Friday was a pretty good day. Some good talks from Mitch on extending Team Foundation Server, and a really interesting final session on Concurrency from Joel Pobar.
The closing keynote ("locknote") was by Dr Frank Soong. He showed some really impressive image and video algorithms that Microsoft Research have been developing. Some pretty smart guys are working there I think.
Next year will be back at the Gold Coast, and I get the impression that I'm not the only one who was a bit disappointed with a few of the things this year. I'm optimistic that they'll do a much better job in Queensland in 2007.
Hopefully they can also get rid of those ridiculous barcode scanners that made us all feel like sheep when ever we entered one of the sessions.
I flew back to Adelaide this morning, and while I enjoyed the conference, it is really nice to be back home with the family again.
As I'm staying with family instead of a Hotel with the rest of the guys from work, I have noticed that I'm not seeing as much of the other Adelaide guys as I normally would.
Some really good presentations today. I managed to end up in four sessions that Scott Guthrie was leading. Pretty much everything I'd been hoping for. I was especially impressed that he stayed long after the specified end time for his talk about LINQ to answer questions from the audience.
I also had some nice chats with Rob today, and he kept introducing me to interesting people and offering me to fly interstate to do my IPsec and Connection Pooling talks at their user groups! I'd be happy to go, but I suspect they'd want a bit more than a 10-15 minute talk from an interstate presenter.
The low point today would have to have been the "party" night. I would have hoped that the organised would have learned from the last Brisbane conference when we got bussed off to a night-club. Tonight at least it was just a short walk from the convention centre, but why they figure 2,500 delegates would want to all cram into a pokey, noisy nightclub is beyond me. I'll admit I'm not a "clubbing" kind of guy at the best of times, and maybe a lot of people like this kind of thing. However it did seem to me that a reasonable number of people were leaving very early.
Last year was probably the best social night I've attended - at least at Movie World you could spread out a bit, plus the catering was excellent and if you wanted to go on a ride so you could throw up and enjoy the food a second time, then why not!It's just a pity they couldn't repeat the effort this year.
The venue (Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre) is quite good. It's a pleasant walk from Town Hall Train Station, so it is quite convenient, and the location is very pretty at Darling Harbour.
Food - In a word, "Below Average". Well that's two words, but you get the idea. I've been to quite a few Tech-Ed conferences now (missed the first one in Sydney, and the Canberra one), so I've seen how a number of different venues perform. At least they are generous in putting out a lot of the stuff, but I'm getting tired of little meat pies (served for morning teas and for lunch). Haven't they heard of cakes and slices?
Audio/Video - The Keynote was let down by the video of the presenter being really out of synch with the audio. It isn't rocket science, and it can't be the first time they've done this. I also noticed that one of the breakout rooms also had very echo-ey sound - a bit like a bathroom, which just detracts from the whole experience.
Keynote - This was by Anne Kirah - a Cultural Anthropologist who works for Microsoft MSN. She had some interesting stories to tell about how "real" users (eg. regular people) use software and how Microsoft is trying to become more "people focused", rather than "technology focused".
Apart from that, the speakers were good, and there was some interesting stuff.
The original plan was for the family to drive over to Sydney, but my Dad ended up having a major back operation scheduled for Monday, so we thought it would be best to hang around to see how that went instead.
Fortunately, work was happy for me to fly over instead, but it has meant that our planned holiday and catching up with family in NSW will be postponed until later in the year.
The flight was good, and I'm still staying with the in-laws as originally planned, so I'm being looked after very well :-)
You might argue that this is 3 years late, but at least they finally released a service pack for Visual Studio 2003.
Apparently, the service pack for 2005 is due later this year - and not before time too - while the features of the new environment are fantastic, I'm seeing it crash with alarming regularity. Not the stable development environment you would expect.