Ghosts of TechEd Past -- 2004

San Diego, California

Microsoft, I beg you. Please have TechEd in San Diego again. It was by far the most enjoyable from a weather perspective I’ve ever been to. 2004 was a big year in the technology front because we started to move into SQL Server 2005 (Yukon) and Visual Studio 2005 (Whidbey) and there was a lot to talk about. .NET 2.0 was the upcoming version and there was so much for developers to learn about including partial classes, nullable types, generics, and anonymous methods.

A Conference Center With a View

The view from the conference center was the best. Normally, the big conference centers are situated far away from anything visually interesting to look at. The San Diego Convention Center sits on the edge of the harbor and has a nice area where people can relax and watch the action. At one point I watched a giant yellow banana boat roll past no doubt filled to the brim with potassium. In the distance you could make out an aircraft carrier just doing its thing. Here’s a great photosynth of the bay as seen from the conference center.

Cabanas

[caption id=“attachment_922” align=“alignright” width=“150” caption=“Sails Pavillion - Where the Cabanas Were”][/caption]

The best part of the conference itself were the cabanas. Along the edges of the CommNet room were 14 small partial enclosures with a whiteboard and some chairs. Each time slot not only had full sessions in progress but had something to see in each of the cabanas. It gave you a chance to get up close to the speaker and ask questions. I remember going to a session where Anders Hejlsberg went in-depth about generics and anonymous methods. Another time I listened to Itzik Ben-Gan teach about the new Common Table Expressions in SQL Server 2005. It was a bright and airy room and made you want to hang out there.

Run For the Border

My group also took the train south to Tijuana one night. I know Tijuana isn’t exactly representative of the country, but at least I can say I’ve been to Mexico. The visuals from that night are locked in my brain: the line of cars trying to get into the US, the ease that my group moved between the countries, a sickly chihuahua standing around, and the tourist bar we spent some time in. I think next time I’ll try something less depressing.

Secret Party

Early in the week, the folks at the Microsoft Operations Manager (MOM) booth were selling people on a party with a “secret guest”. You earned a badge if you came to the MOM booth and talked to them about their product. The party was called “Rumble in the Jungle” and the badge had a photo of the guest, but you couldn’t make out who it was. I guessed Jennifer Lopez. It turned out to be……Jessica Simpson. whoooooooooosh went the air out of the room.

The party was at the San Diego Zoo and was much like an attendee party with its free booze and food. We saw Ms. Simpson sing in an amphitheater I think normally reserved for monkeys or seals, so she probably felt right at home (was that too mean?). Sometime during the show, she put a fan in a chair on stage and serenaded him. Months later, you could see the behind the scenes video of this on her reality show The Newlyweds …. not that I watched that or anything. The zoo had the gondola skylift running so we got in and flew high above the crowd yelling at people on the ground and in other gondolas. It’s possible we had some of the free beer.

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

Image Credits: San Diego Convention Center

Next Up: Ghosts of TechEd Past — 2006