It’s been a long time since I have attended a Microsoft TechEd conference. Actually the last one I went to was in Orlando, FL in 2005! Usually I’m unable to go because the company I work for is not able to afford it. This year is no different, but I was able to hook up with Microsoft and “volunteer” in the VB.NET/C# booth in exchange for my ticket (more on that later). So like the last time I went, I thought I’d write down a daily account of my TechEd experience.
My day started off very late in the morning because I have been feeling under the weather. I had to go to the speaker room to pick up my shirts to work on the floor in the VB.NET/C# booth. I picked up my shirts and was dieing for some coffee. I asked the lady behind the table if I could grab a cup and she said NO! It’s for speakers only. I told her I am leading a Birds of Feathers session but she still refused. It’s not like any of the speakers were even getting coffee! Dang, what a way to treat a volunteer and someone running a session.
I was just in time for lunch which featured dry chicken. Yummy! LOL I had a very interesting discussion with a guy from an insurance company. Told me about the major internal application his company is converting from DB2 and Cobal to SQL Server and C#. Told me of their challenges of keeping both systems running during the transition. They have had 20 developers working on this project for three years now and they are just about to go live.
I decided to hit the vendor area before it got too crazy. Since I am a director of the San Diego .NET Developers Group, I hit up as many vendors for support including swag I can use for our raffle. So far this year all vendors are very supportive.
Then it was time for my first shift at the VB.NET/C# booth. Today my first booth mate was the very famous and TechEd speaker Scott Cate. Unfortunately, traffic was very slow. I don’t think we talked to 5 people during our 2:15 – 6:00 shift. Made for a very long and boring shift. At least Scott brought his computer and worked on his talk for Tuesday.
During our booth duty, someone from Microsoft came over and informed Scott and I that the pants we were wearing were not acceptable! I now kindly refer to her as the “Pants Natzi”. Both of us were wearing black jeans, not black khaki. Like geeks even care. Scott said he brought another pair, but I did not. I told her they said black pants and that was all I had. She said I had to go to Macy’s and get a pair or they would not let me work (volunteer) the next day!!! I could not believe my ears. So I left the day early, went to Macy’s and found only one pair of black khaki’s that would even fit me (I’m 6′ 4″) for the hefty cost of $81! So if you want to stop by the booth this week and donate to my pants fund… the first person that does will get a copy of my latest book!
I learned that there are only 5,000 attendees this year, down from around 12,000. Out of those, there are only about 2,000 or less of developers.
After the conference I went to Geek Fest held at Lucky Strikes Lanes. Wow, I have never been to a bowling alley like this. It’s more of a night club with the hottest waitresses and bartenders you have ever seen! Very fun place complete with pool tables, two bars, DJ and lots of lounging areas.
My day ended with coming back to my hotel craving some real food! After a crappy conference lunch and finger food at the party I needed a good meal. Surprisingly, at my small hotel called The Orchid Hotel, I had a very good steak and fries meal. Perfect to boost my energy for the second day tomorrow.