Due to our late arrival yesterday we had to be up pretty early to get to the convention center for registration. Thankfully I’m still in the throws of jet lag and was awake from 5:30am onwards so the 6:40am start wasn’t as terrible as I thought it would be. Whilst I was getting ready I noticed that my camera battery was a little low and then realized that I had left my charger at home. One of the Lifehacker guys is using a Canon though so hopefully I’ll be able to bum a charge off him so I can spend what little free time I have taking pictures as I found today that spare time is going to be at something of a premium.
The keynote turned out to be a lot more interesting than I had expected, mostly because my expectations were in the toilet after last year’s TechEd Australia. There was the usual over the top parts, the keynote speaker playing a James Bond-esque character and trundling up in an Aston Martin being chief among them, but thankfully that was essentially it with the rest of it focusing on good old fashioned technology. As the other’s remarked there was a lot more newsworthy stuff in the keynote than we’d expected and whilst I won’t cover it here (mostly because I’m sure it’s already been done to death everywhere else) suffice to say that instead of walking out feeling confused and slightly angry I was instead pretty eager to dive into some sessions to get my hooks into the newly announced features.
My choice of sessions was probably a bit sub-optimal though as the first couple we essentially retreading the same ground with not a whole bunch of new insight. Indeed the best session of the day was the one I hadn’t planned to go to since it was labelled TBD but my press buddies informed me they would be the ones to watch out for since TBD was code for “covers as of yet unannounced features”. With that in mind I’m taking a good long look at my schedule for tomorrow as I’d rather spend my time being interested in these sessions than nodding off halfway through them.
This time around has felt a whole bunch more disconnected than last year as after the keynote we all kind of went our own ways and we didn’t have the convenient press room to retreat to. It wouldn’t have been much of an issue but it seems that they couldn’t arrange the powered seats like they did last year which put me in the unenviable position of having to ration my use of the laptop, which meant my notes were pretty brief. It seems like an odd oversight given that they had it at TechEd Australia but I guess it must be a limitation of the venue.
I wasn’t so fussed about the relatively long hours last year since I’ve already seen most of what Brisbane has to offer but it does feel like a right shame that I’ve been here 2 days and I haven’t really seen much of New Orleans. Since TechEd won’t be providing dinner tomorrow though that might give me a little bit of a chance to get out and see a little bit of the place while I search for something edible. There seems to be a really cool little amphitheater/restaurant across from me that had live jazz playing tonight which is quite intriguing but it might have to wait as I’ve got a couple suggestions from friends to check out first.
I guess I could just go AWOL… 😉
I can’t say I was enthused at the prospect at getting up at 7:00am this morning to meet with all the other media people over breakfast but I figured I should make the effort, if only for the fact that free food is hard to turn down. It was a bit of a struggle but nothing compared to attempting to do the same in freezing Canberra weather, something that I’m thankful for the brief respite from. After the breakfast and a quick chat with everyone we were whisked back down to the showcase floor to have a cosy session with some of the Microsoft guys, their customers and some solution providers.
If I’m honest these kinds of high level talks bore the crap out of me. I understand their place, they’re great for people who aren’t into the nuts and bolts of technology, but for someone like me who lives and dies by their understanding of how to implement/configure/maintain things they’re just not that useful. After that it was off to our session choices for the day and I had chosen a path that was focused on virtualization/cloud topics which turned out ok, save for the couple sessions that were simply not worth attending. In case you’re wondering the sessions I attended were:
VIR 312 and VIR315 well worth attending as they gave a really solid overview of the new features in Hyper-V 3.0. I had read about most of them before but it was great to get an introduction to those things that aren’t usually covered in much detail in marketing material. Those two sessions were the basis for the first part of my blog for LifeHacker (which will be up tomorrow morning I believe) with the second half being based on some of the things I gleaned whilst attending the cloud sessions. The sessions I’d probably skip catching up on are WSV313 and VIR316 as they’d only be useful if you’d never designed a virtual infrastructure before or if you you weren’t capable of comparing Microsoft and VMware’s offerings. The last two were really just for me, although I’ll probably use some of the info I got from them in tomorrow’s post.
I was also lucky enough to win one of the helicopter rides because I tweeted something non-generic at the right time. It was a pretty quick affair, just a 15 minute jaunt around Broadbeach and Soutbank but it was pretty awesome to get a birds eye view of the place. I certainly didn’t expect to win when I entered with my slightly bizwank-esque tweet but obviously the people behind the account love to indulge in a little geek humour.
The whole day was really entertaining but thoroughly exhausting. When I wasn’t in a session or a helicopter I was up in the media room review my notes from the previous session and attempting to draft up the post for the day. When I was first told that I only needed to do one post a day I didn’t consider it much of a challenge, I mean I’ve been doing exactly that for years now, but its one thing to research a single idea and write about it and a whole other thing to try and distil 6+ hours of content into a single blog post. I think I did a good job of getting at a couple ideas I believe are key (and the editor liked it) but I’m so exhausted that I’m not sure how the greater public will recieve it.
But then again I don’t usually know that anyway 😉