TechEd 2003

I was in Dallas for Microsoft’s Tech Ed 2003 conference June 1-6. You can find photos from my trip in the TechEd 2003 album at Flickr if you’re interested. Last year I attended MEC (Microsoft Exchange Conference) in Anaheim, but they’ve shifted the content from that event to the Tech Ed event. With both developer and IT Pro tracks now, they’ve extended the conference to five days (same as MEC used to be) and more than doubled the number of sessions (from 200+ to 400+).

I stayed at the Adam’s Mark downtown on the 33rd floor. Great view of downtown and a pretty decent room. The DART stop (Dallas’ light rail) was across the street from the hotel, so I used that to get to the West End two nights for dinner. Of the two nights, dinner at Hoffbrau Steaks was definitely the highlight. The steak was great and the fried pickles appetizer was delicious! I haven’t had fried pickles since my internship at Dow in Plaquemine, Louisiana, so that was a treat.

Overall, the conference was a great event. I attended some excellent sessions on Exchange, RTC Server, SMS, and so on. I also spent some time doing hands on labs with the Exchange 2003. The trade show floor was pretty crowded, and I had a chance to talk to some of our vendors and some vendors whose products we’re considering for future use. I wound up with a lot of swag this year, much more so than in previous years. A ton of shirts, a remote control car from Dell, stress balls, and so on.

On the down side, the network at the event was pretty unstable. The wireless portion was nearly unusable the first couple days, with connections hard to find and DHCP addresses even more scarce. By Wednesday things had improved, but it still seemed we lost connectivity more than we should. I guess all 9,000 of us brought wireless devices!

The biggest surprise of the show was running into an old friend, Chris Brooks, at the show. Chris and I were on the same floor freshman year and have been friends ever since. He’s CTO at Corillian Corporation, “a premier global provider of eFinance solutions that enable banks, credit unions, brokerages, financial portals, and other financial institutions to deploy enterprise-wide services over the Internet.” So check them out if you’re looking for that kind of thing. You can check out what Chris is up to at his site,

Chris and I went to the Tech Ed party at Fair Park. We spent most of the evening in the “casino” playing craps. I finally have a basic understanding of the game thanks to Chris, even though we still lost all of our play money. The rest of the evening was a concert by The Wallflowers. It was an excellent show, and I’ll probably pick up some of their CDs.

Next year, Tech Ed will be in San Diego! So Kristin and I will be planning a California vacation next year. Disneyland here I come!