Sensor development kits were flying off the shelves

After the Sensor and Location Platform PDC presentation, people were stopping by the booth and grabbing sensor hardware and development kits like they were candy. Then again, to geeks, this stuff is candy.

(And technically, they weren't flying off shelves. They were flying out of bins. Well, and technically they weren't flying either.)

Other notes from the last day of the 2008 PDC:

  • PDC content honcho Mike Swanson announced that PDC 2008 sessions and keynotes are now up for download, and will be available indefinitely. Available in Silverlight for live streaming, or in iTunes format, WMV, high-quality WMV (this one includes video of the speakers), and Zune for offline viewing. In response, Nigel Parker created the PDC session firehose.
  • Sometimes, when you make the sign too big, nobody can see it. Someone came up to me asking where the Azure booth was. I pointed at the insanely huge banner. "Probably somewhere over there."
  • The reason why room 406A is on the third floor but you press 2 to get there: The room numbers at the convention center are numbered based on room clusters. The 100's in one cluster, the 400's are in another cluster, etc. The "4" in 406 doesn't mean fourth floor; it means fourth cluster. And why do you push 2 to get to the third floor? Because Level 1 is a split level which occupies two floors. Therefore, in the elevator, there are two buttons to get to Level 1, depending on whether you want the upper half or lower half. Cluster 4 is on Level 2, so the button for that is 3.
  • A video of carrots. If you had come to my PDC talk, you'd understand. (The carrot joke elicited a mild chuckle from the main room, but I'm told that in the overflow room it totally killed. I'm not sure what that says about people in the overflow room. It really wasn't that great a joke, people.)
  • At Ask the Experts, I started out at one of the Windows 7 tables, and we speculated as to what the most obscure technical question would be. One of my colleagues suggested that it would be a BitLocker question. And what would you know, the very first person to come to our table had a BitLocker question. Later in the evening, I moved to another Windows 7 table and posed the same question. At the second table, we figured that the most obscure technical question would be about the dispatcher spinlock. About fifteen minutes later, somebody stopped by with a question about the dispatcher spinlock. I decided to stop playing this game. It was too much like a Twilight Zone episode.
  • One attendee was shy about speaking English (not being a native speaker) and came up with a clever solution: The attendee walked up to our table, said, "I have some questions, can you read them?" and then opened a laptop computer where a Word document awaited with the four questions already typed up in a large font so everybody could read them. We answered the questions, and everybody seemed pleasantly surprised with how well this approach worked.
  • At the end of the conference the Channel 9 folks held a giveaway for their giant beanbags. Like anybody would be able to take a giant beanbag home on the airplane. (Second prize: Two beanbags!)
  • James Senior has the PDC by the numbers. I have trouble believing the number of bananas consumed, though. Twenty-five bananas in four days? Perhaps we should start calling James Monkey Boy.
Comments (21)
  1. John says:

    Somebody should put together a DVD set with all the videos and supplements.  I downloaded about 20 of the high def WMV files and all told they’re over 6 GB in size.  Those were only the ones with interesting titles / abstracts in my area of expertise; there were quite a few more outside my normal scope that sounded interesting.

    [Would you pay $100 for a 10-DVD set of stuff you could download for free? -Raymond]
  2. mvadu says:

    You can watch Ray’s talk here

  3. mvadu says:

    oops.. I am sorry, I should have clicked through all links Raymond has given, he has already linked to his channel9 page.

  4. JS says:

    I snagged a sensor kit the second they brought in the bin.  Mostly for the accelerometer and USB-programmable microcontroller.  Lots of possibilities there–way more interesting than making text bigger in direct sunlight (did anyone else think that would be distracting on, say, a day with patchy clouds, when your text keeps jumping around as you’re trying to read it?)

  5. woeirucqnoweiruc says:

    Merci de m’avoir pris comme exemple! Peut-être qu’un jour ma poésie sera mieux reconnue.

  6. Mike Dunn says:

    I hung around the C9 lounge to see what people would do with their beanbag chairs. A few people just carried them out as-is over their shoulders. The folks who had to fly home unzipped the bottom of the chairs and poured the filling material into trash cans.

  7. John says:

    [Would you pay $100 for a 10-DVD set of stuff you could download for free? -Raymond]

    $100?  No.  Something less?  Perhaps.  People buy bottled water.

  8. Nicole DesRosiers says:

    When my friends and I were in Japan, we left some of our baggage in Kyoto Station, only realizing it when we were about thirty minutes from arriving at Tokyo Station.  I used those last thirty minutes to write down a quick description of our bags and an explanation of what happened while referencing my electronic dictionary, and when we went to the lost and found station I basically just handed the sheet of paper to the attendant.  It was much better than trusting on my memory to deliver me the right words at the right time.  I didn’t have that luxury in the followup discussion, but I think it was the best start we could have had to the conversation.

