When I went to work three weeks ago, on Tuesday the 9th, I never imagined that by the next day I would be attending Tech Ed 2011 in Atlanta. On Tuesday, my boss comes at 15:30 asking me if I could travel to Atlanta by Sunday. The next day everything was confirmed, and I spent the rest of the week registering, and preparing the trip.
If I could make a one word definition of Tech Ed would be: Huge.
Everything is big, very northamerican. 10K geeks in a convention centre, with unlimited amounts of coffee and soft drinks, junk food, and t-shirts from vendors.
TechEd was held this year at Atlanta, GA, at the GWCC, lots of time just walking from one venue to the other, I timed myself going from the “C” wing to the “A” wing, at opposite sides and it took me 30 minutes, without much “traffic”.
On the serious side, to see the authors of your favourite reference books in live action is priceless, Mark Russinovich (Sys internals), Johan Arwidmark (OS Depoyment), Laura Chapell (Wireshark), Andy Malone (IT Security), Mark Minasi (Networking).
Thanks to my daughter, I had the opportunity of doing a “social experiment”. She loaned me her teddy bear, named JuanFe, so that I wouldn’t be alone at Atlanta. So I travelled with it, and decided to shoot some pictures of JuanFe attending the conference. One day I took JuanFe in my backpack, with his head poking out. It was hilarious to see the expressions of the people looking at me with the bear, but no one approached me to talk, curiously, only the catering people who were serving breakfast, took notice and did some positive remarks; on the other hand, I was on an electric stair, and I heard a comment on my back: “he must be a fag”, I think they assumed I didn’t hear them, or that I didn’t spoke english. At the end, I reaffirmed the notion that people most of the time is prejudiced, and are affraid of the difference.
Its funny how 7000 people can be alone at the same time, most of them don’t talk with each other, most of them are just staring at their laptops, iPads, or Blackberries, perfectly ignoring the world around them.
I will try to document with pics.
Logistics is an art, being able to keep happy and feed 10k geeks under 45 minutes takes lots of preparation.
The staff of the GWCC and Event Force made a great job. Also the drivers of the buse and hotels. They all try to greet you with a smile, even if most of the time people don’t answer back, or after 12 hours or more of work.
On the Geek side, Microsoft main themes on the conference are Cloud based services (Azure), and Windows 7 mobile, all products supporting some sort of connectivity end to end, from server backend to windows phone. SCCM 2012 is promising integration with mobile devices, IOS mac, Nokia Symbian, Android, but no blackberry, nothing.
Its hard to do a presentation in Tech Ed, people go to the events, but very few pay attention, they are surfing the web, facebook, or even playing solitaire on their gizmos, is someone forcing them to come here?
On the other side, there is people, lots of them actually; that cannot unplug from work, they are trying to do both things at the same time.
It was a little frustrating that my work issued Blackberry is locked down, therefore I couldn’t access the conference website, nor download the app for scanning barcode and participate in a virtual easter egg hunt.