Friday, November 16, 2007

TechEd done for the year

Well, after 2 days good efforts my attempt to track things died! An expression of how tiring TechEd can be to body, sould and brain (if you try to everything). So how to describe it all...
* wednesday UK drinks were at the same venue as 2006, but the tapas were not so good. But there was a rubik's cube competition. Not easy under red lights!
* don't go home at the weekend it's too much
* I found out that I a the last person in Europe to have attended all Tech*Eds. Sadly Leif (the other) was ill this year and missed it
* by wednesday of week 2 the local villains had the conference sussed, and were targeting anyone displaying teched materials. Despite warnings some delegates wer still leaving badges round their necks on the tube
* 2 weeks typing one note mobile on the SPV M3100 is enough! Bye!

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Down to earth with a bump

Called home again to find the police in the process of removing a stolen car dumped blocking our drive an hour or so earlier. As we were talking the police left without even speaking to my wife and confirming they'd checked the outbuildings for the villian.

Incensed I called the police sation (from Spain!) and had a (polite) go. They could find the incident even though they had been in pursuit. Wrong county...

I prevailed on them to contact mu wife quickly and confirm whether the search had been done. Called the neighbours who let their dog investigate! The latter was more re-assuring.

Then whilst checking the parlous state of my phone's battery life (and fixing it - thanks APC!) I was suddenly faced with half a dozen drunken footie fans. Rangers playing Barca tomorrow I think. "Donde est La Ramblas?" (i later realised), "er sorry?" "where's the Rambla?". So, reeling from the alcohol output a few inches away I guided him and his mates.

So a great day fizzled out...

Day 2

Unusually for me abroad I slept quite well and did not feek it wa too ealy getting up. Nice easy journey in pleasant weather to the conference centre and onto commnet to get the slide decks for the next few days. Not so good - only 1 speaker out of 60 I looked at has posted any ppt. The abstracts are good, but a 62 slide deck for a 75 minute presentation is a bad sign, 12 good. I've lost that discriminating factor.

Went to Simon's presentation first (On the user in software design). Expectations exceeded with great content, imaginative slides and a good story. Good start to the day then.

Back to the exhibition and showed off my new APC "ups" for my phone (basically a compact battery with usb in and out that gives me at least 2 charges if not 4 whilst away from the mains. Too late for this year but they might for next! Also discussed the wifi hotspot detecting t-shirt. They'd sell that!

Off to do feedback for simon's session and a <g> at the end of the 'other comments' field crashed the sytem proudly reported to the commnet helpdesk and Cheesey came homself to repro (it did!).

Also hooked up MSDN's UI redesign project wtith simon - they need his help!

Bumped into Catherine and chatted about the improvements this year (and some niggles) felt bad about being a bit negative and emailed an apology later.

Then a Mobile SQL app session that inspires me to my CD database on my phone. Quickly followed by a sntched lunch and Mr Blatt's excellent software sucks talk.

A quick chat with Rafal about Bletchley Park, the Collossus project ( And, and the plan to challenge the world to beat Collossus to the decrypt. He agreed to publicise it on friday at the cryptography talk (if I remind him thursday!)
His next gen windows networking talk was, as always, good.

Saw some Hawai'ian shirts in the exhibition - good K Y's ones it turned out. BT manager with a hawai'ian shirt friday experience in charge!

More Sql offline improving my determination (especially for offline updates - now I have a reason for VS2008).
Then some crummy Sharepoint HOL (habds on labs).

Nearly an hour on the phone home with my wife to sort out my failed backups and then off to town. Chose metro to get straight to the centre, grab dinner, and then hotel

A great meal again at Tonorio on Passeig de Gracia.

Day done...

Monday, November 05, 2007

TechEd Day 1

So, back in Barcelona for another teched!

Arrived late last night to a warm city and despite the 30mins delay on departure an on-schedule landing. Quickly out (5th bag!) and caught the last Microsoft ot Placa Catalunya. Quick tube trip and 250yd walk to the hotel and ahhhh. Rest!

An easy morning and got on Commnet as usual (well done Cheesy and co) to find most of my chosen sessions do not have ppt slides yet :-(. For me the slides give a great heads up on true content and the fewer the better. So my ability to discriminate has been taken away. See how it goes.

Lunch upstairs (less busy and better views) with a brit now in Redmond in the architecture world. Simon's speaking tomorrow and being impressed i'll try to catch it. We conversed widely on relocation, UK/US differences, redundancies, Hawai'i, Vancouver, the sub-prime problem, the penalties of choice (who needs a choice of 80 olives?) and much more.

So to the keynote. A return (in part) to the 1994 buzz of Channel 4's Big Breakfast with a VJ and 2 graffiti artists doing their thing and gently fillong the hall with the odour of spray can paint (sweet, acidic (like acid drops) yet almost OK).
The as expected "this is were we are with dev tools" and a couple of punky demos geared to World of Warcraft. A lonf queue out and then a couple of sessions on sql express and office business apps. Good but not inspiring - microsoft is so big a company these dyas that everything seems to have a party line and the presentations suffer methinks.

After the exhibtion meet and greet with booze (not for me - water!), a few nibbles and a wander rounf. Frenzied queues a couple of times as GASP free gifts were handed out. People queue and grab without evaluating - just how many free baseball hats do you need? I quite like waiting, having a look, and then handing back- the looks you get! Looked at a good book for mobile sql on my phonr - I must put my CD db onto the phone so I know what I've got when out of the house- but did not buy now as my bag was too full and heavy already. Will return Wed for it.

Off back to hotel by tram/metro. At the metro I fell foul of the BCN "sometimes left, sometimes right" ticket barrier, and laughed about it with and then fell in with a couple of US nurses on hols; Donna and Ivana (Czech). Donna spotted my Hawai'ian Honu earring and we discussed holidays and so on. I missed my stop and as we parted I gave them my card to email about what to do in the UK on hols.

Wandered back to the hotel with sense of direction absolutely perfect looking out for the gangs of villains Microsoft warned us of. None tonight. Some water from these small supermarkets that are here on street corners late at night in Barcelona and done.