TechEd Day 2

Day two of TechEd has come and gone. The keynote by Andy Lees was much better than Monday’s (sorry Steve). This one focused on operational issues, some that hit close to home. For example, SharePoint Services was at the core of several of the examples. I think SPS would be really useful in our environment, but I just never seem to have time to setup a pilot server. I need to move this higher on the list and commit to myself to get it up and running this summer.

After the keynote, I attended these sessions:

  • MSG200 Exchange Server Today and Tomorrow
  • DAT200 A “Whistle Stop” Tour of SQL Server 2005
  • MGT323 Systems Management Server 2003: Device Management Feature Pack
  • MSG329 Introduction to Exchange Email protection, Security and Hygiene

The two Exchange sessions were the best. The SQL tour was somewhat interesting as I haven’t been keeping up with SQL 2005 (a.k.a. Yukon). Looks like some significant improvements. The new management interface alone is enough reason for me to upgrade. The SMS session did a good explaining how people can manage devices like Pocket PC and Windows CE machines, but I don’t see much need in my environment for this capability. Not yet anyway.

Wireless access was spotty today. They’ve locked down the network pretty tight. Too tight if you ask me. Can’t access any of our Terminal Servers and getting a working VPN connection was near impossible. Turns out there is a “wildwest” WLAN at one end of the convention center that is more open, but it isn’t close to many of my sessions.

After the last session, I walked back up to the hotel. Walking the several blocks up to the Courtyard is as fast if not faster than waiting for the bus. I took care of some work items and then changed for the evening’s event, the IT Hero party at On Broadway, a nightclub and corporate event center on 6th & Broadway. Originally a bank building, it has been converted into two floors of themed areas. There are several bars, a couple dance floors, even a billiards room in the former bank vault. It was a bit disorienting winding your way from room to room, but it supported a large crowd easily, as I discovered watching our block-long line slowly get swallowed up by the space.

The food was the usual happy hour items, but everything was tasty. I’m looking forward to a nice meal out, but with two more event nights (Zoo and Sea World parties), it will probably be more of the same until I get home. Along with the free food and drinks, everyone received two shirts. The first was a t-shirt that looks like a blueprint with TechNet sites and Microsoft software product names all over the shirt. Hard for me to describe, but it is one of the more interesting shirts I’ve received. The second shirt was the IT Hero tropical shirt that all the Microsoft staff was wearing. I figured the t-shirt was all we would get, so this was a pleasant surprise. I can always use another tropical shirt.