Ghosts of TechEd Past -- 2008

Orlando, Florida

If there’s any city that could be thought of as the home base of TechEd, it’s Orlando. Since its start, the show has moved to Orlando (with New Orleans a close second). In 2008, TechEd returned to Orlando for the 3rd time in 4 years. I had missed the show in 2005 and 2007, so this was my first TechEd in Orlando (I had been to the PDC in Orlando, so it wasn’t my first visit). This was also the one and only time that Microsoft split TechEd into two weeks. One week for developers and one week for IT Pros. And I think it’s safe to say the split didn’t go over well with attendees. The following year it returned to a joint show in the same week. My perspective is that of the developer part of the week.

Bye Bye Gates

Headlining the developer keynote was Bill Gates and he brought with him the Bill Gates Retirement Video. Hands down, the best video they’ve done at TechEd. “Sun’s out. Gun’s out” - Matthew McConaughey to Bill Gates. There’s a lesson to learn there. Brian Harry, hero or villain of TFS users everywhere, came on stage to go over some Team System updates (Oslo, Database Pros for DB2) and Soma Somasegar talked about Beta 2 of Silverlight 2. If you watched any of the 2008 Beijing Olympics online, you were using Silverlight 2 Beta 2.

LINQ

This was the first real exposure many attendees got to LINQ and my life has never been the same. Visual Studio 2008 has RTM’d late in 2007 along with .NET 3.5 and LINQ was a big part of that. Visual Studio 2008 brought so many things that I take for granted now: anonymous methods, object initializers, extension methods, lambda expressions, and the much misunderstood var keyword. For the record, I almost always use var. Because I’m lazy.

Universal Studios

A good choice for the attendee party, Universal Studios gave the attendees lots to look at and lots of space to spread out. Then again, there were only half as many people given that the week was split, so maybe that had something to do with it. The various food kiosks were selling their standard fare (better than the catering fare that shows up at places that don’t normally sell food). I think its fair to say that the Universal Studios side of the theme park is more tame than the Islands of Adventure side. We took in the Backdraft show, the Simpsons ride, and I think Back to the Future. Really one of my most vivid memories is playing Whack-A-Mole with a beer in hand somewhere along the path.