TechEd Boston – Day Zero

Well, opening on Sunday was an interesting idea. I’m not sure I’m thrilled by it.


Since I had a lot of time this morning until the conference started, I decided to walk from my hotel to the convention center, and stop at a restaurant in China Town to have lunch. I ate at Chau Chow and although the hotel recommended it and on the walls they have a lot of local awards and even a Zagat rating plaque, the food was very disappointing. It was lacking in flavor, aroma, color, texture and spiciness. I ordered a dish that was marked “hot” but I had to order hot sauce on the side and eventually used it all on the food to add some “kick” to it. Later on that day I discovered that “hot” here in New England is not really spicy, but being blunt was just one out of the faults of their food.


When I was registering at the speakers’ registration room I met up with David Chapel. I really enjoy talking to David. David is talking at the Gartner conference next week on the topic of ESB. We had an interesting conversation on the notion of the ESB, what ESB really means, and what the components of an ESB are, and then ventured off to other topics like Discovery and how people see it. It turned out we have somewhat different (though not necessarily opposing) experiences when Discovery is concerned. David sees people not caring too much about it (i.e. Discovery is not important since everything is pre-configured anyway) and I see people falling into 2 camps – the “don’t care” folks that never even mention the topic and the “must have” folks who say that without an ESB SOA become large-scale spaghetti code. We did agree that most organizations come to a point when they look into Discovery.


The keynote was OK. Ray Ozzie talked about his personal history, which closely follows the history of innovation in computing. I was fairly interesting and set the ground for his vision of what’s coming up next, the next disruptive change: Client-Service-Services. The demos were good and short. The only problem was that they were targeting a too diverse audience, and so some demos were addressing the IT Pro community (virtualization, improvements in deployment, etc.) and some targeted developers (using Expressions to design the app, VS to do the code behind, and ClickOnce to deploy). Overall, the message sounded a little mixed and unfocused.


They got Mary Lynn Rajskub who plays Chloe O'Brian on the TV show 24 to come on stage and liven things up a bit. Bob announced her to be The IT Goddess J. Too bad I don’t follow TV, or I’m sure I would have appreciated this even more (I’m told that 24 is a great show). She was pretty good and kept tings light and somewhat funny. At some point she brought 3 developers from the audience to the stage, held hands with them, and publicly apologized for making things look so easy on TV and setting unrealistic expectations J She also said that the slogan “Do More with Less” should be changed to “Do More with More” – more resources, bigger budgets, faster computers J. They even ended 10 minutes BEFORE the specified time, which is pretty impressive.


As it turns out, most of my fellow speakers are at a difference (far away) hotel so after calling Don Smith to find about dinner I decided to eat at my hotel. I went into McCormick & Schmick here at the hotel for dinner and had a wonderful “spicy” blackened Halibut on rice and Jambalaya. I met Mark and Bryan from Crowe Chizek and Company and we had an interesting discussion about strategies for smart client connectivity, followed by a discussion on the differences between the US and Israeli army experience. An interesting thing about Crowe Chizek and Company is that their business cards do not have a title on them. Mark explained that since titles mean nothing outside of the company, there’s no point in putting them on the cards. They do have their certifications noted on the card so we decided to come up with certifications with interesting acronyms that they can put on their cards, like Distributed Unified Development Evangelist - hey, that's what I do J.


That was yesterday - today the real deal is starting. I can't wait!

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