I learned the difference between "version X hardware" and "Xth generation hardware" (Tablet is in its 3rd generation, while I'm calling it version 2, to sync up with operating system releases)
I learned that our efforts at fostering a Tablet ecosystem are paying off, with vendors such as Mindjet and Motion telling us that we're doing a good job, to keep up the good work.
I learned that Tablets in academia is a hot topic right now, having spoken to several academic computing representatives at the show, as well as having read a couple of articles in USAToday mentioning Tablets. I was especially pleased to read that competitive bids for Tablets are meeting bids for non-Tablets. That's a big deal.
Update 6/15/05: added link to Ed Baig's IBM X41 review here
I re-learned that attendees to shows prioritize resources (e.g. Hands-on Labs) differently than they do events (e.g. talks). They're smart and they know that the labs and exhibit floor are continuously available, while talks and seminars, if you miss them are only available on the TechEd DVDs if at all. But they'll do anything for booth babes and swag.
Tablet traditionally gives away nice items for doing the labs and this year was no exception. When we realized how few people were attending our HoLs, we did a little guerilla marketing, a little talking up the labs in the booth, and a little outright bribery. It's too bad that our labs didn't have good signage, or get the little feedback link until Wednesday, or I think we'd be top 5 in Dick's most popular labs list. Maybe next year though, marketing will ask us down in engineering what is valuable, instead of guessing and embarrassing us. 32MB and 64MB USB keys? Hotspot cards? Nobody wanted these, especially compared to the incredible value of a Wacom digitizer.
I had a great time meeting all of the attendees, even if neither of my readers came to see me 🙂
It's great to get the pulse of IT, to see and hear how Tablets are being used in the many different ways you've implemented. I certainly plan to adjust my thinking somewhat, to account for what I've learned at TechEd.
If I don't see you in the next year, I'll certainly catch up with you in Boston! (TechEd06)