Here are some final thoughts on my experiences at Tech Ed 2008:
Orlando is one of the better venues for Tech Ed if you have family that wants to come along.
A little spread out but with the bus routes, you’re never waiting more than 15 minutes to go from A to B
The weather sure is hot in June! But fortunately the conference center was very well air conditioned
Regarding the party:
The all-you-can-eat food is always a hit with me
It was a perfect evening, the weather cooperated
Most of the rides were shut down, and the ones that were open had 30+ minute waits (not good for a 3 hr party)
The extra $110 per ticket was disgusting. They know we bring our families, why make us pay through the nose (I didn’t)? I purchased a 7 day pass for my wife and two daughters for a grand total of $140. That’s only $30 more than a 3 hour pass for a one night, one ticket cost.
MS, if price is such a concern for the party and you have to cut back like you did, please do something different next time- throw a nice party at the conference center.
Regarding the content:
Overall I was happy with the content. Most of the sessions I went to achieved the purpose of getting me motivated to dig deeper.
I also felt like I got caught up on many of the latest and greatest trends- Silverlight, Entity framework, MVC pattern (gag), Silverlight, Sharepoint.*, etc. and also some good tips / tricks on existing technology. Overall I thought the balance was pretty good of new vs. current technology. There was something for everyone.
Kudos to the “multi-modal” learning opportunities. Traditional sessions, hands on labs, the new interactive theaters, birds of feather sessions, one-on-one with product managers / mvp’s / experts, etc. Again, something for everyone.
I went to a few good sessions later Thursday and got to talk one-on-one with a product manager (Kathy Kam) on the Silverlight team on Friday morning. She went through her presentation with me (as a dry run) and I got the benefit of hearing her talk and expertise directly. That really made me appreciate why Tech Ed is truly a great conference and that Microsoft truly does care about helping and listening to developers.
It’s always great to get to catch up with others that are passionate about community and have similar interests. I spent a lot of time in the INETA community area and got to talk to other UG leaders, people on the speakers bureau, MVP’s, etc. We had some good times chatting, and there was also something pretty funny that happened the last day (I won’t get into that here)
In summary I definitely encourage anyone who is learning Microsoft technologies or wanting to get ramped up on the new stuff coming out to consider Tech Ed. I heard a lot of people talking about being overloaded with all the info- that is a good thing. For me, It was a nice break from the grind, but I think I am probably about done with Tech Ed unless I get invited to present there in the future. I will probably stick to community events.