TechEd Day 3

Hump Day, always the low energy point for me at these conferences. The first couple days you’re pumped up to be at the show, and the last couple days you’re pumped up because you get to go home. Wednesday is the interference point between those waves. Visions of high school and college physics pop into my head.

Anyway…. I attended these sessions on Wednesday:

  • MSGC09 Customizing Outlook Web Access 2003 (Cabana session)
  • WIN336 Addressing Common Windows Terminal Server Pain Points
  • MSG382 Performance Tuning for Exchange 2003
  • WIN396 Deploying Windows XP SP2: Learnings for Early Adopters

The Cabana session as excellent. This was presented by Karim Batthish, the person who helped me with my OWA question. Excellent session. They had so many people that they scheduled another session, upgrading it to a full-blown presentation in one of the breakout rooms. The process isn’t easy… a lot of special URLs, registry hacks, and CSS pages, but for the most part you can get done what you need. Saw some interesting use of OWA components as web parts which gave me some ideas. Now if only we could have received a copy of the Hello Kitty OWA theme. You know you want to read your email in hot pink with little hearts and a blinking kitty. Don’t you?

The Terminal Server (TS) session was interesting, but we’ve delayed deploying 2003 with TS due to licensing costs. I know it was wishful thinking, but it’d be nice if they’d address the most painful of pain points: the requirement to have a CAL. I’d love to roll out TS for students, but the costs for the blanket license for external users (which students qualify as) is still too expensive, even at our academic rates.

The other two sessions were OK, but pretty much a rehash of two other sessions I attended. I know some crossover is unavoidable, but it was excessive here, especially for the SP2 session.

I skipped the last sessions of the day so I could head back to the hotel and rest/nap for a bit. I’ve been walking to and form the convention center the last couple days, skipping the bus. It only takes 10 minutes to walk up to the hotel, the weather has been great, and I’ll be honest here, I really need the exercise.

The Wednesday night event was the Rumble in the Jungle at the Zoo. It only takes 10-15 minutes to get to the zoo from the conference, so that was a nice start to the evening. I remember riding the bus for 45+ minutes to the IT Pro event last year in Dallas, so that was a plus (although the event in Dallas was fun, just a ways out).

I hopped on the first bus tour that was going out since I figured (correctly) you wouldn’t be able to see much after sunset. A lot of the animals were sleeping or otherwise out of sight, but it was still enjoyable. I’ve only been to zoo once before, so I’d like to come back and spend the day seeing it in more detail. The koalas were already asleep, but as I was walking away from the bus loading area, I saw a golf cart zip by with some keepers and a koala heading back, so at least I was able to see one.

Food was pretty good, especially the salmon, but I was disappointed to find that they had some different food over in a different section that I would have liked to have tried. We received the obligatory t-shirt and an 8×10 of the photo they snapped of each of us as we arrived.

After taking an aerial tour of the zoo on the tram, it was time for the concert with… Jessica Simpson. Aside from the fact that she is attractive and most of the people there were guys, I’m not sure how they came to select her for the show. We wouldn’t seem to be her target demographic. But the show was entertaining, and now I can say I’ve been to a Jessica Simpson concert. I heard the attendance at the event was 1500+, so that is probably as intimate a concert as you can get with her.

Afterwards I did some shopping at the gift shops and headed back to the hotel.