October 17, 2010 — The Gartner Symposium, Day 1 One of the duties of the CIO is to attend conferences and meetings which are applicable to the position. Once again I find myself at the Gartner Symposium / Itxpo at Orlando. This is a regular trek for me and usually quite profitable. For me the week begins on Sunday afternoon with the Higher Education meetings. This is the first year with my new Thinkpad. I recently replaced my X61 with an X201. This also coincided with my switch from Windows XP to Windows 7. I cheated a bit and have Ubuntu Lucid Lynx as a boot option on the laptop. So while I was supposed to be paying attention to the first session I was fiddling with the laptop connectivity. I'm torn between taking the time to work through the niggling issues with Windows 7 and the public wireless availability, and what is rapidly apparent as the superior connectivity of Ubuntu. With Windows 7, you log in and have that interminable wait while it looks at the available networks and makes a recommendation. Ubuntu says, “Here are the networks, make your selection.” And then it connects. It also seems to be more forgiving of those slow, weak or intermittent links. As part of my job, I try to keep up with technology and evaluate desktop trends. So, I consider it my duty to get comfortable and familiar with Windows 7 so I can properly represent it to our users. But I'm happier here typing this article on Open Office Writer under Ubuntu. Not that Writer is better than Word, because it's not. But the total package is more productive. I installed Virtual Box and can run Windows XP with VPN when I need that functionality. I also have Microsoft Office installed on the VM, and it works very well. So, as I go through the conference, I plan to report on interesting things I've seen as well as my technology experiences.