Things are going well at Tech Ed, I’m pretty pleased. This is the 7th Tech Ed that I’ve been to, but the first one in a few years.
Here is a brief summary of the first few days at Tech Ed.
Day 0 – INETA Summit. I got to meet up with some old friends, and met a few new ones. Lots of good conversations about running user groups and what some of the current challenges are. We also talked about code camps, Day of .NET, codemash, etc. and shared some of our experience for the events. I was pretty pleased overall
Day 1 – Keynote & Sessions. Got to sit through Bill Gates last keynote while a full time employee at Microsoft. The highlight of they keynote was the “ballmer bot” – a two-wheeled robot that said “Developers, Developers, Developers”. It was pretty cool. I also enjoyed the silverlight portion- and the announcement that 2.0 should be released by end of week.
Day 2 – spent some time at a few sessions. Ramping up on silverlight internals. I also spent a lot of time in some of the community areas, including MVP, INETA, and Zune which were all in the same area. I’m really impresed with the 80 GB Zune model and think I will probably get one.
Day 3- went to a ASP.NET performance session, and hit a scrum session in the AM. Both very good sessions- the scrum session got a little specific on tools (using Visual Studio Team System) but gave me a few ideas on what others are doing on scrum projects. Interesting statistic mentioned- using scrum on average is 6 times more productive than traditional waterfall.
What I really like about Tech Ed this year:
Birds of a Feather sessions (BOF)- put on by community volunteers (eg. INETA). Great interaction and the content is good.
“Theater” sessions- kind of like a BOF but a little more formal and presentation oriented. I’m really digging them though the seating was too limited for the session I went to. The audio was also weak. The theater session reminds me a lot of a user group presentation- a more intimate crowd. One thing to be weary of is the one or two people that want to hijack the presentation based on their specific questions or “expertise”. This can also happen in a BOF but I think its up to the presenters to ensure that this doesn’t happen.
Community area- always a great way to get one-on-one interaction if you have specific questions. I really enjoyed talking with the developers at the Zune booth. You get some really good info, or provide direct feedback when you can talk to product managers or even developers (SQL booth).
Overall layout of how the convention center is set up is good. Most of my time spent is in the “big cavern” between the north and south sections. Most of the sessions are on the south side, so I’m not having to walk back and forth all day.
Breakfast / Lunch variety. The food has been pretty good. No complaints. I haven’t got sick on anything yet either.
What I don’t like as much about Tech Ed this year:
No bottled water. You have to go up to these jugs of water and use a plastic cup to drink out of. The intent is good- protect the environment- but the reality is, it’s a royal pain to find water and that’s about all I drink.
The grazing stations are non-existant. I’ve yet to see cookies, popcorn, fruit etc. actually stocked at the white tables near the session rooms. This has “cut backs” written all over it.
Not as many vendors, and most of the give-aways are “must be present to win”. With the split of developer and IT pro this year, the bulk of the vendors are not getting here until next week, or so I’m told. Boo! The vendors that are here for the developer week are not bad but just not what I’m used to in terms of pomp, swag, and fun.
Theme. There doesn’t really seem to be much of a theme this year, or if there is I’m missing it. At past Tech Ed’s I can remember themes (windows DNA for example). It’s probably because there is just soo much technology out there now. Even the key note didn’t seem to themed- it had about 4-5 different areas it covered.
I’ll post more updates later.