TechEd 2004 Wrap-Up

Another TechEd has come and gone. This was my second TechEd and third Microsoft conference overall. MEC 2002 was my first, which happened to be the final year for that gathering, its content being included in TechEd the following year. Overall it was a great conference in a great location. I only wish I had more opportunity to see the city and its sights. I guess it just gives me more incentive to take that long-planned California vacation next year.

The highlight of the conference for me was probably… Jessica Simpson. No, not really. The highlight was the cabana concept. There are some bugs to be worked out, but all of them were use to the location and not the concept. I think it was a good idea to have near the CommNet, since that is the big meeting place, but maybe a bit more distance would help to cut down on the noise. I hope people took advantage of this opportunity to talk one-on-one with the product experts from Microsoft.

I thought the CommNet location was great as well. A little less ambient light would have been nice, but having the CommNet so centrally located between breakout rooms was welcome. If I recall in Dallas, the CommNet was way on one end and it wasn’t convenient to pop in and complete a session evaluation or check email.

Having a Pocket PC with ActiveSync and a wireless card worked great for checking email. I rarely used the laptop I brought with me during the day. I may have used a laptop more if I had a [HP Compaq Tablet PC]( like all of the HP people seemed to be carrying. Of all the Tablet designs I’ve seen, these really are slick. I’m getting tired of waiting for Dell to release their own Tablet PC.

Food was better this year than in Dallas. I talked to some people who had different opinions, but I thought everything was pretty tasty, especially when you consider how hard it is to prepare really good food for 11,000 people at a time. I heard somebody wish that there was a burger bar or something similar if you just wanted something like that as an alternative to the entree selections. I’m sure that would be popular.

The social events I attended were fun and let me avoid spending any money on meals on all but one night. It would have been nice to sample more San Diego restaurants, but it is hard to pass up free food. The Zoo event would have been more fun if it had been earlier in the day since most of the animals were already inside, but there really isn’t any way around that.

So aside from my inability to win any drawings for Pocket PCs or Xbox consoles, it was a great week. I can’t wait for TechEd 2005 in Orlando!

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