Today is my first day back in the office after participating in TechEd EMEA last week in Barcelona. I am starting to get groggy from jet lag, but wanted to put down a few details about my experience there.
This year was the first year that we had a dedicated Embedded track and we had a total of 29 sessions (breakout presentations,interactive sessions, labs and panel discussions) covering Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Embedded CE, . POS for .NET, NavReady and also .NET Micro Framework. We had a pretty good turnout to the presentations- roughly 30-50 people per session. Most of the content we presented was at an introductory level as we were exposing our products to a whole new audience.
I delivered two presentations, one on "Introduction to Windows Embedded Standard" and then one on "Building Custom OS Images Using Windows Embedded Standard" which detailed some of the planning, footprint, servicing and security aspects when building an image. I had 48 people at the first session, which went smoothly, and 31 in the second, which had some technical glitches forcing some inventiveness on the part of the audio\visual support crew in the room and then I ran out of time in the demo so never got to show the final mage booting off USB key with my cool custom shells, different security permissions for different users and File Based Write Filter <sigh>. I had a very patient and understanding audience. I did set up my demo image in the booth on the exhibition floor after my session so that it was available for people to come by and see if they wanted to, and a few did.
We did not do as well with the interactive sessions. For the session on "Protecting a Windows Embedded Standard Image With Write Filters", which was designed to be a deeper dive into these features and a general forum for a more in-depth look at any aspect of Standard that the audience wanted, I only had one attendee (so he got a very in-depth and personalized tour of the product!) and we had no one turn up for our panel discussion on all Embedded products. It might have been because there was a conflict with one of the cool CE sessions at the time, given by Doug Boling, one of the embedded MVPs.
I got to meet with some of our ISV Gold partners as well – MPC-Data, based in the UK, and Theoris, based in France, and got some good questions and also suggestions from them. One of the highlights for me was being invited to attend a dinner with some for the top software architects that are regular and very popular speakers at Microsoft events (David Chappell, Pat Helland, Roy Osherove, Udi Dahan etc.). It was a very enlightening evening and conversation ranged from software to earthquakes to nutrition! Mostly what struck me was that with any topic these guys can instantly understand the problem and issues, and can almost always provide a perspective that you would not have considered.
Overall it was an enjoyable conference, and I look forward to our continuing participation in TechEd moving forward, and also to diving into more detailed topics for the Windows Embedded product family.