Countdown to TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, LA: 2010-06-07 00:00:00 GMT-08:00

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tech-Ed North America 2010 – Pre-Conference Seminars Now Available even more from Tech-Ed 2010 when you register for a Pre-Conference Seminar. Each full-day workshop offers in-depth study on a particular topic, which has been specifically developed to address the most relevant needs of today’s technology experts.

For an additional investment of $400 you receive dedicated class time on a specific subject with a noted industry expert. Select from one of these day-long workshops:

Visit the Tech-Ed website to see full descriptions of each seminar.


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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The TechEd 2010 Count Down Gadget

Are you going to TechEd 2010 North America?  Can't wait to visit New Orleans with all your fellow IT Pros?  Well, get your geek on with the TechEd 2010 Count Down Gadget for Windows 7 and Windows Vista!

Just download the gadget from any Windows 7 or Vista computer and double-click it to add it to your Windows Sidebar.  But hey, you're an IT Pro.  You already knew that.

Update: The TechEd 2010 Count Down Gadget has been accepted and approved for distribution through the Windows Gallery.

Special thanks goes to Oliver Green with  He did all the smart stuff.  I just changed the graphics.

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

TechEd Holiday Discount Ends Soon!

There's only a few more days left to register for TechEd North America 2010 and receive the $300 holiday discount. This discount is an extra $100 off the early bird discount and is scheduled to end on 12/31/2009.

At TechEd, you can learn about today’s cutting edge trends, helping make life easier for you (and everyone else) at work. But the most important benefit just might be the networking: you can build personal connections with Microsoft experts and peers that will last far beyond TechEd.

I'll be there. Will you?

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Friday, December 11, 2009

TechEd 2010: The Much Coveted TechEd Bag

Here it is already... The Bag!

Fellow Tweep, Scott Ladewig, tweeted about this picture of the bag for TechEd 2010 North America attendees. They are still working on the colors and features of the bag, but it looks good to me!

The picture comes from RobNic_TechEd, one of the owners of Microsoft's TechEd North America event. He and his team are responsible for the execution of the event.


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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

TechEd 2010: Where's The Krewe?

Looking for TechEd's party side???
  • Follow TheKrewe on Twitter

  • Search for #TheKrewe

  • Join The Krewe Facebook group, here

We're a group of hard working IT Pros and Developers. We gather every year at Microsoft TechEd North America, the largest Microsoft technology education conference. Our mission is to seek out all the happening after-conference activities.

The Facebook site will be used to share information, trade contacts, and schedule up meeting places and times. Come on and join! You know you want to.


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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

No TechEd Connect for 2010

Microsoft TechEd Connect has been used for the past three or four years as a web-based communication platform for TechEd attendees.

We've used it in the past to create discussion groups that are targeted. For example, we used it to create The Krewe (parties and afterhours activities), Exchange Gods (Exchange design and management), and many other groups. It's a great way for like-minded attendees to virtually meet their colleagues.

I emailed the TechEd team to find out when TechEd Connect will be online for TechEd North America 2010. Here was their response:

Hello Jeff,

I have just heard back from this team. It seems that there will be no Tech Ed Connect this year. However, there are networking opportunities through Tech Ed Facebook and Tech Ed Twitter. You can find links to these tools on the Tech Ed event website at ttps://

Please let us know if you have any further questions.


Tech.Ed North America 2010 Registration Team
*E-mail: TechEd2010@microsoft.crgevents.comTech.Ed 2009

So it sounds like we're going to have to "roll our own" for TechEd groups and discussions. That's unfortunate, because I know a lot of people who don't (or won't) use Twitter or Facebook. I also know of companies that block social networking sites. This will make it difficult for attendees to get timely updates.

Using a general social networking infrastructure also doesn't lend itself to targeted discussions for attendees with similar interests. How will we find each other?

I'll have to get together with some of the Krewe and those who want to attend the Exchange Roundtable and decide where and how to do this. What do you think?


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Monday, December 7, 2009

I'll be there, will you?

I booked my trip to TechEd 2010 North America today. Woohoo!

I'll be joining the Krewe and plan again to organize an Exchange Roundtable. This will be an opportunity to join others, like you, who design, implement, and manage Exchange organizations of any size. I'll post more here and on TechEd Connect, once it's up and running. In the meantime, post a comment here if you'd like to join me.

Don't forget to follow me on Twitter!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

TechEd 2010 Registration is Open

TechEd North America 2010 registration is open! Save $300, if you register by Dec 31st.
The event for professionals who want to get ahead and stay ahead of the game
This year's TechEd will be in New Orleans, LA and I'm planning to attend.


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Friday, May 15, 2009

TechEd 2009: Day Five. And so it ends...

The last day of Teched 2009. It always feels a little weird and sad to see things getting packed up and crated off.

I attended a pretty good session on VDI and Remote Desktop in Windows Server 2008 R2. Cracked me up when the presenter told us that RemoteApp uses "something technical called Forms Based Authentication" and at one point asked the audience if they were familiar with Computer Objects in Active Directory.

I then attended an awesome session on Windows Crash Dump Analysis, presented by David Solomon of SysInternals. This one was so cool, even Mark Russonivich attended it. Lots of good technical stuff.

After a brief lunch, it was off to LAX to grab my flight home. Luckily, I only have an hour and a half flight back. Unluckily, the flight is oversold and delayed. Looks like I'll be home after dark now.

The technical content of TechEd 2009 was excellent, as usual. Logistically, I'd have to say I like Orlando much better. The venue layout suits TechEd very well and they have larger rooms. I can only imagine how many more sessions would have been booked to capacity if attendance had been normal.

Pros: Great technical content (especially for Exchange 2010 and Windows 7),easy access to experts in the TLC, fewer people in attendance meant it was easier to navigate, and lots of great vendor and Microsoft product team parties.

Cons: Getting shut out of a couple of sessions, the LA Convention Center layout was weird and confusing, most of the escalators were broken or running the wrong way, and the epic fail of the "Jam on IT Party."

Of course the pros greatly outway the cons, and I'm really looking forward to TechEd 2010 in New Orleans next year. Put it on your calendar, the dates are June 7-11, 2010.


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TechEd 2009: Day Four

I'm not quite sure what to write about today.

The sessions were great, as usual. I started the day at Mark Minasi's excellent and entertaining talk about Windows UAC, followed by Mark Russinovich's session on improvements to Hyper-V V2 in Windows Server 2008 R2. I also saw two sessions on Exchange 2010 and got to sit in a chalk talk with Evan Douds of the Exchange Management Shell Team.

Thursday evening is traditionally the famous Microsoft Attendee Party. This usually entails a fun-filled evening at a venue such as Universal Studios or Sea World, where the park is open solely to TechEd attendees. Attendees are free to wander the park and partake of free food and drink throughout the evening. It's a great way to unwind after an intense week of training sessions and hands on labs. Attendees also have the option of purchasing additional passes for family members, so they can enjoy the same experience.

This year Microsoft decided to scale back the attendee party and did so in a huge way. The Jam On IT "social gathering" was held in the same venue we've been in all week, the LA Convention Center. Attendees were limited to two drink tickets each and were not allowed the option of buying passes for guests. There was no entertainment, other than a DJ playing music and the "jam sessions" where anyone who wanted to can try to play instruments on stage. The general consensus I heard from attendees was that this was an epic failure.

Now, I can understand why Microsoft did this. Attendance is way down - estimates are more than 40% of last year - and it's really hard to justify spending the same amount of money for that fewer number of people. But the attendee party was cancelled more than two months after registration opened for TechEd 2009, leaving those who already booked their tickets and travel with a sour taste. Microsoft didn't offer any refund or reduced cost because of the cancellation. People have an expectation based on the events that happened in years past, and to replace the traditional attendee party with a DJ and two drink tickets is terrible.

When you got a good thing going, keep doing it. Don't mess with tradition.


