Show Off at PDC 2005

Although I haven't had the time to blog about my experience, I attended SIGGRAPH 2005 at the Los Angeles Convention Center last week, and it was an amazing show. On Tuesday night, I attended a 2-hour event called the Electronic Theater where a sold-out audience of thousands watched short video clips of the latest and greatest work in computer generated animation. While waiting (in the long line) to get into the room, people were buzzing with excitement about what they would see and who would be showing their work. The presentations were short, and each video segment introduced the artists, the project, and the tools that were used. Not only was this a great way to see what could be accomplished with specific toolsets, but it was also very inspirational. Each clip ended with generous applause and a showing of strong support. About half-way through the show I wondered: "why don't we do something like this at the PDC?"

Fortunately, we have a very cool PDC committee who connected with the idea almost instantly (it's great to work at this company!). So, with a nod to SIGGRAPH's Electronic Theater, we propose a PDC 2005 2-hour session called Show Off. The concept: "Why demo your cool application to a few friends, when you can Show Off to thousands of your peers at the PDC?"

The important bits:

  • You and/or your team put together a single WMV file that shows off something cool about your application, tool, technique (or whatever).
  • This is a Microsoft developer conference, so make sure that it uses at least some of our technology. 🙂
  • Videos are limited to 5 minutes.
  • It's content that counts. A Channel 9 "guerilla-style" hand-held video format is perfect.
  • If you want to use a screen capture application like Camtasia Studio or HyperCam (or even mix it with real video), go for it!
  • Be creative. Show something cool that would excite your peers.
  • You'd privately host the WMV file yourself, let us know where it is, and we'd collect it for consideration.
  • We reserve the right to pick which videos we show at the PDC for completely arbitrary and geeky reasons.
  • At some point, possibly right after the Show Off session at the PDC, you'd allow us to link from Channel 9 to your video for the whole world to see.

During the submission process, we'd collect any project/team names, developer details, tools used, and contact information (if you want others to be able to contact you about your awesome work). If we show your clip at the event, we'll include this information at the start of the video.

So, what do you think? Would you participate? We're trying to gauge interest before we spend a bunch of time on this. Please share this link with your developer friends, regardless of their ability to attend the PDC. Leave comments. Send e-mail.

Is this a good idea?

Update: In case you're wondering, you can pretty much show off anything with a Microsoft developer story. Maybe you have a 5-minute tour of awesome scripting or keyboard shortcuts in Visual Studio 2005. Or perhaps you created a cool XAML animation for the Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly known as "Avalon"). Or, you've come up with a great way to automate your build and testing cycle. Or think of it this way: if you had five minutes to show off some tip, technique, tool, code sample, or project to your developer friends, what would it be? We obviously don't want commercials, but if it's something geeky about a commercial product, that's good too!

Comments (24)
  1. This is a great idea. I just wish there was more time to prepare. We are in early development so putting together a demo is more work than for a shipping product.

  2. tomas says:

    I really like the idea but I will have to ponder how to animate cryptography 😉

  3. mswanson says:

    Michael…you don’t have to show an end-to-end application. If you built the application using cool tools, or if you have one piece of your project done that you can demonstrate, that would work just fine.

    tomas…I’m all over crypto! Remember, real geeks attend the PDC…they don’t need polish. If it’s cool at the command-line, we’re all over it! For example, the Channel 9 MONAD demo was very popular:

  4. Roland says:

    I would definitely give it a thought for presenting my add-in GhostDoc ( It will be quite a challenge, as there’s a huge difference for me between *writing* in English and *speaking* English in front of a camera (I’m german), but hey, I’d give it a try!

    When can we expect a decision on whether the "Show Off" session will happen?

  5. mswanson says:

    Roland…we hope to make a decision by mid-next-week. Since this is really a "community" project, it completely depends on the kind of feedback we get.

  6. Paul Farnell says:

    That’s a really neat idea. Perhaps if you do it, you could make available the entire 2 hour video, rather than just linking to individual bits? I won’t be able to attend, but I’d love to sit down and watch the whole video, and I’m sure others would too.

  7. El Bruno says:

    Great Idea !!! I’ll post this "news" in my Spanish blog … and I hope you can do the same in a Spanish PDC.

    Great Idea again !!! I’ll try to make a short video to show a couple of ideas and projects of my own …

    Bye from Spain

    El Bruno

  8. Hartvig says:

    Excellent idea to show the diversity of the Microsoft developer community! We’ll try to pack some stuff together about umbraco – our open source ASP.NET based web development framework/cms. I’ll be at PDC too. Looking forward to see what videos you’ll get!

    /hartvig –

  9. I think it’s a great idea, I’ll be at PDC and may be I’d like to give you my 2 cents.

  10. What Is New says:

    Get your new Tablet PC application demo videos ready for the Show Off at PDC 2005.

  11. bonk says:

    Maybe you can do something with my PDC TRailer?:

    At th end of <a href="">this article</a> you find the URLs to the wmv 🙂

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  17. Paul Mooney says:

    &quot;Why demo your cool application to a few friends, when you can Show Off to thousands of your peers at…

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  19. Buzzcast #12 (T-7 days) features Thomas Lewis talking about the Thursday evening Show Off Night.&amp;nbsp;…

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