Wednesday, October 01, 2003

My ‘Tech-Ed 2003’ Experience
- Logu K [klogu@scapevelocity.com]

The Day started, surprisingly with drizzles, which is very unusual to Chennai!! [I abode in Chennai for past 10 months, but never witnessed a heavy rain till date…]. At last I’m attending this year Tech-Ed[I Missed Tech-Ed2002!], Actually my plan to attend Tech-Ed was tentative, as I had my project deliverables on that weekend, but I managed to compromise[!] my PM. On the Day, My Plan was to pickup my friend [vadivel] and reach Taj [the Tech-ed venue] by 8:15. I was a bit worried about the crowd for the registration. This registration process is a real hassle in almost all the Tech-Ed’s like the one which I attended at bangalore. They used to have a long list of papers with names inscribed, where they mix and match with the registered and unregistered registrants with full of chaos & confusion .…[I used to wonder, whatz wrong with this world’s largest technology company’s event!!] but, actually when I entered Taj I was actually expecting a very long queue… but to my surprise, the Registration Area [Red channel] was totally free, and there were 2 guys from Event mgmt team, inquiring the company name, and guided me to the appropriate counter. That was a pleasant surprise to me and had my Delegate Badge, and other booklets in almost 2 minutes, and approached the Banquet Entrance, where I met my colleagues, we were actually 4 guys [GoF… hahaha!!] from my office.

At last, we assembled at the Ballroom, where the Keynote session started, there was a very modest crowd of 400+. Keynote was given by “Daniel Ingitharaj”, .NET Manager – Microsoft; Daniel made a very lively show with a bit of humor inherent. He described how technologies at Microsoft are converging and how .NET seamlessly integrates these technologies. He also covered all the aspect of IT Worker, Developer and IT Professional. He also played some informative videos on L’Oreal and PEPSI Bottling plant, on their efficient use of Pocket PC Solution and the benefits they reap out of Pocket PC’s, I’ve read Pepsi’s case study on their PPC usage, but the video was still more informative depicting real life scenarios. Daniel also had techies from IBM Rational, Microsoft and Intel etc. Interactions between Daniel and Intel’s techie was really cool, as he explained Intel’s new processor architectures and future releases. Later, Deepak Gulati won the crowd’s applause when he unveiled “Whidbey” and he also talked about ‘Longhorn’ and ‘Avlon’, Whidbey features a pretty impressive stuff like “Smart Tags” on the development IDE to ease the development, Deepak also demonstrated the “Monster Turned Macho”- Data grid’s with zero code [hmm… really!!] also, he depicted the easy internationalization support, an interesting and a good feature.

What really impressed me was the video on “Smart Personal Objects Technology” SPOT – Technically charged real-life Gadgets like SPOT Watch etc. [Though not a new stuff, but I was really enthralled to see these initiatives from Microsoft], the other fascinating technology I’m very eager to experience is the SMARTPHONE Technology[hope… no BSOD’s(Blue Screen Of Death) on a Smartphone… :-) Hmm… Jus’ kidding].

At 11:15 AM we had a Tea-break, and the 1st Session began by 11:30 AM, I started with “Messaging” Track - “Exchange Server 2003 Overview” by Vinod Unny, he made a modest show by introducing Exchange Server 2003, and comparison with existing versions. Also he demonstrated the new Outlook2003 and OWA and the mobility support on Exchange 2003.
When the Session ended, a immediate question popped up in my mind, Won’t I get these information’s at www.microsoft.com/exchange ?? Do I need to come to Tech-Ed to know these stuff? I was really expecting MORE on Tech-Ed’s session, I compromised myself as it was a 200 Level session, but I really do not accept ,wasting time on detailing the new coolheadedpremiumchromatica look and feel of OWA !!!

Next I Moved to “Data Management” Track on topic “Extending SQL Server, UDF: Hidden Tricks”, I was actually deceived by words “Hidden Tricks” on title, but later I realized I do not fit in to the session… somehow these databases doesn’t come parallel with me. The Session was filled with excellent techie info, but was, not an interactive tech-ed session, instead it was a classroom-teacher model !? many questions were taken off-line. “Should UDF’s be covered on Tech-Ed?” This was the question raised by my colleague Andrew!!!

