First thing Thursday I was assisting in the Instructor-led Lab "Microsoft Visual Studio 2010: Office Programmability". That went well. I ended up having to explain extension methods to a few of the attendees who hadn't come across them yet. A good reminder that not everyone's been using all the features of .NET 3.5.
After that I attended the following sessions:
DEV354 - Shake, Rattle and Roll with Windows Phone 7 (Nick Randolph)
DEV426 - The Art and Engineering of Supple Enterprise Applications (Nicholas Blumhardt)
DAT216 - BI for the Microsoft Masses - Top 10 Challenges (Sanjay Soni)
Nick's talk was good. Windows Phone 7 looks very nice. It was interesting to hear some of the restrictions and limits that need to be take into account to develop for Phone 7.
Nicholas just happens to be the author of AutoFac and also was a member of the MEF team at Microsoft, so he spoke with some experience about inversion of control. I felt it was a little disjointed, and seemed to jump from IoC101 to more advanced concepts a bit too quickly. Even so, I did like Nicholas's relaxed presentation style. The room was packed too, showing there is demand for 400-level dev talks.
The BI talk wasn't what I was expecting. It was actually about how Microsoft deployed a BI portal internally.
After the sessions it was time for the two labs that I was instructing/introducing:
Introduction to Managed Extensibility Framework
Introduction to Test Case Management in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 with Microsoft Test and Lab Manager (MSDN Lab)
They both went well and I really enjoyed running them. I should say special thanks to Mitch Denny and Anthony Borton who gave me some great resources and assistance preparing for the Test Manager talk.
Whilst the general hands-on labs are good, I liked the Instructor-led Labs the most as all the people in the room were there doing the same thing.
A quick visit back to the hotel room allowed Narelle and I to Skype the kids and grandparents. That was fantastic.
Then back to the convention centre for the "House Party". I was a bit apprehensive as previous conferences when they've tried to do their own social night haven't been that impressive (previous years at the Gold Coast, Movie World or Dreamworld have been the popular choice). But credit to the organisers, I think they managed to pull off a good evening. There were lots of spaces with different activities – food, full-size fussball, lazer skirmish in the underground carpark, comedians and entertainment in the main arena.
DAT306 - Scalability Standouts - the biggest in the world, and how they did it (Nicholas Dritsas)
WEB202 - Ten Things You Need to Know to Succeed with Natural User Interface (August de los Reyes)
I was hoping to see "ARC301 - Philosophy of Software Quality" but the room was packed to overflowing. Disappointing as Joel Pobar is always worth hearing.
Donald's use of early 1900's business process manual extracts and images just goes to show that the more things change the more they stay the same. I knew that there use to be people who's job title was "computer", but didn't realise they had pivot tables (or close enough) back then.
Nicholas described some impressive stats for how some customers are using SQL Server and the kind of loads and performance that are possible.
August picked up from where yesterday's keynote left off. Some really interesting ideas and concepts. I'll be hanging out to watch that one again when they publish it up at http://www.msteched.com/2010/Australia
From 3.30 – 7pm I had my first shift helping out in the hands on labs. That went well, though your feet do get tired after standing up for all that time!
Tuesday morning started with a mad scramble to get the kids ready for school and then saying a quick farewell before rushing off to the airport (don't worry, we didn't leave them to fend for themselves!)
An uneventful flight to Gold Coast airport, and then a friendly taxi driver took us to our hotel room. We're staying in an apartment in the Phoenician Resort in Broadbeach, a 5 minute walk from the convention centre. The apartments are managed by Broadbeach Holiday Rentals – they're in the same complex as the Mantra but are separate. (I booked through World Tourism Travel.)
Narelle is very pleased with the room, and there's lots of space for her to do her scrapbooking (one of her main priorities on her well-deserved holiday while I'm conferencing!)
Registration was straightforward, though I discovered that as a TLG (Technical Learning Guide), I didn't get a delegate bag (or so I thought).
Next was an orientation meeting for TLGs, where I got my TLG shirts, and discovered that yes we will get bags later in the week. Pity it will be too small to fit my laptop in.
Straight after that it was time for the opening keynote. In a first for TechEd Australia, the keynote was held on the Tuesday afternoon (apparently to leave more time for sessions on Wednesday).
Michael Kordahi did a nice job as "MC". If I closed my eyes, I could almost imagine I was listening to the Frankly Speaking podcast
August de los Reyes' keynote talk on natural user interface (and what might be next) was quite interesting, and I really enjoyed the fast-paced way he used PowerPoint to enhance his presentation.
But without doubt, the highlight for me was seeing our Pivot being demonstrated by Michael K near the end.
I was so proud to see our work being showcased to the whole of TechEd, that I may have been the person who "yeehaa'd"
The evening finished with dinner in the expo area. Once again I'm reminded how good a job the catering guys do here.
I'm impressed that Mitch got virtually all of the sessions and speakers organised for CodeCampOz 2010 by July and this year the event isn't until November (20-21st)!
There's some good topics being covered on the agenda, but how would I go about getting there now that the "FLC pool" car we had access to at the Uni (back in the old days!) is no longer an option and what would it cost?
Getting to Wagga Wagga from Adelaide is a good day's drive, and something I'd really only undertake if there were others to share the trip/driving with. But assuming that was sorted, and you were hiring from the Friday to the Monday (eg. driving there on the Friday, driving back home on the Monday), Hertz list options including a Toyota Corolla Hatch for $158 or a Toyota Camry for $207. Don't forget to allow for petrol, and of course the cost of 2 days that you won't be working.
Wagga has a regional airport, but it is only serviced by flights from Sydney and Melbourne. Ideally you'd fly in on the Friday afternoon, and head home on the Sunday night.
WebJet lists a few options. I've listed the cheapest I could find here:
So choosing the Melbourne options would cost $451, via Sydney is $572. But you'd still need transport once you got to Wagga – so either hire a car once you get there, or get a taxi from the airport and hope someone can give you a lift out to the campus.
Don't forget you have to stay somewhere. Last time I stayed at the Central Point Motel – nothing fancy but it did the job. Wotif lists them at $98/night.
Lunch is normally provided (in the form of Pizza), but allow for breakfast and dinner expenses.
And all this assumes that my family is willing to let me take off for another weekend not that long after spending a week away at TechEd on the Gold Coast!
Even attending Adelaide's own CodeCampSA had a similar expense as far as my family is concerned. That ended up being a two full days that I'm not around to share the load, do family stuff and spend time with my wife and kids. While I love to learn new things and pursue professional development opportunities, when it comes to the crunch family should be the more important of the two – so anything that takes away from time with the family had better be worth it.