Tech.Ed 2009

[This is a belated and incomplete post, but since I’m unlikely to finish it, might as well publish what I threw together in the airport on the day after]

Wow, where to start?  Tech.Ed is the Microsoft IT geek yearly pilgrimage, held this year on the Gold Coast, as it was 2 years ago for my first attendance.

A quick summary of my Gold Coast experience:

  • Really, there are a lot of retirees here.
  • Those who are not retirees are young women wearing very little, and repeatedly trying to pull it down/up to cover the exposed areas.
  • The rest are visiting families trying to take their 4yo kids into restaurants, bars, etc. The men are usually being chided for looking at the young women mentioned above.
  • The weather is the same every day. What’s the point in that? Bah, give me Melbourne with its highly diverse weather experience. 🙂

Tech.Ed this year was always going to be a strange one with the offering of a free mini laptop (netbook) to all attendees – a world first for Microsoft Australia (I think). The laptop offering did mean compromises has to be made in other areas, but on the whole I think was an extremely positive result.

With 2500+ netbooks, other laptops, iPhones, Blackberrys, and Windows Mobile phones all wanting to have wireless internet access throughout the conference centre, wifi was a big challenge. I think Microsoft, Cisco, and the GCCEC did a superb job in meeting that challenge and were only prevented from receiving top marks due to the actions of a few selfish, idiotic attendees who seemed to feel entitled to BitTorrent and deny excellent service to the other geeks out to learn and enjoy the experience.

Actually, that would have to be the common sour theme for my Tech.Ed experience this year: the selfish gits who can’t seem to show common courtesy to their fellow geeks. So, a grab-bag of gripes I’ve had:

  • Bandwidth hogging is not cool on the conference network.
  • Getting drunk and being silly is up to you, but don’t puke anywhere in/near the conference centre.
  • Set your phones to silent when in a session. Seriously, how fscking hard is it to do this? Are you all retards? Everyone is permitted one mistake, but the repeat offenders deserve stabbing in the eye.
  • Similar to the above, don’t talk in sessions, especially about crap that is not related to the session topic. If you are bored, quietly pack up and leave.
  • When wait staff are guarding a table of food so that it may be shared equitably amongst attendees, don’t make their job harder by trying to get the food. Pay attention and be patient. Queue jumpers make it worse for everybody. Again, one warning should have been enough, not every single meal time. Idiots.
  • Last, and least, when Question and Answer time happens at the end of a session, don’t bug the presenters about your specific technical fault. Ask a generalised tech fault question, ask about how it works, what the future of the product is, ask for contact details and preferred subject matter (ie. Do they want to hear you specific tech fault?), but don’t monopolise the presenter’s time for something that isnt relevant to the other 20+ people waiting to speak with them.

That’s enough whinging, now for something more positive: the sessions, content, and presenters.

Tech.Ed (and just about any other technical IT event) are plagued by demonstration failures. Examples that work perfectly 100 times will fail once on the screen in a session. Hardware will fail, power will fail, fingers and brains will refuse to co-operate once on stage. This is normal. Most presenters can, and did, cope with the situation appropriately and still have very successful sessions. Congratulations to them all, its a hard gig presenting to highly technical and critical geeks. Geeks who often feel they know more about any topic than the presenter (or anyone else at the conference).

[todo: insert sessions attended here]

[todo: favourite presenters]

[todo: dreamworld event]

[todo: social events]

[todo: conclusion]