Microsoft Convergence 2011 Atlanta - Day 2 cont.

David Meego - Click for blog homepage

After the general sessions it was time for lunch. The queues to the food hall looked a bit big at the start of the lunch break, so Mariano and I decided to wander around the Expo hall to see what was there. At the GPUG booth, I caught up with (ex Great Plains employee) Jane Olson who now works for The Partner Channel. It is always great to catch up with old friends.

Before it got too late and they stopped serving lunch, we left the Expo and went in search of food..... <hunter gatherer mode> ugh me hungry ugh need food ugh </hunter gatherer mode>.  Okay, it was a geek joke. Sorry, I promise there will not be any more for this <p/>.

The logistics of feeding over 9,000 people is quite amazing.  Assuming that not everyone comes to eat at the same time during the 2 hour window, the number of tables needed is still huge. The photo below shows about a quarter of the total size of the food hall. 

If you look closely at the very center of this picture you will see a blue sign (just to the left of the pillar in the distance).  This is where I have to go to procure a meal that should be free of artificial Flavour Enhancers (like MSG: Mono Sodium Glutamate).  Mariano complains that I am being troublesome, but trust me avoiding chemicals that send you straight to the bathroom before you will be presenting a concurrent session makes very good sense. Nuff said, no more details needed!!!! :-)

Mariano and I had already spent a whole day prior to the conference changing the style of the Support Debugging Tool session.  Well, over lunch we discussed another idea that Mariano had to change things again.  I liked the idea and when we discussed it over lunch with our friend Sheila Jefferson-Ross, she said we should go ahead and make the change.

After lunch, Mariano and I went back to the Speaker Room and actually did a "dry run" of our session to check that we were not going to run out of time, which is what often happened with our sessions in the past. We have so much we can discuss and demonstrate, but really have to have self discipline so that we can give just the best bits within the limited time available.

Finally, the time had come to present the first of our two CSGP14 Administering Microsoft Dynamics GP Like a Pro with the Support Debugging Tool sessions.  The room was a good size and the turn out was fantastic.  There were only a few seats left with 251 attendees scanned as they came in.

See Mariano's Post for the other half of the room.

In my blog posts and at previous conference sessions I have mentioned Tim Tams(made by Arnott's in Australia) and the Tim Tam Slam. I realised that a lot of people had no idea what I was talking about and so just before the session got started, I explained how the "Slam" works. Here is a quick summary (for pics also check out this post from the Tech Conference):

  1. Nibble off both ends of the biscuit to remove the chocolate. This makes a straw as the biscuit (cookie) portion is porous.
  2. Suck a hot drink (coffee or hot chocolate) through the Tim Tam "straw" until the liquid gets to your mouth.
  3. Very quickly, suck/push the biscuit into your mouth before it disintegrates. This creates a chocolate explosion in your mouth.
  4. Hesitate and you will have a chocolate explosion all over your mouth, hands, clothing etc.

This is an amazing way to eat "The most indulgent chocolate biscuit", and it is always fun to watch when someone messes up (literally).

We ended up giving away Tim Tams to attendees that asked questions. I have some Tim Tams left for the repeat of this session on Wednesday... make sure you come if you missed the Monday session.

So then it was time to get started on the session itself. Well, to say that the session went awesomely is an understatement.  Mariano and I were thrilled with the reception from the attendees and are happy that our changes from previous presentations were well received.  We demonstrated many of the features of the tool and showed how they could solve real issues that administrators and consultants face.

We were also using the latest Build 15 beta build of the Support Debugging Tool and so were able to show off some of the features that will be coming soon. Even though we answered many questions during the session, when we finished we had a huge number of people come and talk to us and ask further questions.

After another 15 to 20 minutes we had spoken to everyone who had additional questions and it was time to pack up and leave.  Mariano and I had a chance to talk with Leslie and Sheila to see what feedback they had and to work out what we can improve on for the next session. Thanks goes to Leslie and Sheila for helping us make our sessions better and better each time we present them. 


We finished the day by relaxing for a while at the Expo Reception before retiring back to the hotel for a relatively early night (ie. before midnight). :-)


If you go to the Virtual Convergence website the session is now available:

If you attended this session (and we know who you are as we have photos), please make sure you complete your evaluation.  If you want Mariano and I to come back for future conferences, we need your feedback.