Tech-Ed 2007: Day Three

It's the end of day three at Tech-Ed 2007. My only question is what happened to day 2? It must be around here somewhere!

Today was a booth day almost from beginning to end. I never really intended to follow such a course, but the fates were against me. My actual assignment was to man the C# LINQ booth from 9 to 12, which is not at all a long watch. How it stretched into an entire day at the booth I don't know.

In the morning the rest of the team was engaged in a customer visit with Electronic Arts. That was fine with me, as I usually prefer chatting with a miscellany of customers to finding myself pinned down in a closed room with one customer, no matter how important. Of course, when the customer is EA, one worries a little bit missing the opportunity to walk away from the meeting laden down with cool games and other freebees, but as it turned out, my concern was not merited. And while wandering the floor of the convention center, I ended up stumbling on a free copy of a Windows Server 2008 book, which while not quite as enticing as a cool game, is nevertheless significantly more useful.

This being my third day at Tech-Ed, I began to consider myself a hoary and jaded veteran. I now walked the vast reaches of the convention hall with a cocky jaunt to my stride. What cause to fret about the vast reaches of this endless hall? Why concern myself with such an accumulation of experienced brain power walking between the blue, green and yellow primary colors of the demo booths?

I had my LINQ demos by rote after three days of repetition in front of countless visitors to our little blue both. Unfortunately the attendees were starting to learn quite a bit about LINQ, and were now raising increasingly complex questions. I managed to put a few of the most persistent expert questioners off for a time with a series of vague promises. When they proved depressingly persistent, I found rolled up my sleeves and began hacking LINQ as best I could in pursuit of answers to their queries. With three or four of us gathered around the screen, we ended up making fairly good progress, and I found that I learned more in a few of those sessions than I normally do in a week. Though no one, including myself, wants to pair program, the sad fact of the matter is that it works.

It was, of course, 10 minutes after 1 PM when I started to think about lunch. By the time I made it to the cafeteria style line, everything was closed down. I found that desert was still laid out at a few of the tables, and settled into a repast of sickeningly sweet pastry that tickled my taste buds but no doubt shortening my life span. Why did things like that never happen to me when I was a kid and in a position to properly appreciate a meal that consisted entirely of desert?

After lunch I made a desperate foray at avoiding the booth by attending a technical session. In the next hour I saw a lot of demos on WPF and Windows forms, but wasn't sure that I learned nearly as much as I did fielding customer questions at our booth. So soon I was back in harness at the blue demo station, tracking down obscure LINQ operators, discussing optimization issues, and trying without much success to parse the code in Anders' Dynamic Query demo.

I did manage to escape for a few minutes later in the afternoon so I could chase down a rumor about 2 GB SD cards selling for $22 a pop. This seemed like such a fantastic deal to me that it was not until after I bought one that it finally occurred to me that if 2 GB cards were now cheap, then 4 GB cards are probably also coming down in price. And of course it was not until I actually began to write these sentences that I really questioned whether or not I actually needed another 2 GB SD card. Such is the fate of the 21st Century consumer in thrall to the lure of small electronic gadgets.

Still -- 2 GB for $22! Why, I remember when...

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