Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Tech Ed 2008 Day 1

So let me start by backing up a little. We started our trip to Florida Friday evening. We started the trip out with plans to break up the driving into two days. We figured we could drive until about 1 or 2 am and get somewhere between Charleston and Savannah. We ended up about 70 miles past Savannah before I started getting tired. Rebecca woke from her sunder and expressed that she was ready to sleep in a bed instead of a moving car as well. We stopped at the first available hotel. Days Inn… it seemed nice enough despite the only half-lit Days Inn sign in the parking lot. Take that as a sign from now on. The room smelled horrible, I felt as though I might actually need to use my pistol that I brought along as opposed to simply provided me confidence and peace of mind, there was a hole in the comforter, the pillows looked like they hadn’t really been cleaned… must I go on. I offered to drive to the next exit with a hotel, but Rebecca was beyond the point of caring so we called it a night and camped out in this dump. I’ll never call upon a Days Inn for a nights stay ever again. Starting early the next morning we continued our trip to Sanibel Island in southern Florida.

Crossing only the island we both looked forward to an acceptable place to rest our heads. We pulled into the Song of the Sea on the island and were both very satisfied with what we saw… allow me to digress… in a similar way to Jake’s previous blog about his wife crossing the room not so much in her clothes my wife just came in and asked me to put some tanning lotion on her back with not even that much on… Ok Tech Ed... Tech Ed… Tech Ed… must focus; Ok, where was I? Oh yes, so the Song of the Sea was a very pleasing sight for both of our eyes. Nice rooms, with a ceiling fan I might add, and a wonderful sea side view of the Gulf. Sanibel Island is known for its shells as it is situated with East to West coasts as opposed to North to South coasts which allow for more shells to be pushed ashore.

Picture of shells at Sanibel Island

We enjoyed our few days there before heading north to Orlando. So now to the topic at hand.

So day one of Tech Ed 2008 is nearing a close and how was it might you ask… so far so good; well, excluding the swag of course, but more on that later. The day started out this morning with opening by Bill Gates. I showed up about an hour before the presentation to try to get a good seat for pictures and apparently everyone else had the same idea. I would estimate that there were already 5000 people in the room when I showed up. I suppose everyone wanted the front seats. Thank goodness for telephoto lenses. It turns out his 2 year notice runs out on July first of this year. At this time, Bill will give up his standing position of Chairman and focus primarily on his humanitarian work around the world. It was a pretty uneventful Key Note presentation. It turns out that this will be one of his last public appearances before his withdraw from Microsoft. It was a strait forward presentation on what Bill sees as the future changes and challenges to come. There are plenty online pages where you can read synopsis on his presentation so I’ll save that for you. But if you’d like to try the links at you may be able to see the entire presentation. If so, you’ll have better luck than I had, I couldn’t get them to work. A good synopsis is located here. I was surprised to see that at the end of the presentation there was a Q&A session with Bill. It took me about 5 minutes to think of a question worthy of standing up in front of this crowd to ask Bill. Well, I was second or third in line when they ended the session so I missed my moment to ask one of the richest men in the world a question. O’well, almost my moment of fame.

The closest I'll probably ever be to Bill Gates

So after this point it was session after session… all day long. But getting back to my swag comment from earlier, let me just say that as an attendee of last year’s Tech Ed, this year’s swag is lacking. All the typical stuff, T-Shirts, flying monkeys, pens, carabineers, and … well that’s about it. No really, nothing else. No motorcycle giveaways no bit 25 K giveaways, anything to that level. There was a remote control helicopter that was given away at 8pm on the first day. But that was about tops. Since Tech Ed is now broken into two weeks, one for developers and the other for IT Professionals, I’ll assume the most likely possibility is that most of the better swag is on hold for the IT Professionals next week. There’s not even nearly the same number of vendors this year. So that’s got to be a factor as well. Anyways, it was cool to see Bill up close and in person and to get the conference started. I definately crammed in some classes today. There are about 7000 people here and this place is huge to walk around in. Plenty of learning about SharePoint going on. Oh and before I forget to mention it, Becca picked supper Monday evening and she chose a dinner/show. Arabian Knights it was. It actaully was a really good who for the price (which included an Eastman discount). It came out to about $50/person for VIP treatment. Good show, good supper, and good time.

Picture from the dinner/show Arabian Knights

I’m now sitting in day two of Tech Ed so I’ll try to make a post tonight if anything interesting occurs today. Until then, be good but have fun doing it.