After a scrumptious Lunch, Now I Moved on to “Office” Track to attend “Developing Infopath Solutions”,
One reason to choose this session is the speaker- Raj Chaudhuri, As expected he made a very very cool show. Man… He dominated the whole session and made the session very humorous and interactive . Yet another feature I liked on this session is that, he did not browse and read through some PPT Slides, instead the whole session was full of demonstrations [this made many to stay awake after the lunch!!] Although, I was not able to fully make myself clear on what infopath is, but, I was able to decipher that Microsoft is GUIfying “XML,XPath,XQuery,Xsl...x..x..”, much like they did to databases with MS Access long back! You need a little knowledge on xml, rest is in the hands of Infopath. Raj gave a demo on info path and suggested that INFOPATH and WEBSERVICES are killer combination. He went on giving a demo on Infopath interfacing with webservices and passed on an info that Microsoft is positioning Infopath as a client to BIZTALK Server, much like what Outlook is to Exchange… hmm… that was pretty interesting. The Session was filled with goody goody gum drops (GGGD) , I would like to quote one GGGD
[Raj was giving demo on Infopath]
Tech-Ed Delegate : “What would happen if an error occurs?”
Raj [in a cool tone] : “A Messagebox would popup and say There is an Error”
[hehehe… if you love dilbert, you would love this also][The whole hall stirred-up and laughed. You’ve got to take this dialogue with sense of humor] but, he also gave a valid answer later… This session was really cool.

We had a Break, and continued the last session at “Developer” Track on “Building Office2003 Solutions with VS.NET 2003”, The Session was given by Kumar S. from Microsoft. This was also a interesting session, though he was a slow-speaker[which he admitted] he was pretty clear on what he was talking. Actually I Chose this session because, the project I’m handling now is tightly integrated with office. Thought I shall get some insights in the session, Kumar did not disappoint me. He made a very modest and interesting show, and gave demo’s on writing .NET Code with in WORD and Excel Documents. It was interesting to see these on “VS.NET IDE-> File->New->Project->Word Document” on the same lines of
“VS.NET IDE-> File->New->Project->VC# Windows application”. Quite interesting. But, he did not find much time so he had to rush and finish the session. This session was also very cool.

At the End of the Day, I had some questions on my mind,
1. Why are the International speakers missing on the list? [International Speakers are usually integral part of Tech-Ed, I Remember a event on Tech-Ed2000, where a speaker from Redmond got the whole attention of audience. Infact, a track was cancelled during his session, as the full crowd was on his hall, later they managed to broadcast his session on other halls too… These guys really make some difference ]
2. Tech-Ed Online [www.teched.net] this site really tested my patience, I was not able to sign-in using the passport id, given by my HR, which he received from Tech-Ed Event Mgmt Team. I got HTTP Error 500 till the day of tech-ed. Later when I tried recently, it worked, but said that I’m unauthorized to use teched.net…. hmm…. I mailed contact@teched.net, but no response !!!
This stopped me from those Chat sessions and other webcasts… hmm…
3. When I Attend TechEd my intentions are to know more about microsoft’s initiatives on current and future technologies. But most of the topics on day 1 was very plain and unexciting.
4. Would really suggest on the speaker’s quality.
5. No Technology Demonstrations on the 1st day of the Event ?!

However, I Was really happy about these
1. TechEd2003 in Chennai… This really Rocks… as I don’t have to worry on my commute and stay.
2. TechEd Span across 3 months, a very thoughtful process.

Hmm… There Ends the 1st Day of Tech-Ed 2003. One thing that I missed in TechEd is the Exhibition, as the sessions were occupying all the time for the whole day, I even saw the CNUG Stall on the Exhibition as I passed by, really wanted to meet everyone there, and thought I shall do later, but the exhibiton stall was closed when I came out of the last session.

I really want to fit this article in a single page, but as I started writing, I couldn’t stop myself… It’s 1:30 AM now and ‘m still writing… anyways I eagerly expect your feedback and comments and ‘m ready to open-attack criticism’s. Fire in your comments…. Now, I’m going to sleep…… Ciao…

posted by Logu Krishnan : 3:01 AM

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