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Thursday, May 14, 2009

TechEd 2009: Day Three

Today turned out to be Exchange day, where most all of my sessions were around Exchange 2010. I gotta tell you, Exchange 2010 is really, really impressive. All the Exchange sessions this year are packed with attendees and I think Exchange 2010 is going to be the big take-away from TechEd this year.

I organized an Exchange Roundtable tonight for anyone who wanted to talk about Exchange, share their challenges, and bounce ideas around. We met at the Yard House bar just across from the LACC venue. I also invited Scott Schnoll from the Exchange Team to drop by.

I was surprised when Scott showed up with the entire Exchange product group here at TechEd, along with Paul Bowden, Product Release Manager for Exchange Server. We ended up having about 30 people. I had a fascinating conversation with Paul about how Microsoft uses Exchange 2010 in their production datacenter. Very impressive. There were other lively conversations and mass quantities of beer was consumed.

In the end, Paul picked up the check for everyone. It turned out we had an Exchange Server party this year after all. Thank you very much, Paul and the Exchange 2010 Team!


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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

TechEd 2009: Day Two

There are about 7,800 attendees, by my calculations, at this year's TechEd. Down from about 13,000 from last year. Those ~7,800 attendees got their money's worth on day two of TechEd, with a heavy dose of Exchange 2010 sessions, developer sessions, and other Microsoft technologies.

I arrived on-time for one of the most popular sessions, the Exchange 2010 Migration Deep Dive, only to find that the session was already filled beyond fire marshal capacity. People continued to stream to the session, only to be turned away. It's obvious that Microsoft has a lot of customers interested in Exchange 2010, and this will transfer to an increased number of implementations and migrations in the near term. I, along with many others, will have to wait to see the session as it's streamed from Microsoft in the next 24 hours.

Mark Minasi was in excellent form during his Security session, taking the gauntlet of former Microsoft Employee Steve Riley. As usual, his session was as entertaining as it was useful. I was particularly pleased when Mark stood on a chair in the first row and asked the audience, "Where is Steve Riley?" There's an enormous amount of support for Steve, both within and outside the Microsoft community.

I attended two excellent sessions, one for Microsoft Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 Direct Access and Remote Desktop (formerly Terminal Services) and the other for Exchange 2010 archiving and retention. There's a lot of HUGE advances being made in this area, and I'm really excited to see this.

The night ended with two FABULOUS parties brought by our friends at Double-Take Software and the Windows Embedded Group. The Double-Take ClusterFunk Party takes us all back to what TechEd parties were all about: Good music, good food, good drinks and most of all, good fun. Nothing beats a good live band and ClusterFunk delivers! We thank Double-Take Software for their continued support and engagement of the TechEd community!

The Windows Embeded Group also had a party at the Lucky Strikes Bowling Alley next door to the ClusterFunk party and across from Staples Center, where the Lakers were in playoff game. I honestly can't tell you who one because I was having so much fun at both of these parties. Bowling, booze and good ol' rock and roll make a great combination!

Here's to a great set of sessions tomorrow.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

TechEd 2009: Day One

After breakfast at the LA Convention Center (LACC), I attended the keynote session, presented by Bill Veghte, Vice President of Windows Business. The venue had five high-definition screens for our viewing pleasure.

Bill's topics included the pain points of the economy, doing more with less, and the need to connect to business data from anywhere.

Microsoft has made significant investments in training (over 1 million trainings over the web last year and over 1 million Springboard trainings per month) and will continue its R&D investments over the coming years. Dynamic IT will enable IT pros and developers across the IT lifecycle, and Bill predicts that Software as a Service (SaaS) will be huge.

Anywhere access is one of the key themes in Win7 and Windows Server 2008 R2. This is something I predicted over two years ago. A lot of investments have been made in these technologies.

Several announcements were made at the keynote, but none with much excitement, other than Windows 7 will ship "by holiday," aka Christmas 2009. This is expected to include Windows Server 2008 R2.

Demos were performed by Mark Russinovich (Windows 7) and Iain McDonald (Windows Server 2008 R2), which were very engaging and demonstrated the advances of both operating systems.

This is all wonderful and what we expect Microsoft to feed us during the keynote. It sets the tone for the week and lets us know what the emphasis is and where to direct our attention for the next 12-18 months. But what was more interesting to me is what happened behind the scenes.

Tracy McElroy is an IT professional from Louisiana who had the opportunity to meet Bill Veghte on a stairwell at the LACC and told Bill thanks for the information in the keynote. Bill asked Tracy what Microsoft was doing right and what they were doing wrong. He was genuinely interested in what Tracy had to say and had a frank discussion with him for over 20 minutes. Bill even took out a notepad to take notes. It was clear to Tracy that his input was valued and was impressed that a executive at Bill's level would take the time and effort to listen to him.

This is the value proposition that TechEd brings to each and every attendee. You may get the opportunity to spend 20 minutes voicing your opinions with a vice president, but each and every one of the talented program managers and product team members are here at TechEd, waiting to hear your opinions and pain points. Together, we can make business easier and more productive for everyone.


On the entertainment front, the Krewe met up at the vendor exposition where mass quantities of swag was collected and a few beers were consumed. After that, we all headed over to the epic Springboard Party at the Standard Hotel's rooftop pool and bar. Suffice to say, we all had an outstanding time and didn't get back to our hotels until the wee hours of the morning.


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Monday, May 11, 2009

TechEd 2009: And so it begins...

I arrived yesterday to check in and attend a Microsoft MVP meeting at the LA Convention Center. The bag is nice -- Good quality, durable zippers, lots of pockets and a decent size, if not a little big. I think this one's a keeper.

The LACC was really quiet when checking in yesterday. A long line of greeters and registration people all vying to register me. My sense is that attendance is way down. I've heard that attendance last year was around 13,000 and this year is around 6,000.

Last night the Krewe got together at the Bonaventure Brewing Company (BBC) to warm up before Party with Palermo. The beer and food were good at both locations, but after we used our one drink ticket at PWP we moved back upstairs to the BBC. Being told, "that'll be $9.50" for a Corona will do that to a party.

This morning's breakfast scores about a 2. Probably the best parts are the grapes and Apple Jacks cereal. The "cheese omelet" was Egg Beaters and Cheese Whiz. Yum.

The keynote is this morning at 10:00am. This will be a good gauge of attendance, since the room is huge and is usually packed. I'll give my comments after the break...


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Saturday, May 9, 2009

TechEd 2009: Here I come!

Last day before leaving for TechEd. We're having mother's Day today since I'll be leaving early tomorrow morning.

Can't wait to see what TechEd 2009 will be like. With all the changes in the economy, it will be interesting to see the effect on attendance, vendors, swag, and TechEd itself. I expect that there will be a lot less of all of it. Better to be pleasantly surprised than dissapointed.

My blog readership is way up (about 25%) over the past month or so. Hopefully, that translates to higher interest and attendance at TechEd.

If you'd like to follow me during the week, I can be found on Twitter. This will be the Krewe's primary means of communication for the event. I'll try to make blog postings at least once a day about the conference.

If you see me wandering about the conference floor or in a session, be sure to stop by and say Hi!


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Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Tee Shirt for TechEd

(Idea shamelessly lifted from Douggg on Mark Minasi's Forum)


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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Steve Riley let go from Microsoft

Wow, here's a shocker. Steve Riley, a popular Microsoft security expert, has been let go by Microsoft just 5 days before TechEd begins. Steve writes,
"... as a part of Microsoft’s second round of restructuring, my position was eliminated yesterday and my employment with Microsoft has ended."

Steve was scheduled to provide several sessions at this year's Teched, most of them I scheduled myself to attend. I can't say how many sessions he had since Microsoft has already removed his name as a speaker from the TechEd session schedule.

Steve’s career at Microsoft began in 1998 in the telecommunications practice of Microsoft Consulting Services. When he left he was a senior security strategist in Microsoft's Trustworthy Computing Group. He promises that he's not disappearing and will remain in the security industry.

Good luck, Steve! We'll miss you at this year's TechEd.

