Day 4 SAP TechEd 2019: Speaking

I started with actual sleeping for most of the night. My wife is ill, and she is at a hazard to fall, so any noise while asleep wakes me with a start. Combine that with the unique hot and cold AC in use at The Palazzo, and it can be a tough night, and it was the previous night. This night I managed to sleep most of the night with only a few door slams walking me from some of the early raising folks at 5 and 6. The AC stabilized at freezing and I slept buried in the covers. I awoke without headache and feeling rested.

Which was excellent as today I had my challenging presentation. I was presenting how to code Python for ABAP-ers (ABAP being the special software language used by the SAP company) and why it was important for ABAP-er to learn Python. For the presentation, I had written a group of demo programs that went from a basic Monte Carlo generation of Pi–it was better than a yet-another-hello-world program–to a full-blown Machine Learning demonstration Pythonic program. All the code runs in a virtual Linux Cloud9 server in a western AWS cloud. I also brought a microPython device, the Amazing Fez, a fez from a costume that uses a wearable microprocessor, LCD display,  and GPS all coded in Python to create an amazing display.

So I did the normal start for a morning and then headed to the speaker ready room. There a hot breakfast is served and more importantly are copies of the hardware I would use for my presentation. I needed to practice and check that everything worked.

I had breakfast with some SAP folks that I knew from past meetings. They chatted while I ate quickly and then headed to the laptops. I turned on the Amazing Fez which got me some attention from the technical support team of SAP for presenters. They loved the Fez. I showed them Adafruit’s Playground Express that is the basis for the hat. I brought one to hand around, so they looked at that.


Everything worked perfectly. I was able to logon to AWS and bring up my development environment with all the Python ready to use. This inside of the SAP network! I thanked SAP technical support! Actually, I was so excited I got up too fast and knocked over my chair and said: “that the computers work, but I forgot how to use a chair.” That got the German equivalent to an eye-roll–they ignored me. My powerpoint was there even with the typos which I left alone–don’t start editing two hours before your presentation. Accept what you have an use it. Fix it for the next use, if there is another.

I then went over the presentation and did everything in my head and brought up every program and ran each one while thinking about what to say and how it would fit the audience. I learned that the laptop was just as hard to use as my new one (they are the same brand) and practiced moving some windows around–my laptop sucks. To make this an excellent experience for the audience and to be able to handle questions and unexpected glitches, I need the rehearsals and practice.

Now I had to do this on the real laptop in the large room with a mic. So with an hour to go, I headed up to the room to see what I would need to do. I was the first speaker in the room even though it was a 10:30 presentation. So I found the room and set-up. Again, all the servers connected and the powerpoint, with typos, was there ready to use. Excellent!


(my classes is near the bottom of the list)

The support staff was happy to see a speaker forty-five minutes early and that I had set-up and the projector was running my the powerpoint entry slide. I then went off and tried to wait. The worst part for me.

I then met more staff, and they got me a wireless mic–the same I always use–and asked me when to let folks in. There was a line! It was standing room by the time I started. We let people in early.

Folks came twenty minutes early, so I took questions! I answered questions like where did the Swoosh come from, and is the company’s motto “Just Do It.” I pointed out the guy with three stripe shoes on, and he took the ribbing with a smile and suggested I should bring replacements next presentation. I passed around the microPython hardware and turned on the Amazing Fez.

I stated on time to a full room. The presentation went well with many questions, and some folks in the audience answer a few for me. I finished on time. I got two sets of applause. I asked for applause after I did the live demo, and everything was perfect. All the computer folks knew that was taking a risk. They also appreciated that all the code was MIT license and free and available to be used as they wish.

I found that I had used “dockers” and not “docker” in one slide. Dockers are pants. Docker is a computer virtualization product. It got a laugh as I pointed that mistake out. Just have to roll with the typos.

The room cleared out fast–folks had hands-on to get too.

I demurred when after the presentation, a man identified himself as working for a training company in Australia and wanted me to fly, at their cost, to Australia to give the same presentation. He will email me. I met others later in the day, and all were happy with the presentation.  This includes the guy I ribbed about his shoes, and he said he loved the presentation and will do some Python Machine Learning now. Another guy from Catapiller said the same thing. So I guess it went well.

I went to the floor to walk and clear my head. There I meet an old friend, Lonnie Luehmann, who built Nike’s first SAP data warehouse. He works for SAP now and he gave me some trinkets, towels with SAP logo. We talked about old times and how our families are doing and how he and his wife miss Oregon and Nike. He gave me a towel to give to Michael G.

Lunch followed, again in the speaker room–Michael G found me there and gave him the towel. After lunch Michael G and Peter Keller and others had a presentation on Migration. I collected emails for them while the presented went on. We want to obtain the emails of folks interested in the subject to meet again later.


(Michael G after finishing his presentation)

I then attended a rather disorganized presentation on change control but then meet some more old SAP friends, Boris. Again, I volunteered to help SAP better understand our needs for change control and automated change control. It is so nice to see these folks!

Then more hands-on classes. I was a walk-in and thus got there 30 minutes early, so I was first in line. I already had three hands-on reserved so I must wait and fill any remaining seats of hands-on sessions after the reserved seats are filled. I do not usually get a front-row seat as a walk-in, but it was the last hands-on and folks bailed on it, so I enjoyed the front row. In this session, I explored building a computer workflow to control updating business partner from a generated event from the S/4 HANA accounting system. Technology has changed and this was much easier than I expected. I had a glitch at the end, but it was close enough for me.

Three hours for dinner is a long time. We had the customer dinner tonight and for reasons best left unexplored the food took hours to deliver. Mine was not hot. A couple of glasses of wine and taste of a few desserts took the sting out of the long night. Thank you SAP for dinner!


So not a bad day.

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