This year I was fortunate enough that my work paid for me going to Tech.Ed 2006. What a time I had there! It was great.
The Tech.Ed welcome party was on Tuesday evening from 6:00 PM onwards. We rocked up there in the afternoon as my company had a booth in the exhibitors area. Soon I was caught by the security guards in the exhibitors area without a valid exhibitor pass and I had to stay out of that area doing not much for nearly 4.5 hours. I took this time to walk around George Street and around Darling Harbour.
The welcome party was quite funny for me but let me complain a bit before hand. Why is there not enough vegeterian food at these places compared to the amount of non-veg food they had. There was not much vegie food I could get my hands on. The funny bit for me was all the exhibitors trying to get their monies worth and trying to get as many people register at their stand as possible. There were these digital scanners which would be used to scan the pass that we had our details on it. So everybody was crazy scanning customer details so that they can use it later on.
Exhibitors were quite creative. One of the exhibitors was giving away hot pop corn for filling out a form with our details on. I heard CA was giving away a towel and then there were these usual raffle thingy which they raffle on Friday afternoon.
So to me welcome party was kinda OK but well I am sure exhibitors had nothing to complain about nor did the people who used this time to drink beer.
Wednesday morning was the time for the Keynote.
Frank Arrigo opened up the keynote. He was wearing his meego shirt :).
Ana who is a anthropologist spoke at the keynote about how Microsoft is listening to customers and getting things implemented into coming Microsoft products. Some of the stories that she touched on were heart felt. But overall I would give 5/10 for the keynote.
Then the rest of the day went attending sessions, doing hands on labs, checking things here and there. It was one busy day. I would say Thursday was the same too and so was most of the Friday. I tried Windows Longhorn Server which is in Beta 2 right now. I wish I could get my hands on that one.
Some of my thoughts on it are as belows: –
1) It is a great place to network with another people and to interact with people from Microsoft
2) Great venue to meet some of the guru’s in their respective domains
3) I wish something more can be done to get more networking happening with professionals. It is not simple for people not knowing others to go at looking at other people’s tags and see what their name is what company they work for. Something more organised can be done to get more networking happening.
Frank, I am all up for this. I can help you get something organised if you need me at the next event.
4) Hands on labs is an excellent idea and I think more emphasis can be added to it. More time should be alloted to the labs so students get a chance to do the labs when they are not attending sessions.
5) Free drinks is a great idea.
6) The bag that Microsoft gave this time is excellent as well, strong and will be serving me a lot.
7) We need notepad as part of the bag. We had pen but no notepad to write on 🙂
8) We can have some system networking challenge for IT Pro’s as well who are sys admins and engineers. Developers got a chance to prove themselves, I think sys admins need a chance too.
The good thing is I met quite a few people whom I would have never met otherwise. I met quite a few people who come from India, same state and same small town. That was amazing and exciting part for me. I met Alpesh Nakar (who rejoined ACS), Modi (ACS member too), Sadiq (who comes from Mumbai and works for Excom) and few other interesting people. Eric who is a trainer at Excom was fun too.
The last interesting bit at Tech.Ed 2006 was their lock note. It was just very interesting! I loved every minute of it and wished it could just go on and on.. But 40 minutes at lock note were 40 minutes well spent. I loved what Frank Soong had to say and show. Frank showed us demo of their research work. Frank Soong works for MSR in China. The demo’s he have about digital images and video were very great. I am looking forward to the time when such products come out. I am one of those photographers that Frank was talking about, whose pictures are almost always blury.
Lastly Frank showed us some statistics on Tech.Ed. The picture below says it all. 30000 bottle of drinks between nearly 3700 people in three days!
Although in the hands on live labs almost everybody was friendly and helpful, the guy in the picture below was a great help and always smiling. Thanks to him for all the help he offered and thanks to all the people who worked at keeping the labs going.
Overall, Frank Arrigo and team, it was an event well organised and I had heaps of fun. If given a chance, I will be at it again next year. Was any of my readers there at Tech.Ed too?