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TechEd 2009: Rock and Bowl Party

Registration has opened for the Windows Embedded Rock and Bowl Party!

To register, go to and then show your printed confirmation to pick up your blue wristband (required to enter the party) at the Windows Embedded Technical Learning Center. Party is for Windows Embedded community and Certified Developers; be prepared to show your MCP ID or a transcript when you pick up your wristband.

More details on Trika's site:

Be sure to visit the Krewe Party Calendar for a list of ALL the TechEd 2009 Extracurricular Events!


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Saturday, May 2, 2009

TechEd 2009: Windows Mobile Experience

Here's your chance to test a brand new Windows Mobile 6.1 Palm Treo Pro smartphone with free data and voice service to use during your attendance at Teched 2009.

Microsoft, in partnership with Palm, Enterprise Mobile, and Sprint, will be loaning 150 of the newest Windows Mobile 6.1 Palm Treo Pro smartphones to Tech·Ed North America 2009 attendees to use as a trial during the conference. Each smartphone is enrolled in a Mobile Device Manager (MDM) demo domain and receives software and policies that showcase how easy it is for an IT department to centrally manage Windows Mobile devices over the air. You will have the chance to experience first-hand how MDM brings highly scalable Windows Mobile Device Management and Security to the System Center family of products. Participants are entered for a chance to win a Palm Treo Pro smartphone with Windows Mobile 6.1, which will be given away at the end of Tech·Ed 2009.

Register and reserve your trial device here.


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Friday, May 1, 2009

The REAL TechEd 2009 Bag

Here it is, folks! Finally, a picture of the TechEd 2009 bag courtesy of Brian Marble. Much better looking than the man-purse of previous years. I actually think I might use this. Nice moss green color, too.

Thanks, Brian!


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Thursday, April 30, 2009

TechEd 2010: Dates and Location

It Pro Mauro Sant'Anna reports:

"My friends at Microsoft told me the next years’s TechEd, Microsoft’s primary technical conference, will take place in New Orleans, from June 7th to 11th."

This year’s Tech will take place in Los Angeles on the week of May 11th through the 15th. I'll be there, will you?


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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Lucky Strike with Windows Embedded: Community Party at TechEd

Trika (formerly of Microsoft Certifications and now with Windows Embedded) sent me the following email this morning. Thanks for the heads up, Trika!

"Hey, dude. My new team, Windows Embedded, is holding a bash for windows embedded/certified Developer community on Tuesday night... reg not open yet but we'll be having it open soon. I'll post when we have our reg link but FYI if you have ideas of how to get the word out! See you in LA - Trika"

Here are the details...

What: An evening of bowling, drinks, music, food and general swankiness with the Windows Embedded team (all 18 lanes, pool tables, foosball, ping pong, great food, open bar, and a D.J....)

Where: Right across from TechEd at Lucky Strikes Lanes in LA:

When: Tuesday, May 12 from 7 PM to 11 PM

Who: The Windows Embedded team, partners, and customers; plus special guests the Microsoft Certified developer community (MCPD, MCAD, MCSD, MCTS).

Why: To celebrate what Windows Embedded and Microsoft Certified developers have in common: demonstrated skills using our platform and development tools, commitment to Microsoft, and a love of... bowlng. We want to mix it up and introduce embedded development to the top Windows developers and for Windows Embedded developers and partners to get to know the outstanding Windows development community.

How: You’ll need to register online in advance (registration URL in development) and then show your printed confirmation to pick up your blue wristband (required to enter the party) at the Windows Embedded Technical Learning Center. Party is for Windows Embedded community and Certified Developers; be prepared to show your MCP ID or a transcript when you pick up your wristband.

I added this party to the TechEd party Calendar.


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

He's not just the CEO, he's the bassist

Cluster-Funk at TechEd

DoubleTake Software's CEO and ClusterFunk bassist Dean Goodermote talks about the upcoming show at TechEd 2009.


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Thursday, April 23, 2009

TechEd 2009: ClusterFunk Registration Now Open

Double-Take Software has opened registration for their ClusterFunk party at TechEd 2009!

Registration is required to attend. <<<Register HERE>>> and pick up an official Double-Take Software wrist band at booth #816 on the vendor floor.

Be sure to check out the other great events listed in my TechEd Parties Calendar.

See you there!


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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TechEd 2009: Party Calendar

As we get closer to TechEd 2009, I want to remind attendees to check out the TechEd 2009 Extracurricular Events Calendar.

Despite this year's smaller than expected attendance, the after-hours parties this year seem to be shaping up. They include:
  • Sunday - Party with Palermo and Krewe Meet and Drink

  • Monday - Partner Expo and Reception, GeekFest 2009, and the Springboard Series Community Influencers Party

  • Tuesday - ClusterFunk

  • Wednesday - Krewe Pub Crawl

  • Thursday - Tech·Ed "Jam on IT" Party

  • Friday - Final Krewe Get-Together

See the The Krewe's TechEd 2009 Calendar for details on all these events, including registration details. Check it out!


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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teched 2009: Schedule Builder is Live

For those of you who don't already know, the TechEd 2009 Schedule Builder is live on the Microsoft TechEd website.

The Schedule Builder is where you can peruse the technical and BOF sessions, read abstracts, and add them to your personal schedule. Sessions can be sorted by technical track, product/technology, audience, session type, technical level, day/time, or speaker.

Once you've selected the sessions you wish to attend you can download them to Outlook or use the synchronization tool to sync them if you update your schedule.

Keep in mind that adding a session to your personal schedule does not guarantee a seat in the session; sessions are filled on a first-come, first-seated basis. With that in mind, feel free to select more than one session for the same time slot. I'm usually double, triple or even quaduple booked for the same time! Too much technology, too little time. This allows me to attend my first choice, and if it doesn't meet my expectations I can glance at my calendar and quickly move on to another choice.

My Favorites

There are some sessions that I always attend just because the speakers are so good. They are (in no particular order):

  • Mark Minasi
  • Marcus Murray (no sessions this year, so far) :(
  • Mark Russinovich
  • Steve Riley

If you have a whole in your schedule where you just don't know what to go to, drop into one of these guy's sessions. You will not be disappointed.


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Thursday, April 16, 2009

TechEd 2009: Jam on IT! Attendee Party

I just got the following email from TechEd regarding the Thursday night party:

We’re excited to announce the evening social event at Tech·Ed ―Jam on IT, a celebration of the IT industry. As promised, we’ve got a terrific event planned where you can join your IT industry friends and peers, along with industry influencers and key Microsoft experts, to wind down (or up!), get your groove on, and network with the Tech·Ed community.

Jam on IT
Date: Thursday, May 14
Time: 6 pm-11pm
Location: Los Angeles Convention Center
(West bldg)

You’ve asked for an evening to socialize and have some fun, so we’re taking over the west side of the convention center, providing plenty of great food and drinks, and networking opportunities like Birds-of-a-Feather sessions and the Women in Technology program -- WomenBuild. You can also rock the house at the famous (or infamous) Tech·Ed Jam Session, hosted by Richard Campbell and Carl Franklin of .NET Rocks! We hope you’ll grab an instrument, jump on stage, and raise the roof.

Further details on the all-star lineup joining us for Jam on IT will be published on our Tech·Ed North America site at in the coming weeks, so check back often. If you have
any questions or comments, please contact us anytime at:

Special thanks to the evening’s sponsors: Samsung, Microsoft US Developer & Platform Evangelism Team and

We look forward to celebrating the potential of the IT industry with YOU, at Tech·Ed North America 2009.
I figured Microsoft would do something at the LA Convention Center. After all, they've rented it for the entire week! Sounds like it will be a fun night with a combo party and jam sessions.

More information can be found on the TechEd website:

I followed up with CRG Events and confirmed that this event is for TechEd attendees only. No guest passes will be sold.