  9. Offtopic Nitpicker says:

    > “iTunes format”

    This expression offends me. You probably meant “in a format compatible with the iPod”, which is what they use over at Channel 9 and is a bit more correct.

    There’s no such thing as “iTunes format”. In fact, the only thing that something resembling iTunes (QuickTime) helped to define is the container format. The audio and video codecs come from elsewhere. Moreover, I think (but I’m not sure) these files were generated without the help of any Apple software at all.

    [That inaccuracy was on purpose. “iTunes format” = 2 words. “In a format compatible with the iPod” = 7 words, and out of balance with the other items in the list. Okay, maybe “iPod format” would have been better. I assumed the readers would be able to translate “iTunes format” into the appropriate long form. I was apparently once again badly mistaken. -Raymond]
  10. Todd S. says:

    Hi Raymond,

    Thanks for all the useful and INTERESTING information you keep posting.  I did not attend the conference, and would like to know how to get my hands on one of the sensor/location kits.  Many thanks.

    Todd S.

  11. Todd S. says:

    Hi Raymond,

    Thanks for all the useful and INTERESTING information you keep posting.  I did not attend the conference, and would like to know how to get my hands on one of the sensor/location kits.  Many thanks.

    Todd S.

  12. manicmarc says:

    6GB? That’s 2 single layer DVDs. I’m sure it would cost a lot less than £100, even at current exchange rates!

    [6GB for 20 talks, which is less than 10% of the total PDC content. -Raymond]
  13. James Senior says:

    Monkey Boy? Hey, with more than 6,000 attendees that’s 18.5 bananas each, I wasn’t the only monkey! :-)



  14. Cheong says:

    Would you pay $100 for a 10-DVD set of stuff you could download for free? -Raymond

    Perhaps, or it’d be nice if the pack is included in MSDN / Technet subscription… :P

    Seems it’s like 2 months since they sent me disks last time…

  15. Worf says:

    I think iTunes format is perfectly descriptive. You import it into iTunes, after all. Then you can use iTunes to copy it to your iPod to view it on the go. Or watch it on your laptop using iTunes. Or use iTunes to sync it with your iPhone or AppleTV. It all revolves around iTunes.

    Since it is a technical audience, "QuickTime" format would work, or, "MPEG 4" (though, people also call DivX/XviD (MPEG-4 ASP/SP, in AVI container) "MPEG 4").

    But "iTunes format" (QuickTime/Part 14/3GP containered h.264 / AAC) conveys it so much more succintly.

  16. Todd S. says:

    > "iTunes format"

    This expression offends me.

    That are worse things to be offended by (such as the state of the economy)!  This seems to be an exaggerated overreaction from someone whose life is obviously limited to computers.

    Todd S.

  17. Dmitry Kolosov says:

    "Available in Silverlight for live streaming"

    Which somehow does not work for me. Did I have to install this new feature only to be able to see the black rectangle instead of "Install Silverlight" prompt?

    Sometimes I think Microsoft introduces new things only to maintain incompatibility with something (flv, in this case) that has already existed for a long time.

    Sorry for off-topic. Couldn’t help.

  18. Yuhong Bao says:

    "(And technically, they weren’t flying off shelves. They were flying out of bins. Well, and technically they weren’t flying either.)"

    Yep, it is an expression.

  19. Marc Wickens says:

    I have downloaded it. Thanks :)

    I have had to uninstall Silverlight.

    On my low-end system (2GB RAM, 1.5Ghz Celeron, so now *that* low-end), I just can’t have IE/Firefox having a higher priority.

    My system just crawls. Surley is every application considered itself important enough to do this, we’d be in a very bad position.

    I did google it and found something about Multimedia Class Scheduler. Yes if it’s a full screen DVD or full screen game, then assume I am doing one thing. Otherwise don’t :)

  20. Dave says:

    >Would you pay $100 for a 10-DVD set of stuff you could download for free?

    Given that some of us live in countries where downloading 10 DVDs worth would cost > $100 anyway (if you could even manage it because of bandwidth caps as low as 1GB/month), I’d have to say “Yes”. Even ignoring the cost, the 10 DVDs would take nearly 8 years to download on a 1GB capped link.

    [Are you really going to watch all 200+ hours of content? -Raymond]
  21. Todd S. says:

    Never mind my earlier question about the sensor kits – sorry I asked.

    Todd S.

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