Back at work today after spending last week on the Gold Coast attending Microsoft's TechEd 2007 conference.
Generally the event lived up to my expectations that the Gold Coast is a really good venue and they know how to hold events for large numbers (all 2,500 of us).
The meals were all really nice - some very nice caramel slices for afternoon tea on Friday. Sometimes you had to hunt around, but they generally had multiple places to serve yourself from. Fortunately the weather was fine, so people could wander outside and spread out during the breaks.
We stayed at Broadbeach Pacific Resort, which was in easy walking distance to the Convention Centre. It's not the swishest place I've ever stayed in (that would be the Sydney Hilton), but it was just fine for our purposes.
The opening keynote was really interesting - a fascinating overview of digital movie and animation. I do like the idea that the keynotes can be a chance for someone from a bit outside the main conference demographic to present something that will interest or challenge people.
I wish I could say the same for the closing keynote (locknote) - it had potential, but unfortunately the presenter wasn't very engaging.
I also thought the complete lack of reaction (disappointed silence?) to the announcement that next year's event is back in Sydney was interesting. I was very disappointed with last year's event, and I'm not convinced that Sydney can match the Gold Coast for quality of venue.
- Seeing Nihkil Kothari in person (one of the original architects of ASP.NET)
- Joel Pobar with memorys and dynamic VB.NET
- Ron Jacobs demo the Presenter First pattern - I've been using MVP, but this might be better if it can work with ASP.NET
- Darryl Chantry on Interface Design Patterns (PhotoSynth video, Multi-touch interface design video)
- The lack of info about current/next sessions outside of each room - all it would have taken would be to print out a bunch of session names and distribute them - you don't need to have flatscreens, paper could do the job just fine.
- The insistence of the door-people of scanning every individual's badge. If all you want is a count of the number attending each session, then just use a counter. I object to unnecessary tracking of my personal choices.
Fortunately, after I complained to the conference organisers, they relented and allowed me to decline to have my badge scanned.
Most door people were fine with this, but there were still a couple who were not expecting me to say "No thankyou".