Not With a Bang But a Whimper

published: Fri, 10-Jun-2005   |   updated: Fri, 10-Jun-2005

And so goodbye Tech*Ed. My first one, after some 10 years of going to BorCons and SDWests/Easts and Linux thingies. Actually it was very interesting, at least for the first four days. The last one, today was a bit disappointing: the Exhibit Hall closed yesterday, and I'll admit I didn't realize and so didn't go round it; there were less sessions today, and lots of those were repeats.

Like most conferences (except BorCons of late; sorry, but the session I went to, oh, five or six years ago on writing a TDataSet replacement was so full of holes -- and I knew, having written FlashFiler's -- was the start of the decline for me), you learn a lot and then you see stuff you already know and are trying to glean some nugget of information of which you were previously unaware.

Unlike most conferences, it was huge. Bloody big. Football fields would get lost in the Orange County Convention Center. At every time slot there were something like 20 possible sessions to attend. Sometimes I was tossing a coin between three sessions that I really wanted to see. Actually that's probably may fault: although I'm now an architect and should have been going to talks on architecture and design and the different varieties of server technology and how we could use them, etc, I'm still a developer at heart and so wanted to see the cool new things in Visual Studio, understand the new debugging features, or the fab Framework stuff. Recently I've been an LUA user (a least privilege user) so there were sessions on that and the new stuff coming up in Longhorn. Gaak.

So I kind of gave up trying for a coherent look to the sessions which I attended, and instead opted for a more eclectic view.


.NET Framework: Best Practices for Avoiding Common Exception Coding Mistakes
(Jonathan Keljo, MS)

Microsoft Visual C# Under the Covers: An In-Depth Look at C# 2.0
(Anders Hejlsberg, MS)

Smart Client Architecture
(Billy Hollis & Rockford Lhotka)


Code Generation: Architecting a New Kind of Reuse
(Scott Hanselman)

Microsoft Visual Studio 2005: Debugging Smart Client Applications with Visual Studio 2005
(Scott Nonnenburg, MS)

Advances in Threat Modeling
(Mike Howard, MS)

Not Really Complicated Asynchronous Messaging Techniques and Technologies
(Clemens Vasters)


Tips and Tricks to Running Windows with Least Privilege
(Aaron Margolis, MS)

Metadata Soup: Contracts, Models and Types
(Don Box, MS)

Domain Specific Language Tools for Model-Driven Development in Microsoft Visual Studio 2005
(Jochen Seemann, MS)

Client and Middle Tier Data Caching with SQL Server 2005
(Pablo Castro & Steve Lasker, MS)

Enterprise Library In-Depth
(Tom Hollander & Ron Jacobs, MS)


Introducing System.Transactions and New Features
(Juval Lowy)

Retry, Abort, Cancel? Appropriate Handling of Transaction Failures in Connected Systems Application Code
(Clemens Vasters)

.NET Framework: CLR Internals
(Jeffrey Richter)

Longhorn Client Security Advancements
(Austin Wilson, MS)


.NET Framework: Preserving Your Investment - Making Sure Your 1.x Applications Work Great in 2.0
(Jesse Kaplan), MS

Windows Forms: Real World ClickOnce
(Patrick Darragh, MS)

Smart Client Offline Data Synchronization and Caching
(Brian Noyes)

Microsoft Visual C# 2005: IDE Tips and Tricks
(Anson Horton & Luke Hoban, MS)

(In the above, ARC = Architecture, CLI = Smart Client Development, CSI = Connected Systems Infrastructure, DAT = Database Development, DEV = Developer Tools, DSK = Windows Desktop, SEC = Security)

I'll be writing up my impressions of the sessions and things I learnt over the next few days. It was good to see some of the people I'd worked with whilst at Microsoft and catch up on some news.

What else? The Tech*Ed store had bundles of books and Microsoft apparel and gewgaws, all at a discount. I bought Keith Brown's The .NET Developer's Guide to Windows Security and Dr. Neil Roodyn's eXtreme .NET and an XBOX pen. We also, as part of registration, got a pretty good laptop bag, so I ditched my leather laptop bag and used it thereafter. Lots of trash in the bag as usual, some CDs/DVDs of MS beta software, some mags.

Lunch was a buffet and OK, but there was tons of snacks during the breaks between sessions: fruit, candy bars, ice-cream, lattes, water and soda by the gallon, bagels, whatever developer food you wanted pretty much.

Apart from all that, the issue with my hotel was a scream. Someone at Configuresoft (who shall remain nameless) booked us architects in a Courtyard by Marriott. It wasn't until Sunday afternoon, as I was preparing to leave for the airport, that I realized that it wasn't the one by the convention center. Oh, lord, no. It was the one in Ocoee (where?), twenty miles away. WTF, etc. The taxi driver taking me from the airport to the hotel had a huge laugh at the thought of me catching a taxi to the conference every day. We did it the once (it cost $44) and decided to try for a hotel somewhat closer. Yep, we did, half-a-mile away. A Sleep Inn, ho hum. So Monday lunchtime was a bit of a waste getting a taxi back to Ocoee and from thence to our new hotel (we missed two sessions essentially). Cost $70 this time. That's the last time I let someone else book a hotel for me.

Anyway, I leave tomorrow, early afternoon, with news of Tropical Storm Arlene running alongside the Florida coast. Heh.