I got a chance to spend a couple days at the recently held VSLive! Toronto. Being an independent consultant I have to pay for conferences myself and the cost of the event, travel, accommodations, meals, etc., plus the fact that until recently I would have to pay an additional 50% in conversion from Canadian to US dollars, has always been a little steep. I was really excited when I heard that VSLive! was going to be held locally and jumped at the chance to attend.
The sessions were great (particularly a couple by Brian Randell I got to sit in on – Brian is a great speaker), but like most developer events I attend the networking and offline discussions were just as valuable. I had a bunch of interesting discussions on topics ranging from the current state and future of Delphi, how the Borland products are transitioning into .NET, Tablet PCs, the current lack of business interest in building mobile apps on handheld devices, caffeinated gum, the new Dothan processor, the Imagine Cup, and so much more.
User Group Night
Members of the local .NET user groups were invited out for special meeting after the first day of sessions. The meeting started with Paul Yuknewicz (from the VB team) giving a overview of some of the new features we can look forward to in Visual Basic 2005 and finished with questions to a very distinguished panel made up of conference speakers including Kate Gregory, Jay Roxe, Billy Hollis, Rocky Lhotka, Keith Pleas, Richard Hale Shaw and Dwayne Lamb.
After the session was over user group members were invited to stay for Midnight Madness which included some informal talks accompanied by adult beverages and lots of prizes. It was also a great chance for everyone to mingle with speakers, other user group members and conference attendees.
I have to say thanks to the people at VSLive! and MSDN Canada (particularly Jim Fawcette and Craig Flannagan) for helping to make the user group night the great success it was.
ObjectSharp Party Bus
Take a bunch of developers, put them in a limo/bus, add some adult beverages and an X-Box and shake lightly, what have you got? Well, you’ve got a freakin’ great way to end a couple days of sessions, that’s what you got. I was lucky enough to be included amongst the twenty or so event speakers, Microsoft employees, user group leaders and Imagine Cup team members to spend an evening touring the bars of Toronto, all courtesy of the people from ObjectSharp.
This post is getting a little long but if you want to find out more about the happenings at the event, the Imagine Cup or the party bus check out these blog entries: