So ... TechEd was just great - I can not describe it in other words.
As I wrote in a prior post I had some sessions to take care of at TechEd. So after we arrived in Barcelona we first had a dinner with the MCT-Community which we really enjoyed. There are so many MCTs out there who are so dedicated to their "passion" (and job) that it's always a pleasure to meet everyone and enjoy geek-talking. After the conference started I still wanted to adjust the demos of my session to show some new stuff. Unfortunately I made a small mistake (if you have dual-boot with Vista RC2 and XP try to avoid hibernating - especially if you have a laptop vendor which does provide very bad drivers) so I had some harddisk corruption on my Laptop. Did I mention that the PPTs and the demos were all supposed to run from my laptop (the XP-Part)? So I had some joy in fixing my Laptop on the road without the CDs, however I managed to get it up and running again (before it went right into a bluescreen after the bootmanager) - some files in XP were still corrupt (and they are currently still corrupt - didn't had the time to reinstall and I'm only using the Vista-Installation anyways). Learned it the hard way - do not hibernate with shared disks.
So after I was sure that at least Powerpoint and VPC are back and running I was adjusting my demos. The rest of the time of the first days (there wasn't much as you can assume) I spent in the Ask-the-Experts-Area and answered questions in the Longhorn Booth. This is one of my favorite things at those conferences - you get so much insight of many issues within multiple companies, and how attendees (mis)understand the products. This also gives me ideas which points we have to outline in talks and blogs, apart from enjoying to helping the attendees.
On Wednesday I had the first of two Chalk-&-Talks with Karmal Janardhan (Group Program Manager in the Active Directory Program Group). The concept of Chalk-&-Talks is a mixture between Ask-the-Experts and Breakout Sessions. You have many attendees in a session room, you are not supposed to use Powerpoint (a few slides to help the discussion getting started or outlining examples are accepted) and you are discussing technologies with the attendees. We did a Chalk-&-Talk on "Active Directory and DNS in Longhorn". It was just great. Kamal is so deep into the planning and features of the technology, and I was able to contribute with my practical experience. We both enjoyed the session, and according to the discussion and feedback afterwards the attendees enjoyed it as well. I don't think there was another session where you could get a better knowledge topic. OK - maybe Kamals Breakout Session which covered the same topic - but I even think we were able to explain it better in the Chalk-&-Talk due to the discussion format of the session. We had the last session-slot of the day and the room was crowded. There were people leaving because there was no more space. Afterwards in the Hotels Lounge some other speaker was complaining that the last session of the day was empty in many sessions and the attendees were supposedly already off partying, but I know where they were .
On Thursday afternoon I had my own session: "A Directory Services Geek's View on Access Control Entries (ACE)". Since I just had a few minutes between the session prior to me I decided to use a longer break before to connect my laptop to power at the speakers desk and get it up and running, so that the session before allows the power management-drivers to "adjust". Otherwise the time to start up as well as the performance would be questionable. This was a good decision - I didn't had any issues with performance, the session and demos went very well (OK - I was a bit nervous because I still didn't trust my recovered laptop). I love this session, since I was always missing Geek-Level content at TechEds, so I was happy to present it. There were a lot of interested attendees, feedback was great (e.g. "You can improve the conference by doing more sessions like this.", and "excellent session - best one I have been to so far" on a Thursday afternoon). There were many interesting questions right after the session, but at some point we got bounced so that the next session was able to start. However I went right back into the Ask-the-Expert-Area and had some lengthy discussion about the topic with some attendees. Very interesting talks - so we continued until we were told that the exhibition area is closing and we are to leave.
On Friday Kamal and I repeated our Chalk-&-Talk about "Active Directory and DNS in Longhorn" right in the morning. We had slightly less attendees (probably partying the night before, or everyone was in our first session) but the discussion was still very good. Kamal is impressive - at her own session she got a comment like "how comes a little girl tells all geek's in here how technology really works" . After the Chalk-&-Talk we went to the Ask-the-Experts-Area, and I didn't leave until the conference was over. There were so many interesting questions. Actually some attendees were coming up to me with their "List of Questions" they made up during the week, so I was answering .. answering .. answering ... (I call it the "streaming answering mode" now ).
However - what a great week - everytime again!