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Wednesday, April 8, 2009

TechEd 2009: On-Site Certification Dropped

Yet another item dropped from TechEd 2009 - Microsoft will not be offering on-site certification testing this year. Attendees will instead receive a voucher for 50% off a single Microsoft Professional Certification exam. If you attend any certification (CRT) session, you can upgrade your voucher to an "extra special" coupon where you pay only $25 to take an exam.

See the Microsoft TechEd Certification page for more details.

This is unfortunate, because I know quite a few people who plan on getting certified while attending TechEd. There's nothing like taking the exams at a venue where you're completely immersed in the technology.

I'm really beginning to believe that TechEd LA means "Lousy Attendance".

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Friday, April 3, 2009

Extracurricular Events Calendar for TechEd 2009

Announcing the official Krewe Calendar for TechEd 2009!

This is where we organize our extracurricular activities after a hard day of seminars and sessions. Microsoft has renamed the Thursday night "Alternative Social Gathering" to the "Tech·Ed Community Party." Sounds like a lot more fun to me!

Now, you may be asking, "How do I become a member of the Krewe?" Easy! Do you like to have fun? Do you like beer? Just show up for one of our events and you're in!

If you have an event or idea you'd like to add to the calendar, please leave a comment below or post it on TechEd Connect. I'll post it as soon as I can. Thanks!


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TechEd 2009: ClusterFunk Confirmed!

I wrote earlier about the ClusterFunk party at TechEd 2009. I just got an email from the folks at Double-Take Software that ClusterFunk is confirmed to party at TechEd 2009 in Los Angeles.

There's been a lot of concern from the TechEd community that vendors will cancel their after hours parties due to budgetary constraints and probable lower than expected attendance.

"We are locked and loaded for the event so we won't be cancelling," Brace Rennels told me.

If you've been to TechEd and missed seeing ClusterFunk, you've missed some really good times. Here's a video blog post of the band at Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville in Florida last year.

Event details are in my earlier post. Registration opens SOON. Subscribe to this blog for more TechEd goodness!


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Friday, March 13, 2009

The TechEd 2009 Bag

With the cancellation of the TechEd Attendee party this year, no snacks or bottled water last year (until everyone complained), and drastically reduced attendance, what's next? Reusable eco-bags in place of the traditional TechEd backpack?

Hopefully they'll still have shuttles to the conference center or we'll have to start carpooling.

UPDATE: A photo of the real TechEd 2009 bag can be found here.


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Thursday, March 12, 2009

TechEd 2009: ClusterFunk!

Now that we've all learned that the Microsoft TechEd 2009 Attendee Party is kaput, I can give you some happier TechEd 2009 party news.

Double-Take Software will be hosting ClusterFunk, an awesome band made up of Double-Take employees and owners, Tuesday night. They play covers from the 70s through today and their musical brew blends bold, strident guitar power and cutting-edge jam sessions to create a medley that stands head and shoulders above your average cover band.

I haven't missed any of their TechEd shows and the folks at Double-Take always put on a great party!

Tuesday May 12th 8 p.m. to Midnight

The Conga Room at LA Live
800 West Olympic Boulevard
Suite A169 and A260
Los Angeles, CA 90015

Registration information COMING SOON! Watch this space for more details. I'll let you know when registration is open. Looks like a real happenin' place!


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TechEd 2009: No Party for You!

According to folks over at TechEd Connect, Microsoft has cancelled the Thursday night attendee party this year, and boy are they pissed! This is the first time this has happened in the 16 year history of TechEd.

The official Microsoft email informing us of the cancellation reads:

"We have made a change to previously published agendas. The attendee party will no longer take place, however we are planning an alternative social gathering which will continue to provide a great opportunity for attendees to network with each other in a fun social setting. Additionally this year you will receive a full copy of Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2 when released to market as part of registration."

According to the Microsoft TechEd website, Thursday's agenda shows "8:00 PM–Midnight Evening social activity – Futher details to come." (Their mispelling of "Futher", not mine.)

Is this another tale about the sad state of the economy or just another way to cut costs to increase the bottom line? Either way, I say it's bad form to advertise it for months as a reason to attend and then cancel it after thousands have bought their passes.

At least we have the ClusterFunk party to look forward to.

What do you think? Post a comment below.


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Friday, February 27, 2009

Last day for TechEd 2009 Early Bird Discount

Today is the final day to register for TechEd 2009 in Los Angeles and receive a $200 discount.

Don't miss out. Register today!


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Thursday, December 11, 2008

TechEd 2009 - L.A. LIVE

The area around Staples Center and just north of the L.A. Convention Center, where TechEd will be hosted, has undergone a major renovation. The area is called L.A. LIVE and contains a "campus" of hotels, entertainment and restaurants. Here's what the promoters have to say:
Located in the center of the entertainment capital of the world, the 5.6
million square foot L.A. LIVE mixed-used development on 27 acres will be the
primary "content campus" and event center for southern California where people
seeking entertainment offerings intersect with the sports and entertainment
industries at work in an energetic, unique, urban environment covering more than
6 city blocks.

Leveraging the tremendous success of STAPLES Center, L.A. LIVE will
expand the entertainment content in downtown Los Angeles' South Park district
with complimenting venues, fully functioning broadcast studios, restaurants,
cafes, cinemas, bowling lanes, music clubs and an innovative music museum.

In addition, L.A. LIVE will serve as the catalyst to enhance the
economic performance of the adjacent Los Angeles Convention Center by adding two
luxury hotels, creating a convention headquarters destination with substantial
meeting and hospitality space, once again making Los Angeles competitive with
other regional convention markets. L.A. LIVE will also invigorate an emerging
high-density urban residential neighborhood and pedestrian district.

L.A. LIVE will serve as the leading entertainment destination for all
of Los Angeles and as the event capital of the world. L.A. LIVE was created to
put its audiences in the moment. "Live" is the driving force - you cannot get
any more "live" than when you are in the moment.

Sounds like a great venue for TechEd 2009! See you there.


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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TechEd 2009 (LA) Registration Opens Today

Microsoft TechEd 2009 registration opens today, December 10. Be sure to sign up soon for a "special holiday discount."

TechEd 2009 will be held for the first time in Los Angeles, May 11-15, 2009. This is the premier IT event for Microsoft IT Professionals and Developers. This year Microsoft is recombining the ITPro and Developer tracks into a single TechEd. Yea!

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Friday, June 20, 2008

Random Photos from TechEd 2008

Most of these were taken at the TechEd Jam Session and the DoubleTake ClusterFunk Party.

Fun times were had by all!


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Wednesday, June 18, 2008

TechEd 2008 Wrap-Up

I've been hitting the ground running since TechEd 2008 ended on Friday, June 13, so I haven't had time to blog. Lots of parties and afterhours events kept me from blogging during the conference. Somehow, free-flowing beer and hanging out with new friends seemed to take precedence. Anyhow, here is my post-TechEd 2008 wrap-up.

The Good

Making New Contacts - One of the biggest reasons I go to TechEd is to meet new contacts. Sometimes it's not what you know, but who you know, who has the right answers. I was fortunate to hang out with a good group of people with differing skill sets and specialties. It's good to know who to shoot a question to when you need a quick answer.

"How Microsoft Does IT" Sessions - Over the years, I've found these sessions very interesting and helpful, particularly for Exchange Server. It's interesting to see how the largest software company in the world manages their own infrastructure, make mistakes, learn from them, and share it with the IT community. I've seen strategy shift from one year to the next, based on new technologies and the way Microsoft uses them. Very interesting stuff and talking one-on-one with these folks after the sessions is very enlightening.

After Event Parties - Being an IT Pro, naturally I attended IT Pro week at TechEd. The poor Dev week guys and gals only had two parties to attend. I had to make a choice between up to four in one evening, every night of the week. The parties were of varying quality, but by far the best two parties were...

The ClusterFunk Party and Jam Sessions - The folks at DoubleTake put on an awesome party at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville, complete with a free flowing bar and a buffet of finger foods. These guys really know how to throw a party! Likewise, the folks at CommVault hosted the Microsoft Jam Sessions, a venue where anyone who can play an instrument is welcome to come up on stage and rock out to a music hungry crowd. Fun times were had by all! Too bad the jam sessions were limited to only one night, but I don't know where they'd fit them in any other night in the week.

