A Day in the Life of a Tech Ed Attendee#

6:30am: Alarm. Make it stop.

6:40am: Consciousness begins to arrive in a form that lets me know I may well have drank as many Guinness last night as I thought I did. Must be that sensation that one eye is actually larger than the other, and the large one is trying to jump out of my head. Water... must have water.

6:42am: A painful epiphany. I suddenly understand how the hotels get away with charging $5.50 for a one liter bottle of water (the same bottle I mocked so cruelly when I got to my room on Saturday).

6:45am: Bottle empty. Limp into the shower, get dressed, get out of the room. Need food.

7:20am: Another cool, cloudy day in San Diego. The long three block walk (they're BIG blocks) from the hotel to the conference center.

7:40am: Breakfast. If you've never been to Tech Ed before, this is when the size of the event you're at really hits you. You're about to have breakfast with ten thousand people. Of course, most of them are not as diligent as you and are still rolling around in their beds (or just can't bring themselves to pay that much for a bottle of water). So, most of the seats are empty.

8:00am: Finish breakfast quickly, since although there is still a half hour before the first session starts, apparently its actually in the next state over, although I'll be able to walk indoors the whole way. Breakfast itself is a relatively palatable, if not particularily exciting combination of scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes and toast. Along the way, I find that cup of tea I couldn't seem to get at breakfast.

8:30am: First session, Michele Leroux Bustamente's Inside the ASP.NET Runtime - Intercepting HTTP Requests. Before the session I chat with some attendees about the cruelty of having sessions start so early. Even with the early start time, the room is packed. Session totally rocks, MLB is an ASP.NET goddess. Turns out the photo really was a bit blurry - I thought it was my eyes.

9:50am: Quick hello to MLB who is surrounded by attendees who have questions. Second cup of tea. Body is approaching a civilized state.

10:15am: Second session, Kimberly Tripp's The Clustered Index Debate, in the very same room that MLB did her talk in the hour previously. Kim Tripp was the #1 speaker at Tech Ed Dallas last year. In ten minutes, I can see why - she's excited to talk about SQL Server, her style is casual and comfortable, and she has a knack of reminding you of how smart you are, not just how smart she is (and she's wicked smart, without a doubt).

10:45am: A third of the way through the session I realize I'm completely familiar with the technologies she's talking about and agree with everything she's saying... why should I tie up a seat with so many others (and paying customers to boot) having to stand? So I cut out early. Head out from the breakout rooms into the Cabana area. Encounter Ted Neward, Rocky Lhotka and several attendees embroiled in a serious debate about how evil the GAC is and whether or not regular mortal programmers should ever install anything there.

11:30am: Heading out from the Cabana area to the other breakout room area, I find Kate Gregory on her way to the Women in Technology Luncheon... back on the other side of the Cabanas. It is starting imminently, so I tag along, obsensibly as a blocker (she's not just attending the luncheon, she's on the panel). Unfortunately, wires are crossed and as we descend to the lower level of the conference center, realize that we were already on the right side of things and now have to walk all the way back to get to Hall G.

2:00pm: The panel breaks up to lots of applause. The audience was mostly women, who make up a larger portion of the Tech Ed attendees than you might think. During the panel the comment was made that of the 146 Regional Directors worldwide, only four are women... on the other hand, three of those four (Kim Tripp, MLB and Kate Gregory) are at Tech Ed, while only about fifty male RDs are here. They may be a minority, but they're a very talented and sought after minority.

2:15pm: Walk with Kim Tripp (and explain why I left her session early - it rocked, really!) up to Room 20D where she promised to take pictures of a friend. Stop off at the PC Gaming Pit to watch some Unreal Tournament 2004.

2:45pm: The great ice cream container shuffle has begun! I catch this picture of the conference center staff shuffling all the ice cream freezers away. That rare and most precious event at Tech Ed is approaching...

3:15pm: The race is on! The ice cream freezers return, the terrified conference center staff push them as fast as they can back to their designated spot with hordes of geeks in pursuit! The moment the freezer stops moving (and the staff leaps out of the way) the Haagen-Daz goes flying!

3:16pm: Shutout again! I arrive at the ice cream freezer too late: only strawberry and lime fruit pops left.

3:20pm: Dejected, wander down to the Exhibit hall... just in time for it to close at 3:30pm.

3:45pm: Return to the Cabana area (easily the best part of Tech Ed) and sit with a bunch of folks... some RDs, some speakers, some attendees, some Microsoft folks, and just talk shop for awhile. A long while. Its amazing, really. We all have different jobs, but we all like the same things. Everyone shows off their laptops and rationale for why they chose them (I left my laptop back at the hotel so I wouldn't be distracted).

5:00pm: Head back to the hotel, just going to drop some things off, change my shirt and come back down for a drink before going off to the Tech Ed party at 7pm.

7:00pm: Run downstairs to catch everyone leaving for the party... I made the mistake of logging on and having the world come crashing down on me. Left so quickly, I forgot the camera.

10:30pm: Returning from the party, stop off for a nightcap in the lounge at the hotel.

1:40am: Closed down the bar again. Drank too many Guinness. Falling asleep.

Thursday, May 27, 2004 8:54:15 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) #    Comments [0]  |  Tracked by:
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