It is already after midnight, so this is going to be a list of highlights. If you’re looking for some serious analysis of what was revealed today at TechEd, look elsewhere.
Given the quality of breakfasts at previous TechEds, it was an easy decision to have breakfast at the hotel. You can’t beat a made-to-order omelet in the morning with crispy bacon on the side. And from what I read on Twitter, the Convention Center didn’t even try. I’m not sure what went down, but people seemed really disappointed in what was offered.
After breakfast, I didn’t want to walk to the Convention Center and be dripping wet when I get there, so I rode the bus, the well air-conditioned bus to be exact. Arriving sweat-free, I lined up for the keynote and for once had a decent seat: pretty close and right on aisles so I could make a quick escape. They warmed up the crowd with a zydeco band, and it helped wake everyone up and get people as jazzed as they can be at a TechEd keynote.
Bob Muglia was his usual self. I’ll give him credit for keeping things on time and having a lot of demos, but I swear if he said cloud one more time I was going to lose it. And what is up with that hideous shirt they distributed on the chairs. I have no idea what the company on the shirt does and the shirt didn’t help solve that mystery. Going straight into the Goodwill pile.
Lunch was OK. The gumbo was decent enough, and the meatloaf wasn’t inedible. It definitely was bland. Not at all the “cajun” meatloaf that was on the name tag. Others on Twiteer disagreed and weren’t happy with the meal at all. I sympathize with the Convention Center since it is hard to cook for thousands of people and have it come out fresh and delicious every time. Now on to the sessions for today:
WPH201: Windows Phone 7: a New Kind of Phone
Good overview of the phone, the thought behinds the big changes in the Windows mobile platform, and where they are going. Kind of strange to be listening to the presentation while reading the announcements being made by Steve Jobs at the same time at WWDC. I like most of what I see, but the problem is they should have released this phone ages ago. I fear an end-of-year release may be too late.
MGT203 Microsoft System Center Roadmap and Strategy
This session was a look at the plans for the System Center suite including the v.Next products. It is amazing how much the System Center family has grown and how much the products have matured and continue to mature. SCCM 2007 will be the first Microsoft product to reach an R3 release. Highlight for me was the look at Forefront Endpoint Protection management, all of which will be handled in SCCM with the next release.
UNC320 Microsoft Communications Server 14: What’s New in Microsoft Communicator 14 Experience and Backend
The new Communicator client is a far cry from the current 2007 release. Very streamlined and information-rich, Communicator looks to both SharePoint and AD for user data. Photos and skills come from MySites, org charts from AD, etc. Since we aren’t using MySites currently, that added capability wouldn’t do much for us, but down the road, I can see how it would be useful. The client has a bit of a Facebook feel to it with the listing of status/presence changes for your contacts. Not sure if that is good or bad. Would be more helpful in large companies like Microsoft where not everyone may know each other. Less applicable to us at the school level, more so at the campus level.
After the sessions ended for the day, I made my way to the Partner Expo and grabbed some food and made the rounds. Not bad, but just typical appetizer food, albeit with a local twist. After visiting a few more vendors and Microsoft stations, I met up with some guys from the Med School and went to Gordon Biersch with them for dinner.
After dinner, I met up with some of The Krewe at the Exchange Roundtable at the Rusty Nail. It was a little hard to hear everyone, but there was a good discussion before it broke up into side groups. The Microsoft folks who attended were a great resource. Direct access to these folks is always the best reason for coming to TechEd. Thanks for setting this up Jeff!
Everyone rolled out of there around 11 PM and tried to move to the Bing party, but we weren’t able to get in. They had reached the limit of 200 people, so we would have had to wait for a large group of people to leave. most of us elected to return to our htoels and get to bed so we can all wake up in time for the 8 AM session. Ugh… too early.