Swag - While I didn't get too much swag this year, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of it. I came home with a fistful of 1GB-2GB USB drives along with the usual plethora of tshirts (this year's color is black, BTW).

The Self-Proclaimed "Group Policy Guru" - This was just too funny not to make it on the "Good" list. There's this guy who thinks he's all that who's been worming his way into the session circuit (I won't give his name here). Anyway, I would see him walking around the TechEd venue, placing glossy cards advertising his sessions and Group Policy training services between EVERY computer on the TechEd floor. I'm talking hundreds of these 5x7" cards. About 90 seconds after he puts them down, a Microsoft TechEd guy is picking them up. He must have had 500 of them in a box, destined for the trash. I hope they cost a bundle, but I feel sorry for the trees.

Buses - The transportation this year was perfect. Buses ran to and from the venue with great efficiency. The bus drivers were courteous and the buses were clean. What more can you ask for?

Attendee party with my Family - Due to the generosity of three other attendees who didn't go to the TechEd attendee party at Universal Studios, I was able to bring my wife and two kids with me. It's a shame that Microsoft charges $110 each for additional tickets for only 4 hours in the park. Anyway, we had a great time and were able to ride all the attractions that the kids really wanted to do. Good family time!

Chalk talks - I tend to get more out of the small formal and informal sessions lead by experts. These "sessions" are more tailored to the audience and usually provide more depth than the standard sessions with hundereds of attendees. Next year I plan to attend a Birds of a Feather (BOF) session, if I can find one that appeals to me.

Steve Riley's Security Session - I was very pleasantly surprised by the very last session of TechEd 2008. It was a security session with Steve Riley that described how to build a network infrastructure that secures the data, rather than the network itself. Very interesting stuff and gave me a lot to think about on the plane ride home.

Snacks - The fresh baked cookies were a big hit. The Haagen Dazs ice cream was good, too, if you could find it. Which leads to...

The Bad

Snacks - There wasn't much of them. As a matter of fact, there wasn't really ANY of them. I'm not sure if this was Microsoft's way of sparing the environment from all those Rice Krispy Treat and candy bar wrappers or if they're trying to tell us something. In any event, we all spent a chuck of change to get here. Please don't cheap out on the snacks.

Shortened Week - This is the first year that Microsoft decided to "blow up" TechEd and turn it into two weeks - one for developers and one for IT Pros. Doing this caused two effects - The event ran for only four days instead of five. This means that I was triple of even quadruple booked sessions running at the same time. I often had a very hard decision to make about
which session to attend. It also meant that the speaker better make an instant good impression or I'm outta here for one of the other sessions.

The other thing that happened was that the vendors had to make a choice between which week to host their after hours events. You think it's expensive to ATTEND TechEd, just imagine what it's like being a vendor. Renting space, buying food, drinks, entertainment, etc. is too expensive to do both weeks, so they have to make a choice. Some vendors, like publishers, market to both developers and IT Pros, so that makes it even more difficult. I, for one, would like to see TechEd return to one 5 day week.

Few Experts - I was disappointed to find that there were no Microsoft experts on the Microsoft show floor for particular core technologies. For example, I wanted to talk with someone about a DNS issue that a client is having, but no one on the floor could answer my question. No big deal, but I remember in past years being able to find someone who knew DFS, for example, really well.

No USB to download PPT decks - Microsoft does a phenomenal job setting up the Connect computers all over the venue. Here, you can browse the 'net, check your email, fill out surveys and check your schedule. You can also download the PowerPoint presentations for the TechEd sessions, but the workstations were difficult to access under a the table with a black curtain
around it. It would be nice if there were USB docks in or near the flat panel displays where you could install a USB drive to download the decks.

The Keynote Speech - As I wrote earlier, the keynote speech with Bob Muglia was pretty
uninspiring. I still don't get the baby rattles.

Food - The lack of snacks meant that we had to depend more on breakfast and lunch for sustenance. The delivery of food was with typical TechEd efficiency, but was just OK. I'd give it a C+.

The Microsoft Party - A few years ago, it seemed that every major product group had their own party - Exchange, Microsoft MVP/Learning, MOM, etc. Times are tight now and the only Microsoft party (besides the attendee party) was hosted by the Springboard group. It was OK, I guess, if you like a party in a strip club with no strippers and you're a fan of Budweiser. Definitely could have done without the ship's siren.

All in all, I did enjoy my time there and found it very useful. I hope to see you all next year in Los Angeles at TechEd 2009!


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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Best. Hat. Ever.

On the front: "Certified by Chuck Norris". On the back: "If Chuck says we need new servers, we need new servers."


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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

TechEd Jam Sessions

Last night was the TechEd Jam sessions. Only one night this year - dangit! It was a mess of fun with some very talented people on stage. So far this has been the best party I've been to.

Tonight's a big night with four different parties all happening at the same time. That's one of the problems about shortening the TechEd event - everyone wants to have a party, but they all have to compete for the same evenings. I heard from a sponsor last night that it's very expensive to have events (and booths) at TechEd, so they can only afford one week (Dev or ITPro). That sucks, because there are a lot of companies that straddle the line between those two types of professionals. Book publishers, for example.

This partying till 1AM and getting up at 7am to make my first session is getting harder every year...


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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

You know it's TechEd when...

Funny looking foam lego people want to hug you.


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TechEd Keynote this morning

This morning was the keynote from Bob Muglia, Senior Vice President of the Server and Tools Business at Microsoft. His speech was "IT Pro Heroes – Changing the World of Information Technology".

Now, I'm not really sure how orange baby rattles play into "Changing the World of Information Technology," but there's one on every seat.

The keynote began with an inane cartoon for Microsoft Communities that was just plain annoying. Nothing to see here. Move along, move along. Then it went into a drum/percussion performance that was, well, interesting. Ah, I see. The big orange baby rattles are maraccas and they want us to play along! Um, no.

Now that that's out of the way, we can get on with the keynote.

Bob Muglia sang praises of the real IT heroes, the folks that manage the IT infrastructure. We saw a clip of how an admin used SharePoint and Groove to match people up after the Katrina disaster.

Next he talked about the state of dynamic IT in the enterprise. He said that 5 years ago Microsoft began a ten year investment to enable the dynamic IT concept. They have made substantial gains in this area and things will change even faster in the next 5 years. I totally agree with him.

There were demos of .Net (wrong group, IMHO), SAAS, Exchange Hosted Services (EHS) and SQL 2008. A good deal of time was spent talking about and demoing virtualization solutions, which proves that Microsoft has a lot invested in these technologies and plans to do a lot more in the future. There was an interesting demo of a new product MS just acquired called Kidaro.

Meh. I've seen much better keynotes.


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Monday, June 9, 2008

Pre-Conference Session with Marcus Murray

Monday I attended the pre-con session, "Step-By-Step Guide to Hack-Proofing Your Microsoft Network" by Marcus Murray. Marcus is a security rock star! Very funny and engaging.

Last year he scared the hell out of me when he demonstrated how easy it is to compromise a system and domain. Since then, I've unplugged the network cables from all my servers as a security precaution, but I'm sure that would only slow him down a little.

The session was very good, but it was a little slower paced than I was expecting and hoping for. The basic security concept is "you can't fix stupid." If the users have elevated rights (by that, I mean running with more permissions than they need to have to do their work) it's very easy to compromise their machine and use it as a springboard to the rest of the network.

The takeaway is this: You must kill your users. Kill zem all.

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And so it begins...

We arrived in Orlando Saturday evening and checked into the hotel in time to go to dinner and let the kids unwind in the pool. It's hot, but not too bad. My wife would respectfully disagree.

Sunday was my only free day before the festivities begin, so we did what any good tourist to Florida should do -- we went to GatorLand! Lots of fun watching gator wrestin', gator shows and eating gator nuggets. Well, I would have liked to try gator nuggets, but I couldn't talk my kids into it and my wife said she wouldn't ever let me kiss her again.

