Our United flight from San Francisco to Sydney was largely uneventful, but served as reminder (my last 747 flight was in '88) that Economy Class bites. I had planned to rehearse my demos sometime during the flight, but there was so little space I didn't bother powering up my notebook. I had even carted the heavy, external battery with me to maximize my time.
Sydney was overcast when we arrived. In customs, these cute little AQIS (Australian Quarantine and Inspections Services) dogs sniffed-out a bag of beef jerky we had brought for snacking on the flight. I hadn't considered it when we brought it, but apparently you can't bring such stuff into Australia and they confiscated it. We finally cleared immigration & customs and found our way over to the Qantas domestic flights.
On our flight to Adelaide, a flight attendant confiscated my wife's knitting needles. Although they were permitted on the international flight from the States, they aren't permitted on domestic flights in Australia. We're really causing havoc here, eh?
After a 2-hour hop from Sydney, we finally made it to our final destination for today: a very sunny Adelaide. It was a short taxi ride to the Hilton Adelaide, which is where the launch event is on Tuesday.
We spent the afternoon setting-up the demo PC for the keynote demos & the Developer Track sessions. However, as soon as we got the demo VPC squared away, the PC went on the fritz and stopped working. I guess it didn't tolerate being shuttled around the world from event to event. We then had to do the work all over again on another PC.
For the Community Launch on Monday evening, it was a short walk from the hotel to the Microsoft Adelaide office. Lots of VB (Victoria Bitter) beer at this event. I finally met Team System MVP Joe Sango from Melbourne and Developer Evangelist David Lemphers, who I was supposed to meet at TechReady in Seattle earlier this year. After an hour or so, we Went back to the hotel and continued to work on the demo machine. Finally went to bed at 2 AM (effectively 7 AM internal clock time).
I had an early wake-up to rehearse keynote demo, which for me felt like a total disaster when mixed with sleep deprivation. With the event just an hour away, it must've really freaked-out Andrew Coates, but he wasn't showing it. The actual keynote demo went off pretty well, I think.
For the afternoon dev track session, things began to go awry in the dev segment, which ended about the time that the session was supposed to finish. I started my tester piece, but I made a wrong click or two and had to get unstuck. After publishing the site (in prep to demo Web tests), it was puking all over the place and I found myself living in demo hell. Turns out the default site in IIS wasn't set to use ASP.NET 2.0. After tweaking that, the site worked fine, but we had already pulled the plug and moved to the next session.
Nicole and I then jumped the free city loop bus and rode it around to the National Wine Center of Australia. In one exhibit, we created two virtual silver-medal wines - a riesling and a shiraz. After going through the exhibits, we tasted eight local wines. Most of them were quite good, but one or two were disappointing.
Back at the hotel, we met up with Frank Arrigo, Jeff Alexander, Joe Sango, David Lemphers & others in the lobby bar where we waited on Andrew Coates and Dave Glover to finish their last session. For the first stop of the Steak House Tour of Australia we went to Gauchos - awesome steak, great local wine, and terrific company. Overall, a fantastic ending to an otherwise challenging time in Adelaide. Then it was back to the hotel to crash and up early for the flight to Melbourne.