For those of you who missed the last Visual Studio 2008 install-fest in our area last month, you missed a good time! Right before the holidays, on December 20th, the NYC .NET Developers group hosted a Visual Studio 2008 installfest. This was the biggest one in our area with over 150 people turning out.
Bill Zack and I decided to try and do something fun for the meeting. At the beginning of the meeting, we told the attendees that the box with the Visual Studio 2008 DVDs had not arrived yet, but that we were hoping they’d arrive shortly.
We then showed the audience a slide show that Bill and I had put together earlier in the day featuring us gallivanting around midtown Manhattan with a special visitor. The slide show featured the character John 117 (you may know him by his more popular name “Master Chief”) from the Halo game series taking in the NYC holiday sites.
You can download the PowerPoint deck here to see our midtown hi-jinx yourself!
Note: For those of you who have attended any recent events in Microsoft’s New York City office, you’re probably aware that we’ve been facing challenges with building security since new building management took over a few months ago. (We apologize for that, and are looking to improve things for future events.)
The final slide showed a picture of John 117 signing in at the building’s security station. Yes, even John 117 had to sign-in with the guards. Then, to surprise everyone, John 117 entered the room with the box of Visual Studio 2008 DVDs for the install-fest!
A special thanks goes out to Bill’s son Steven Zack who donned the John 117 costume at the meeting and around midtown!
I admit, when I first agreed to do this with Bill, I was a bit skeptical. It seemed like something out of an episode of the Apprentice. But once we hit the streets with John 117, it was a real blast!
Here are some fun tidbits from behind the scenes of making that slide deck.
- Don’t expect to walk around midtown Manhattan in a costume and take the type of fun pictures we did for the slide deck in less than an hour. You will be mobbed by people every few feet who want to take their picture with you! Yes, people say New Yorkers don’t pay attention to silly gimmicks or celebrities on the street. That may be true for the native New Yorkers, but midtown in December is full of tourists! We made a lot of kids (and adults) happy that day when they got a picture with John 117.
- Cell phone camera really rule. Even when we didn’t stop to take a formal picture with folks, we’d see people pulling out cell phones left and right just to snap a shot of John 117 as he walked by!
- Don’t take your picture with a member of the NYPD. They’re not allowed to be photographed on duty, but they must be Halo fans, because they sure loved taking pictures of John 117. As we walked the streets, we’d hear people shouting out “Hey… Master Chief!” And most of those shouts came from members of New York’s finest on street patrol.
- You’d be surprised at how many people are running around midtown Manhattan in a costume on a random Thursday! We passed folks dressed up as the Statue of Liberty, those statue people with all the silver make-up, the NJ Titan’s mascot, and even Elmo from Sesame Street. Although, somehow, I don’t think Elmo was really associated with the folks at PBS. The Elmo we met was taking photos with kids in exchange for money. When John 117 walked by and kids ran up to him for photos instead, the Elmo character started getting mad at us and waving his money cup at us so that we’d move on! (Only in New York I guess?!)
- In the subway… no one looked at all. I mean it! On a crowded N train, not a single person LOOKED at John 117. Everyone stared at the floor or the ads on the ceiling.
- And, the best part of all in my opinion… While walking the streets with John 117, even those native New Yorkers who like to pretend to ignore celebrities would look up at the last possible minute with a smile and smirk. Yes, even New Yorker’s have a sense of humor. It felt great to bring smiles to all those people!
Thanks to everyone who attended the install-fests last month in our area. Your continued support of local user groups is what makes these types of events possible!