Last night I joined the Krewe at Cricketer's Arms Pub (where I'm going tonight, too). It was good to finally meet the people I've been chatting with on the Extracurricular Activities group on Connect. Good scotch and beer, too. :)

This morning I checked in for TechEd and picked up my bag. I have a security pre-conference session with Marcus Murray at 9:30am. I'm really looking forward to this, he's awesome! Sounds like a lot of people signed up for the Windows Server 2008 pre-con session, too.

I'll try to give reviews on sessions as they happen, but may end up writing just a rollup at the end of the day if I don't have time.


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Friday, June 6, 2008

TechEd Newbie Resource Posts

As TechEd 2008 ITPro week approaches, I thought I'd provide links to the posts I've made that will help first time TechEd attendees. A sort of one stop shopping blog entry, if you will.

If you have a suggestion for future articles, let me know by posting a comment.

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Thursday, June 5, 2008

New TechEd Airline Check-in Service

Open Thursday, June 12 and Friday, June 13

South Hall A1 next to Registration

New this year for TechEd attendees!

Airline Check-in is a full-service, multi-airline remote skycap operation that offers issuance of boarding pass and luggage receipts. The next time you’ll have to think about your luggage will be at your final destination!

Airline Check-in service is available to all attendees departing on domestic flights from Orlando International Airport on American, Alaska, Air Tran, Continental, Delta, JetBlue, Northwest and United Airlines. You must have your luggage checked in a minimum of three hours before your flight departure time.

Remember, this service is only valid for flights departing on June 12-13.

Check Your Bags
Enter Event ID: 15019 and Passcode: microsoft to check your baggage and receive your boarding pass. Online check-in service fee is US$5 per person.

Walk-up airline check-in at the OCCC is US$10 per person.

Airline Check-in is also available at the Rosen Centre and Rosen Plaza hotels.

Check your bags here!

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Friday, May 30, 2008

TechEd Blogger Ultra Lounge

This year Microsoft will be doing another first - Presenting the Microsoft TechEd Blogger Lounge! This is the first year the TechEd Team is setting up a special designated blogger area. The lounge is open all day during both TechEd weeks*.

The TechEd Blogger Ultra Lounge offers a 9,500 square foot club-like area situated on a daring raised glass platform. This unique lounge offers a spacious first floor with a grand staircase that leads to a theater style blacony and a Tiffany-style glass skylight. Revelers seeking bright lights and vibrant music will find an energetic blogging floor at the center of this hot new spot in the middle of TechEd!

To kick off this fantastic event, Microsoft Exchange Guy and TechEd DJ, Scott Schnoll (aka MixMaster Scott), will be spinning industrial and ultra-chill tunes for your listening and blogging pleasure.

Ok, maybe not. But there will be tables, chairs and an Internet connection.

A whiteboard will be set up for use by anyone announcing when they will be in the area. A few timeslots of an hour or so have been set up during both weeks where Microsoft staff and/or presenters will be there that day. Check the whiteboard and drop by to meet your favorite TechEd bloggers. A tentative schedule can be viewed from the TechEd Online website.

The purpose of the TechEd Blogger Lounge is to give readers and bloggers a chance to meet up and have a small group conversation on their topic.

If you're a blogger or just want to meet one (we DO exist, really!), I highly encourage you to take the initiative and use this area to become part of the blogger community. The area is large enough to handle several conversations at once.

* Of course, there will be less people there during ITDev week. :)


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Thursday, May 29, 2008

Teched 2008 Extracurricular Activities Map

At the request of geniph on the Extracurricular Activities group on the Microsoft TechEd Connect site, I created the Teched 2008 Extracurricular Activities Map.

This map is based on the events in the TechEd 2008 Extracurricular Activities Calendar to help show the distances between each event.

If you know of an event, party or activity not listed on the calendar, please leave a comment and I'll add it.

View Larger Map

Since everything's pretty close to each other, click View Larger Map to open it in a new window. Then you can use your mousewheel to zoom in and out, and to drag the map around.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

TechEd Attendee Party - What to Expect

Here's a little write up of what to expect for the TechEd Attendee Party at Universal Studios Orlando.

Around 6:00 at the convention center there will be more buses in one place than you've probably ever seen before. In the past, buses leave from the conference center to Universal Studios theme park, but last year they picked us up at the same bus stops in front of the hotel that we use to go to the convention center. Buses will run every 10 minutes or so. There will be many more people in line waiting for a bus than the buses can hold. Just be patient and meet some new friends while you wait. Hopefully it won’t rain while we’re waiting, like it did last year. :)

Remember to wear comfortable shoes and clothes, You’ll be doing a lot of walking and standing (after a full day of walking the TechEd floor).

When you arrive at Universal, there will be lots of staff on hand to usher you into the park or answer questions. All the rides, food and drink that are open are free. There will be soda and beer stands setup along the walkways. It’s a very festive, fun and family friendly atmosphere.

The big rides, like The Simpsons Ride, Shrek 4-D, and Revenge of the Mummy, are very popular, but the lines move pretty quick. The park is open to us from 6:30-11:00pm, so be sure to scope out the rides and restaurants you want to visit before getting to the park. Not all rides may be open, however, due to maintenance or weather.

The park will close sharply at 11:00pm, which leads us to the most thrilling ride of the them all… Getting back to the hotel! This is probably my least favorite part of TechEd. Thousands of people, all as tired as you, descending on an extremely crowded area filled with buses. You have to find the one that’s going back to your hotel region and fight to get on board. Keep your kids close (if they were lucky enough to come with you).

Some people choose to skip the throngs of people by hanging out along Universal City Walk. Here, you can browse shops and maybe get a drink of something stronger at one of the bars, like Jimmy Buffett’s Magaritaville. Just be sure not to miss the last bus or you'll be calling a cab! Which come to think of it, isn't such a bad idea...

Update: Microsoft just changed the hours for the Attendee Party to run from 8:00pm-12:00am this year. :(

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Friday, May 23, 2008

The Swag Guy

ODC2008 Swag Guy
The Swag Guy

Past TechEd attendees will relate to this video. :)


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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Microsoft All-Star Community Pit Stop

Microsoft will be hosting a party for MCP, MCT, MVP and TechNet Subscribers at TechEd 2008 ITPro week this year. Here's the skinny:

Join us for an exclusive party for you and your peers!

The Microsoft All-Star Community Pit Stop
Tuesday Evening, June 10, TechEd IT Pro Week - 8:00pm
Location TBA

On June 10th, Day 1 of TechEd IT Pro Week, get ready to rub shoulders with some of the world’s most powerful IT Professionals and community influencers.

Exclusively for Microsoft MVPs, TechNet Plus Subscribers and Microsoft Certified Professionals and Trainers, the Microsoft All-Star Community Pit Stop party during TechEd IT Pro Week in Orlando, Florida is your opportunity to network with industry peers and key Microsoft executives, and enjoy an evening full of music, food, drinks, and fun —all compliments of Microsoft!

Party attendance is limited to the first 1000 people to register, so be sure to register today to reserve your spot at TechEd’s largest community-only party!

Be sure to have your MCP/MVP/TechNet ID ready and visit

You'll also need one of the following promotion codes:
  • TechNet Plus subscribers use code TECHNET
  • MCP/MCTs use code MCPMCT
  • MVPs use code MVP

Register today and I'll see you there! Be sure to check out my TechEd Extracurricular Events calendar for other swell parties and events.

Thanks, Trika!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

TechEd Tips for Families

Today we have a special guest article from my wife, Amy!

She wrote the following helpful tips for families who will be accompanying their significant other to TechEd in Orlando:

Kids and Tech Ed Tips and Tricks

You’ll most likely be in a hotel on or near International Drive. There is a trolley that runs up and down the street. Buy the 7 day ticket pass at your hotel's concierge. The trolleys run about every 15 to 20 minutes at stops all along the drive. There are well marked signs for the trolleys and they are so much more comfortable than walking in the heat with kids.

