Monday, 5 September 2011

Visiting TechEd AU 2011

I reckon a visit to TechEd is a good way to start putting down some of my musings onto the web. Many times have I considered blogging, never have I seen it through, so be forewarned, daily posts will probably not become part of my resume :)

As this was my first TechEd ever, I had a blast and really liked the whole experience. I can't stress enough how well organized everything was, with smooth transitions between sessions and tea or dinner, Hygge (google/bing it), and the huge amounts of entertainment (and sponsor) booths MS had set up. The social media explosion around TechEd was fuelled heavily by promoting using hash tags on all session ids and a QR-code game appropriately named TechQuest. I wish I could say I owned badly at TechQuest, but omitting the "owned" in that last phrase would be a more accurate description of my engagement.

The division between IT (Systems) and Dev was smoothed out as much as possible, but I still would loved to have seen more development sessions. The biggest omission for me was a Silverlight track, especially with Silverlight 5 on the horizon, and the SL5 Release Candidate actually being released while TechEd was taking place.

The level of the sessions could have easily been cranked up a bit, as most of them were rather simple, and hard-core dev sessions were hard to find (if present at all). I do understand this is part of the strategy of keeping 2700 people happy, but I'm allowed to have a wish list.

Some of the best standout sessions for me were:
  • Fun wise: DEV202  - The Kinect SDK was explored in a playful and funny manner, which I thought was brilliant. Not to mention the awesomeness of the technology and the ease of use of the SDK. Not quite immediately applicable to my professional domain, but what a great talk!
  • Tech wise: DEV308  - Joseph Albahari, on the future of parallel programming, was even more awesome in real life than his (great) books make you believe (must-read: C#4.0 In a Nutshell). This talk actually made me feel rather backward, as his illustrative example was very similar to a real-life implementation I have my name on. The main difference being that I decided long ago I had optimized it as well as one could expect, but I was wrong... I was so very wrong :) (thanks Joseph)

The nightly entertainment was spectacular, ranging from karting to playing unreleased XBOX games, table-tennis, shooting hoops, gladiator-style smack downs, judging the spotlight competition (congratz to SoulSolutions ( with TransHub!) and much, much more...

As the main representative of Resonate Solutions I had the pleasure of conduction an interview with detailing the use of Windows Azure in our organization's flagship service offering, Resonate Pulse (Watch our sizzle reel at:

In conclusion, it was an awesome experience, heaps of fun, learning, alcohol and Star Wars baby!

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