Tech Ed Day 1

I meant to blog yesterday, but never seemed to have time between sessions and trying to handle work e-mail. Day 1 went pretty well. To start with, the food is much better this year than it was in Dallas. I thought lunch was especially good, although the logistics make you feel like cattle being herded into a barn. I almost expect the dining staff to have cattle prods to make sure we sit at the right table.

The keynote was so-so. I like hearing Ballmer speak, but his talk was pretty high level and focuses primarily on developer issues and technologies. Nothing new or exciting (for me anyway).

I attended the following sessions:

  • MSG343 Exchange Server Sizing
  • SEC380 In-depth Look at Client Security Enhancements in Windows XP SP 2
  • MGT320 SMS 2003 SP1: Technology Enhancements and Deployment Best Practices
  • WIN302 Upgrading your Active Directory Deployment from Windows 2000 to Windows Server 2003

SEC380 was probably the best session, since I haven’t had much time to look at SP 2 yet. This is an update that we can really use back at Olin, especially on student laptops. Anything that forces people to do the right thing (update their systems, run a firewall, etc.) is a good thing.

Even more valuable than the sessions, though, was a visit to the cabanas to get an Exchange question answered. I’ve been trying to find a way to enable Junk E-mail filtering for all of our users via OWA. We tag messages for SPAM in SpamAssassin. Once the machine gets to Exchange we have a sink which assigns an SCL of 9, so that it can be put in the Junk E-mail folder automatically. What we discovered, however, is that the store will not move these messages unless the users has enabled Junk E-mail filtering.

As it turns out, there is no site-wide switch you can flip to enable this for everyone. Kudos to Karim Batthish and Simon (can’t remember his last name… sorry Simon) with Microsoft for finding a way to do this. All we need to do is script HTTP posts to the OWA server as if an end user turned this feature on themselves in OWA. Getting an answer to this problem alone was worth the cost of the conference. If you haven’t stopped by the cabanas and you have questions you need answered, you have to stop by. There’s a wealth of knowledge up there just waiting to be tapped.

The Exhibitor Reception was just like previous years. Free beer (soda for me) and a lot of happy hour food… mini tacos, meat on a stick, chips, etc. Not super-nutritious, but quite filling.