There's tons to do on International Drive. Lots of different themed mini golf places, a water slide park, an upside down museum (Wonderworks), and a go-kart park.

There are not a lot of “kid” places to eat, just a Denny’s, Chuck E. Cheese's, and a *big* McDonald's. If you order in like pizza or something, remember that there are thousands of guests in town for the conference and it could, and probably will, take well over an hour to get the food delivered. The other restaurants get very busy in the evening so call ahead for reservations. No grocery stores are nearby.

Take advantage of the breakfasts at your hotel and grab a few extra pieces of fruit for the room and hungry kids for later. Have your husband bring back extras of all the snack handouts from the conference. You could practically feed off of these alone for the week. It’s all grab and go, prepackaged stuff from granola bars, to cookies, to Power Bars.

Remember it’s hot, so be realistic about how much you and your children can do. I find that mine are very happy to get the afternoon off to just play in the pool at the hotel. It also helps if your hotel offers an adult “happy hour.” :)

Most hotels offer shuttle service to Disney World and other parks (Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, Epcot, Sea World, etc). Check at the front desk the day before as you might need to reserve a seat.

Theme parks are all fun but choose wisely based on your children’s ages. If they are over 10 then Animal Kingdom in Disney World would be OK, but might be bored with the rest of the “princess” thing. Universal is fun for older kids, but not for younger ones due to height requirements on most rides. Islands of Adventure is a good dual choice with things for older and younger kids and a nice “downtown” area with restaurants and shops just outside the park.

If you have a car, Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral is not that far away. It’s only about 40 minutes, but remember that there are toll roads all over the state so have lots of change handy. The Kennedy Center is amazing and worth going to if you can make it. You can spend the whole day there. If no car, check with the concierge for a tour group. Allow a full day to enjoy it all. It will be in the mid 90’s and humid so hats, sun block and lots of water are a necessity.

TechEd veteran and mother of an 8 and 12 year old

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

TechEd 2008 Group, Calendar and more

Just a reminder to all Teched 2008 attendees to visit my Extracurricular Activities group on TechEd Connect. Here, you'll read about any parties, get togethers and activities outside the event itself. Recent discussions have been around golf and poker.

You can also view the Extracurricular Activities Calendar to see which activities to join. If you have an event, no matter how small, you'd like to add to the calendar please let me know.

And be sure to check out Microsoft TechEd Online, a site devoted to TechEd 2008 Developers and IT Pros. Here, you can read about the event itself as well as what other TechEd bloggers are blogging about.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Official TechEd 2008 Bag!

Here it is! The official bag for TechEd 2008!

Brian Marble, Content Lead for TechEd, says it looks much better in person and the pictures don't do it justice.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

TechEd - Feeding the Masses

Logistically, it's an enormous task to keep over 10,000 people fed and watered, but Microsoft does an absolutely awesome job of it at TechEd.

Breakfast and lunch is provided in the dining area, which is a huge area central to the Orlando convention center. Friendly and professional staff will direct you in the dining area to the food tables where you grab a plate and dish up. At the end of the line you can grab something to drink. Take out containers are also available if you're on the run to a breakfast or lunch session.

Breakfast normally includes danishes, bagels, fresh fruit, cereal and two or three hot dishes like eggs, potatoes and a meat. The cold food stays cold and the hot food stays hot. Servers are regularly changing out trays in prompt fashion. Coffee carafes are usually available on the table at breakfast and lunch. You will find other cold drink stations amongst the tables, as well, offering bottled water, sodas and teas. Grab an extra bottle or can to drink in the sessions.

If you're running late or don't want to take the time for a sit down breakfast you can grab a granola or cereal bar, piece of fruit or danish from any of the many tables throughout the venue. These tables are constantly restocked. Coffee is usually setup throughout the conference center, as well, in the morning. There are usually espresso stands setup in the Microsoft area of the main floor, hosted by one or two Microsoft product groups. These are pretty popular and may have a line so be patient.

Lunch is provided in the same area and usually includes salad and dressing, a hot pasta dish, a hot vegetable or two, two different hot entrees and bread or a roll. This is all handled with even more efficiency than breakfast, due to the even larger number of people being served. You may note how the staff is very friendly and directs you to the most efficient route to your food and table without making you feel like herd animal. They also do a great job of clearing the tables and keeping things tidy.

If you have special dietary needs (low sodium, vegetarian, allergies, etc.) you can specify this at registration. Special menu tables are provided at the breakfast and lunch dining area for this. You must have specified you dietary requirements at registration to be served from this table.

Refrigerated drinks of water, fruit drinks, sodas, etc. are available throughout the venue.

Throughout the day you will see the feed at the snack tables located all over the conference center change. Around lunch time the snacks and potato chips come out, with more granola bars, Power Bars, fruit, etc. Later in the afternoon comes the always popular ice cream. Dove bars, Haagen dazs, frozen fruit bars, etc. are available, but go really fast.

In short, you'll nearly always find something to eat and drink and it won't cost you a dime.

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Monday, April 28, 2008

The TechEd 2008 Bag

Here's a sneak peak at the probable TechEd 2008 bag. It definitely looks nicer than the 2006 "man purse" and less "floppy" than last year's bag. We'll just have to see how functional it is and how durable the zippers are when we get our hands on it. Certainly looks roomy enough.


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Party with Palermo Registration is Open

For those of you attending TechEd 2008 Developers, registration is open for-

Party with Palermo: Tech Ed 2008 Developers Edition

June 2, 2008 @ 7:00PM - 10:00PM

Glo Lounge 8967 International Dr, Orlando, FL
Ph: 407.351.0361

Cover charge is 1 business card. This will get you in the door and register you for the grand prize drawings.
  • Free to attend
  • Free fingerfood
  • Free drink
  • Free swag

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TechEd 2008 - Gear to Bring

When you go to TechEd, there are going to be hundreds of computers available for you to use on the show floor and directly outside the session rooms. These computers are part of CommNet, the managed network that drives TechEd. They all have fast Internet access so you can check your email, sports scores, etc., but they also provide access to the post-session surveys and allow you to download the PPT presentation decks from any session, even the ones you don't personally attend.

For this reason, I never bring a laptop computer with me anymore. I find them too bulky and distracting in the sessions. I use my Windows Mobile 6 device to take quick notes that I email to myself and carry a small pad of paper for more extensive notes, if necessary. Bring a few USB thumb drives to download presentations onto from the kiosks. You'll get the PPTs on DVD serveral weeks (months?) after TechEd, but it's better to get that content while you're there.

If you need to bring a laptop, CommNet does a pretty good job of setting up access points all throughout the venue. You will notice flat panel displays in various areas and levels of the conference center that show you realtime coverage maps and signal strength. The biggest problem I've heard is that the APs don't provide good coverage inside the session areas. If you need Internet access in a session, sit closer to the back of the room (closer to the APs). Better yet, use one of the CommNet computers outside so you don't distract others around you - you're probably not paying attention to the session anyway.

I typically carry my empty TechEd backpack. The best was the one from San Diego, which I use every year, the worst was the infamous TechEd "man purse" from Boston, 2006. The only thing I carry in it is a pen, pad of paper and my mobile device. Magically it's filled with t-shirts, books, pens and other swag when I return to my hotel room at the end of the day. Don't bother bringing food or drinks with you to the conference center. There will always be food and drinks available there throughout the day. I'll blog about the food in a future post.

I usually come to TechEd with two suitcases, one inside the other. That way I can load the empty suitcase with my body weight in t-shirts and swag for my colleagues that couldn't attend.

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Friday, April 25, 2008

FREE Exam Crams at TechEd 2008 Orlando

Trika Harms zum Spreckel blogged that Microsoft will be hosting two exam crams and an MCSA/MCSE bootcamp at TechEd Orlando in June. Best of all, these FREE sessions are open to everyone, not just TechEd attendees.

