I just finished two days of Open XML workshops here in Nairobi, and had a great time. Kenya has a rapidly evolving software scene that was fun to see firsthand. These guys asked some questions I've never heard before, and pushed me to try some things in front of the group that I'd never tried. (All Open XML-related, of course!) Some worked, some didn't, but it was a good learning experience for all of us.
We had some attendees from the SC34 technical committee here that's reviewing the Open XML spec, and there were also some attendees who decided to get involved this week. It's great to see people with deep technical expertise and interest in the details getting involved in the standards process -- that can only make the resulting ISO standard even better.
Coincidentally (or perhaps not), IBM's local office had sent a bunch of Open XML material to members of the technical committee over the weekend, including lots of links to the Open Malaysia blog, links to IBM lobbyists, links to the contradiction comments that were filed by Kenya and other countries, and so on. I'm not sure whether all those emails helped anyone else, but they certainly helped me fine-tune some of my presentations this week.
My colleague Emmanuel Birech, who did a great job of organizing these workshops over at Torque IT, invited the local IBM rep to our workshop but apparently his schedule didn't allow him to attend. That's unfortunate, because he missed some good Q&A. He also missed my demonstration of Open XML's modular architecture, which allows for quick and reliable removal of metadata and other undesired content.
It's frustrating to come all the way to Kenya and not have much time for R&R, but we did get out to nearby Nairobi National Park for a quick tour late Sunday afternoon. Here are a few photos ...