Monday, June 11, 2007

TechEd 2007: What an Awesome Week it Was!

One of the things I'd planned to do when I went to TechEd was blog, blog, blog. With people like Robert Scoble and the guys (and far too many others to mention; you know who you are) showing me the way, I figured I could handle it. I knew I'd be sitting around taking notes, listening to people talk; I'd not be crawling under desks, editing registries, replacing motherboards and fighting with malware the whole week, so I'd have plenty of time and energy for writing, right? NAIVE CONFERENCE NEWBIE ALERT! To be honest, the conference wore me out... or I wore myself out, or something.

I'm hoping I can salvage this opportunity; I'll be blogging everything a week late.

Day 0 (Sunday, June 3):

I thought I'd catch the trolley, ride around and see some of Orlando. Although I'd been there since Wednesday night, Thursday and Friday had been spent at Epcot, Magic Kingdom and MGM Studios (I rode a Segway! Yay!), and Saturday had been a day for staying off my aching, flat feet. When I left the hotel, my feet headed directly for the Orlando Convention Center. I thought I'd just get a peek at the Softies (do they mind being called that?) getting the playground ready. I'm glad my feet took over, because I ended up getting my badge and bag that day.

I didn't hurry away, but I did eventually get my trolley rides.

Day 1: (Monday, June 4)

I couldn't stay in bed; it was time to go! Totally against character, I'd laid clothing, technology and other items the night before, so it was just a matter of scooping everything up after I'd made myself presentable.I met some nice folks at the breakfast; we tried to guess what we'd missed out on by being government employees (government employee bags were segregated from the others). I later found out it was a minimum of a t-shirt and an Office Ultimate 2007 giveaway (we can't win anything worth more than 25 bucks). I reminded myself that I was there because I was a government employee, so I was already a winner.

The keynote was a shocker for this noob. Do they often have Hollywood actors and ride Deloreans onto the stage?

Bob Muglia and a host of others spoke. No, I still haven't bought a good camera.

And then the sessions began. Oh, boy, talk sexy tech to me! First on my list was getting my Groove on; I'm still sore at myself for missing out on the pre-conference Groove talk on Sunday.

Other sessions I attended:

  • The Proliferation of Mobile PCs in the Enterprise and the Impact to IT

  • Accelerating End-User Success with the 2007 Microsoft Office Client Release

  • Structured Content Authoring Using the 2007 Microsoft Office System and XML (I didn't choose it; it was way over my head!)

I also hit the Microsoft booths often. In fact I ran into Craig Pringle at the User Productivity booth; does that seem odd? They did have three Q1s (including an Ultra), an OQO,a Gateway E155C, a SideShow device and a demo Fujitsu that couldn't actually be used.

(Thanks for the photo, Sarah!)

Having the understanding that Birds of a Feather sessions would be going on into the evening, and that most people at the conference were attending on employer funds, the newby wasn't prepared for what came next: beer at the Partner Expo Reception. I just... didn't... know. I was truly in shock -- culture shock. Fortunately, there were sedatives available. After a dose and hitting the booths, I wondered how I could hie myself away to TechEd 2008.

Only the threat of having to walk to my hotel alone in the dark could pry me away...well that and they were closing up the Expo. I opted to skip the social event and head to the hotel to compose and submit my required daily report of my experience (and get ready for the next day!).