Ghosts of TechEd Past -- 2003

Dallas, Texas

Anybody remember this phone? It was in the hands of many 2003 TechEd attendees at the Dallas Convention Center because Microsoft and Sprint were loaning them to use during the show. Of course, they took your credit card information in case you wanted to keep it. I kept it (although they never charged me the $600+ it should have cost) and it went in the history books as my first smartphone and my first with a full qwerty keyboard. It even had a front facing camera! Actually it had a single camera that could rotate from front to back, but, it still counts.

2003 was the year the mini-guide transformed into a mini-book rather than the fold out map like configuration of years past. Product announcements include SQL Server 2000 Reporting Services and Exchange Server 2003 RC1. We got our first taste of SQL Server “Yukon”, which ended up as SQL Server 2005. To go along with the Hitachi phones they handed out, sessions such as “Introduction to Smartphone Development” and “.NET Compact Framework: Mobilizing Your Desktop Applications”. Mobile app development was clearly ahead of its time.

Where’s Wanda?

Wireless Wanda was a promotion they ran where a woman named “Wanda” would come online on Messenger with her location. You had to go to that location and get a token from her that you could redeem for stuff. I never got there in time, but once the conference was over, I did abscond with one of the signs. I kept that sign in my office for years. Wireless Wanda was in my contacts list for a long time after that conference, but she never came online again. Maybe she never really existed.

Tons of Fun

There were two parties that segregated developers and IT Pros. I went with the IT Pros to the Circle R Ranch to experience all that a ranch had to offer: mechanical bull, armadillo races, cows, a rodeo, and girls they hired to square dance with attendees. That must have sucked for them. Earlier in the week, the MCP party was at TBC Indoor Kart Racing and was quite fun. Another great perk was the MSDN room. MSDN Universal subscribers had their own room filled with food, drinks, comfy couches, and an Asteroids arcade machine where my coworkers dominated the leaderboard.

The armada of buses took attendees to Fair Park for the annual party. One building was full of casino type games and the other had games such as bumper cars and Xboxes. Between those buildings at the far end was a rock concert in the making. Microsoft hired Smashmouth and Wallflowers to entertain us for hours and I even got a souvenir; the lead guitarist for Smashmouth flinged his guitar pick in to the audience where I picked it up. It still comes in handy when I forget to floss.

This is the third in a series of posts taking a look back at TechEd in the past 12 years. At least, of the ones I attended.

Next Up: Ghosts of TechEd Past – 2004