It's hard to believe that a week ago I was at CFUNITED. CFUNITED09 was easily my favorite yet - despite being extremely exhausting. I had a grand total of 7 sessions to present (4 unique ones) but all in all, it was worth it. One of the New Years Resolutions I had for myself this year was to try to give new presentations and I had 3 at CFUNITED that were 100% new. (And technically my jQuery one was kind of new since I had to shrink it down to 2 hours.) In no particular order, here are some high points for me:

Location: I have to admit - I love DC, so I was sorry to see it leave the city. But Leesburg was beautiful and so was the location. These pictures don't really do it justice. Every darn year I promise myself I'm going to take a crap load of pictures and every year I end up with just a handful. But to give you an idea - this was the typical view every morning...

Yeah - that's a pretty horrible picture. Sorry. The hotel itself was very nice and easy to get around in. My favorite feature of any conference is the speed of 'hotel room to session' and in this case I could get back in forth in around 5 minutes. I'll take convenience like that over luxury any day.

Sessions: Well, I only attended a few this year - which is pretty typical for me. I loved Josh Adam's iPhone development session. Not enough people are looking at the platform and I highly encourage folks to check out his presentation in the future. (It will be at the Unconference @ MAX!) Jeff Tapper's "What NOT to do in Flex" was also very cool. I'm definitely past Flex 101 and I'd kill to see more sessions like this. I know there were more at CFUNITED but I didn't do a good job of actually getting to them. I won't make that mistake next year.

Oh - and Intergral? I hate you. Stop showing off that damn new product of yours (FusionAnalytics). I want it - and I want it now. Stop teasing me! If I don't get a beta soon I'm going to spread rumors that you secretly code in PHP.

Keynote: The second day keynote by Joe Rinehart... it was perfect. Joe - your message was inspirational. As much as I love my job, my blogging, my coding, it is easy to get discouraged at times. Your presentation was a great lift up to the community and a strong call to arms for us to really push ColdFusion.

Hair: What other conference features Jim and the coolest hair ever?

Food: Ok, so not the most important aspect, but the food was great, and plentiful. I don't think there was ever a time when coffee and snacks were not available. I especially liked the "Really Strong Coffee" (yes, one coffee carafe was marked as 'Really Strong' - if I remember right).

Awards: The 2009 Community Achievement Awards was pretty darn nice, but I hate to say that as I'm a bit biased. Thank you to everyone who voted for me - it was an incredible honor. As a winner - I'm probably biased, but I really appreciate Todd Sharp's efforts in this event. Sure, it may be a bit of self-love (um, did I say that) but frankly, I like to see folks get recognition. I've always felt the MAX Awards were a bit... separated from those of us in the community. This is no slight on any of the winners (one of my former employers was a winner) but it just never felt quite as personal to me as these. Again - I'm biased - but hey, I bet others agree with me here.

Stellr: Liz, Nafisa, and everyone else who helped out - you guys gave a great conference. Thank you for inviting me. I hope this means a bright future for Stellr!

So... that's it for 2009. I'm already looking forward to 2010. I hope to see many more people there next year.