for my own personal home page at the NetHaven booth. According to Steve Mann, they will have done over 500 pages by the time the show closes tonight. Each page has one of three different backgrounds and comes with a photo and a RealAudio recording. One participant brought his sax and played a few notes, bringing new meaning to blowing your own horn on the web.


I've been itchy to get away from the show for a few good meals and sample some of the great cuisine in this town, so today offered an opportunity to check out a few favorite restaurants. My CA guide for the week, Jeff Stein, and I headed out for lunch at Mother's, which has Po'Boy sandwiches. For those of you that haven't yet tasted this treat, Jeff says "it is just another word for hero, grinder, or hoagie. But they are done with putting fried shrimp or oysters on a roll." No other ingredients? "Nope. That's it. Just fresh."

Then there is the Muffeletta. I haven't ever tasted this sandwich, which is composed of several meats on a round Italian bread. Jeff says that the Central Grocery in the French Quarter is the place to go for "muff's." My favorites though are shrimp creole, gumbo and red beans and rice. Shrimp creole has a wonderful stew of spices and something that my wife makes just a few times a year.

Hungry yet? Then start surfing to find your next eating opportunity. Here are two spots out of several available: The New Orleans Virtual Dining Guide web site sets the right tone. They say: "In New York, eating is something you do before or after the play. In New Orleans, we go out to eat. That should explain how seriously we take our restaurants." Another good place to search for places on-line is Zagat's New Orleans guide.

Finally, if you have a chance to take a ride out to the Garden District, the St. Charles Streetcar is a nice way to do it. On the way you pass some great old homes, and while we are on the subject of restaurants there is always the Camellia Grill, located at 626 S. Carrollton Ave.


Back from lunch, I want to describe last night's speech by Bill Gates. I have been to a number of Bill Gates Keynotes. They sort of deserve the capital "K", what with all the industry attention on His Billness. However, the juxtaposition with Colin Powell drove home how nerdy our industry really is - while Bill and his crew gave good demo, his speech wasn't all that inspiring or thought provoking. Or even that funny - most of the laughs were during a short video that poked fun of our industry.

The video featured a view of the not-too-distant future, and what happens when having a fast modem becomes more of a teenage icon than having a fast car. Hearing "Daddy, I want my 28.8 for Christmas!" in a valley accent was a hoot, along with the "Born to Fund" biker venture capitalists featuring John Doerr and Ann Winblad in search of IPOs. Bill himself made an appearance at a meeting of Internet Addicts Anonymous, and "giving the gift of bandwidth" was another theme of the video. And we even were treated to Danny DeVito describing himself in a chat session: "I'm six foot one, blond, blue eyed and naked." What a concept. I want my own copy.

Bill was about 25 minutes late, and a restless audience gave the keynote an air of a sporting event. We had several "waves" go around the room while a crew of Microsoft staffers surrounded the podium, trying to get the demo together. Later, Charles Wang blamed it on hardware problems, joking that "You know what happens to hardware, given that we are all software people around here."

Perhaps comparing Gates and Powell is unfair, and others that I spoke to this morning disagreed with my assessment and liked the Gates speech more. We did see some pretty cool technology, however: an advance look at the new Explorer interface that offers concurrent and consistent views of one's desktop, file and print servers, and web servers all inside the same package. I think this is precisely the right direction for Microsoft to take: it builds on the notion that one's PC is just a portal to view information. Finally, we have the realization of the "information at your fingertips" theme that was trumpeted by Microsoft so many years ago. This unified user interface will make it very hard for someone not to use Windows in the near future.

We also saw a demonstration of how Unicenter TNG can manage NT servers and services, using a "social interface" to fly around the network and examine individual parts by clicking on pictures of the parts. "After all these years of talking about object orientation, here you see a key benefit, " said Bill. You could see a small smile cross his face when he said this - I wonder why. Indeed, he was quick to admit the benefits that CA brought to the party: "We don't do high end systems management, just like we don't do high end applications." I thought that was a nice touch.


One of the fun aspects of this job is hearing directly from the attendees at the show, and here are a few person-on-the-floor interviews. First up is Norman Son Kee, a CA partner from Toronto that does AccPac consulting. He was high on the Powell keynote too, and thought that Gates could have given us some insights into what he was like as a person. While I don't have a picture, you can view Norman's corporate home page here.

This being near the end of the show, you would think that people would be ready to clear out of here and head home: not true. Many of the attendees that I spoke to have been here since last Friday, and wish that there was more conference days - they just can't get enough of CA-World. Some examples:

We spoke to Chris Wright from Nashville, who came for the GEM conference and his second CA-World. He thought this show was better than last year's. "It is nice to have access to the developers, you just walk up to a booth and ask questions, and get lots of information," he said. He uses CA-Schedule products to automate job flows and spent his Saturday at the Unix introduction classes.

Bruce Whitinger of Troy, Mich. is here for his first time and attending the ADC conference. "I go to lots of conferences, such as Comdex and such, and this is the most inclusive - you have vendors, helpful sessions and lots of products. It is much more than I thought it would be and wished I had signed up for more training classes. Bruce is still recovering from the CA-Jun cookoff, having ate his way across the convention center last night.

Hans Douma from Provo, Utah has been to five previous conferences, and attending the CADRE portion of the show this year. "We are looking at porting some of our legacy mainframe applications to Unix and Ingres, and I am here to learn about how that works." Hans thought Gates' keynote was "too much marketing" and also here since last Friday. "They sure keep you busy - I'm worn out."

Charles Wierzbicki of Akron Ohio was disappointed --because the conference was cut short by a day! He spent his weekend at full-day classes on Jasmine and Java, and is interested in CA Visual Objects. "There is a lot more web-based information here this year than last," he said. This is his second conference, and he was at the TechiCon portion of the program.

My thanks to everyone who participated in these interviews - it was great to meet all of you. And my thanks to Jeff, Scott, Dan and the rest of the crew at the show to produce these pages. It was a lot of fun and we all learned a great deal . I hope to see you next year!

[And thank you for your reporting and for being great to work with! --CA Staff.]


About Roving Reporter

David Strom has written over 800 articles on computer networking, the Internet, and other technical topics for a wide variety of print trade magazines including Infoworld, Windows Sources, Forbes ASAP, Computerworld, PC Week, and Communications Week.

In 1990, he was the founding editor-in-chief of Network Computing magazine, and now has his own consulting business based in Port Washington, NY. He maintains two web sites: Web Informant ( for marketing and web commerce-related topics, and Web Compare ( for detailed features comparisons of web server software.

Photos by Scott Caliva Photography, New Orleans, LA.

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