Tech Ed 2008 - Day 1

Tech Ed Day 1


It’s hot in Orlando. Real hot. Extremely hot. Lightning and flash storms also seem to be normal out here.

The city itself feels relatively new and had a boom the last decade as most of the buildings seem like they were recently built.

The Orange County Conference Center (the OCCC) is insanely huge. The conference floor is also so big it takes about 5 to 10 minutes to walk from one end to the other.


Monday was Day 0 and we went to check out the conference center, set up our machine, and check in with registration.


Tuesday was Day 1. Mariano, Gearard, and I hopped on a bus at 7:30am and got to the conference a little before 8:00am. We made our way to the meal area and as we entered the main hall, we saw a huge line. First I thought it was the meal line but then realized it was a line to get into the keynote. Bill Gates would be presenting his last keynote as a Microsoft full time employee and it seems some people got up really early just to get a good seat.


We had breakfast and waited about 20 minutes for the line to get smaller before we joined in and entered the keynote area. The keynote area itself was massive and about 3000 to 4000 people were there that morning.


The keynote started out well as Bill showed us the Director’s cut of the video – “Bill’s last day at Microsoft”. A few additional clips were added so look for it when it gets on soapbox or youtube.


We saw some cool development tool demos using silverlight by Soma, some tool integration from Brian Harry, and some data layer tools from someone in SQL who I can’t remember right now J Mariano and I had to leave the keynote early to get to our booth and prepare for the massive exodus of the attendees from the keynote to lecture hall. We were right in the middle so as the stampede came by, we were chatting with them, explaining what “extensibility” meant and giving away our cool pens.


Other teams and partners had cool swag. I saw a talking frog, a really powerful mini flashlight, a slinky, and one partner even brought a “booth babe” to the event.


I was pleasantly surprised that we had a lot of interest in extensibility and even had a lot of attendees come with problems or questions. I fielded a few deployment questions, had one customer (former MS employee) complain about PLKs, then complain more about PLKs, and a lot of random questions about the shell. It seems a lot of people had heard about the shell but wasn’t sure what it was.


We had the World of Warcraft Add in Studio demo playing on one of the monitors and that also drew a lot of interest.


I did two shifts today, a total of 7 hours standing and talking to attendees. I think we had a few hundred people stop by to chat, take a pen, and learn more about Visual Studio extensibility.


We also talked about our VSX conference that is happening in Sept and there was a lot of interest in that as well. Our $100 price tag was considered extremely cheap to all the attendees J


One of the coolest parts was to meet some of the VSIP partners at their booths and when they stopped by. It was great to see people really using our product and getting excited about extending Visual Studio.


The oddest question I got was someone asking me where he could charge his cell phone as it just died.


I’m hoping tomorrow will be just as exciting.