TechEd “officially” starts tomorrow with the keynote, but as everyone knows, Sunday — aka Day 0 — is when things really get going. Pre-con sessions are happening now, people are registering, and the Tech Expo is a flurry of activity as booths get setup. I just returned to my hotel after registering so I can drop off the bag and top off the phone before heading out on a walking tour of downtown Houston (time to get sweaty), so I thought I’d mention a couple of things.
If you’re in town, head over and register now. The lines (when there are any) are short, and you can be in and out in no time at all.
Registration is onto the second level (you can’t miss it) in two stages. Stop by one of the self check-in stations, scan your bar code (or look up your registration if you don’t have the email), diet your badge name, and show ID at the desk. Once you have your badge, head down to materials distribution where they’ll scan your badge, give you your bag, and your t-shirt.
I’m pretty happy with the bag this year. Good amount of room, plenty of pockets, and it feels sturdy. I like a side-opening TSA-friendly bag over the bottom opening like this one, but it’s a minor quibble.
Note that there is no bottle opener or luggage tag on the bag this year. I can live without the bottle opener (your mileage may vary…) but the tag was nice to help ID your bag. Make sure you slip some business cards or other ways to reunite you with your bag and the stuff in the bag should you lose it.
If you’ve heard people complaining that there is no paper conference guide ethos year, don’t worry. The guides are there. In the bag is the big conference guide, and in the lanyard is the mini session schedule. While I like the paper guides (no need to worry about a dead battery or lack of Internet.), the conference guide at MEC this year was a OneNote notebook and it worked really well. I’d like to see a OneNote version of the guide in addition to the paper guides for next year.
Speaking of “next year”…
The big surprise (for me at least) is the lack of a destination for next year’s Teched. On the back of the conference guide where it normally provides the dates and location for the next conference, it simply says “Thank you for attending. See you next year!” I take comfort in the fact that it does say we’ll see them next year rather than saying “next time”, so it may simply be a case of the venue not being locked down yet. We’ll see. I had planned to update my TechEd Countdown page to be ready to go starting on Friday, but I guess I have to make other plans. Unless they surprise us later in the week. We’ll have to wait and see.
That’s enough of an update for now. Time to grab the camera and the earphones and take that walking tour. See you around Houston!