Saturday June 7th. 9:00AM – 10:15AM - 70-562 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 3.5, ASP.NET Application Development. - Gilles Pommier

Saturday June 7th 1:30PM – 2:45PM - 70-536 TS: Microsoft .NET Framework 2.0—Application Development Foundation - Jeffry Belnap

MCSA and MCSE 2003 70-648 and 70-649 bootcamp on Sunday June 8, 8:00am – 4:00pm

See Trika's blog for details and registration instructions.

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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

TechEd 2008 Extracurricular Activities Calendar

I put together a TechEd Calendar to help attendees keep track of events. I've already entered the ones that have been discussed in the Extracurricular Activities group on CommNet.

If you have an event to share, please leave a comment so I can enter it on the calendar. Please include the event name, time, location, meeting place and website if applicable. Directions are nice, too.


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Monday, April 14, 2008

TechEd Session Question

I recently answered a question from a first time TechEd attendee about sessions.

"I will be a Tech-Ed newbie in Orlando, FL. I have attended VMware conferences and VMware allows you to sign-up for sessions (sign-ups get in first).With 10,000 attendees, I don't want to be at the end of long lines. Is there a sign-up website for registered attendees? Or how do I avoid the long lines to get into a session? Or are the "session" room space large enough to accommodate big groups?

Thanks,Ben (age 55 with bad feet)"

The TechEd 2008 Session Builder is now open. This is where you can register for the sessions you'd like to attend and gives Microsoft advanced notice how to schedule the rooms. However, when you add a session to your schedule by using the Schedule Builder tool, you are not guaranteed a seat in your selected session. Sessions are filled on a first-come, first-seated basis.

There is very rarely a problem attending any session you want. The Orlando Convention Center is HUGE and has very large rooms capable of holding 300+ people. Of course, some rooms are smaller and hold less, but generally MS does a very good job of "sizing" the room for the number of people who show interest in a topic. In the 5 years I've gone, I've only been turned away from one session that was too full.

By signing up for your conference sessions early, MS can gauge the interest and set the right room size. Often they will offer multiple sessions on the same topic if interest is great enough.

To be honest, I usually double or triple book myself for different sessions at the same time. That allows me to jump out of a session that isn't up to snuff and go to my second (or third) choice. All they do is read your name badge with an RFID scanner as you go in. This isn't to make sure that you've already registered, it's to track interest. I've had no trouble going into a session I didn't register for.

Hope this helps and have a great time!

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TechEd 2008 Schedule Builder

The TechEd 2008 Schedule Builder is now online!

Use the Schedule Builder to mark and plan the sessions you plan to take. Once you have built your schedule, you can add the sessions you want to attend to your personal Microsoft Outlook Calendar.

Keep in mind that when you add a session to your schedule by using the Schedule Builder tool, you are not guaranteed a seat in your selected session. Sessions are filled on a first-come, first-seated basis, although this has rarely happened to me.

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Friday, April 11, 2008

Tech-Ed 2008 Extracurricular Activities

Just an FYI for those who are registered for Tech-Ed 2008, I founded a group on TechEd Connect for Tech-Ed 2008 Extracurricular Activities. This is the first (and largest) group on Connect dedicated to discussions about Tech-Ed event parties and social gatherings.

Be sure to check it out!


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Tech-Ed 2008 Attendee Party Rumor

Rumor is that the Tech-Ed Attendee party will be at Universal Studios Florida this year.

If you look at the Universal Studios Theme Park Calendar, you'll see that the park closes early at 6:00pm on Thursday, June 5 and Thursday, June 12. Those dates correspond with the Tech-Ed Developers and Tech-Ed Professionals attendee party dates.

Last year's party was at Islands of Adventure (another Universal Studios theme park next door).


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Friday, March 21, 2008

TechEd 2008 Session Preference Survey is open

The TechEd 2008 Session Preference Survey is now open to registered attendees.

When you arrive at TechEd North America 2008 IT Professionals you will have the opportunity to attend up to 19 breakout sessions and 3 labs taking place during 19 timeslots. By entering the sessions and labs you're planning to attend, Microsoft can assign session rooms and determine which sessions to repeat.

Also, by taking the survey you are automatically entered with a chance to win one of five $100 American Express gift certificates!

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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Teched 2008 ITPro Conference Sessions

The Microsoft TechEd 2008 ITPro Conference Session Catalog is now online! You can browse over 770 different session types for TechEd IT Professionals. You can rate each session (1-5 stars) to supposedly allow Microsoft to fine tune the session(s) to fit your needs.


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Monday, February 25, 2008

TechEd for Novices

Scott Dorman published a GREAT article, TechEd for Novices, 2008 Edition. Lots of good information here for the novice and pro alike!

He covers session types, information on building your schedule, CommNet and dealing with information overload. Be sure to check it out!


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Friday, January 25, 2008

Random Photos from TechEd 2007

Here are some photos taken last year at TechEd 2007 in Orlando. Maybe this will give you some idea of the scope and size of the event.

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TechEd 2008 Tips

This year will be my fifth TechEd. Here are my tips for a happy and productive experience.

  • Book your hotel through the MS TechEd site. These are the best rates and any of these hotels will have guaranteed (free) bus service to the conference (unless TechEd is being held in Boston. Those of you who were there know what I'm talking about.). I like the Embassy Suites on Jamaican Court. It's close, nice rooms and has a great free breakfast (although food is NEVER a problem at TechEd).

  • Pack your suitcase inside another suitcase to travel to TechEd. That way you will have a another BIG suitcase to bring back your swag.

  • Don't rent a car unless you need one. Some hotels offer transportation to/from the airport, otherwise take a cab. Most hotels have car rentals in the lobby, so you can always rent one if needed.

  • When the TechEd courses go online on the Connect site, review them and sign up for all the ones you want to attend, even if they overlap times. That way, you can always leave a session that doesn't live up to your expectations for a different one. Be aware that some sessions book up full.

  • Wear comfortable clothes and shoes. The venue is climate controlled, so dress for 20C/72F.

  • Try to stay a couple of days before or after the event to visit some sites. I HIGHLY recommend renting a car and visiting the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral (about 40 minutes away). We got to see Atlantis launch last year and it was absolutely awesome!

  • Plan on and attend the appreciation party on Thursday night.

  • Visit this blog often for pictures, reviews and commentary.

  • If you're from Europe and you're a guy, DO NOT wear capris. I will point at you and laugh out loud.
Got more tips? Leave them as a comment below!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

TechEd 2008 Registration is Open!

TechEd 2008, the premier Microsoft IT learning experience, opened today for registration. I signed up as soon as the website came live. As you may know, TechEd is divided up into two separate events this year, Tech·Ed U.S. Developers (June 3-6, 2008) and Tech·Ed U.S. IT Professionals (June 10-13, 2008).

I'm thrilled to see that Marcus Murray is presenting a pre-conference seminar, "A Step-By-Step Guide to Hack-Proofing Your Microsoft Network." I wrote about Marcus at last year's TechEd, where he scared the living bejezus out of everyone in packed conference rooms. I can't wait to see what he's going to show off this year. I've removed the NIC from all my servers just to be safe. :)

As Brian Marble reported, TechEd 2008 will also be one of Bill Gates last public speaking engagements before he retires from Microsoft and embarks on his full time gig of giving money away. Bill and Melinda's philanthropy astounds me and warms my soul.

I'll be attending the Tech·Ed U.S. IT Professionals session. Let me know if you'll be going, too!

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Thursday, June 7, 2007

Buses of Adventure

Wow, we haven't even made it to the party yet and we're already having an adventure.

After waiting outside for 45 minutes through two rainstorms, we finally got on a bus that could hold more than two people. Funny, apparently know one told the bus driver that he was supposed to go to Islands of Adventure because he drove us back to the conference center. Over 50 wet people nearly took over the bus when he stopped and asked, "Where are we going?"



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Fun Times at TechEd

Had a good time at the Microsoft Influencer and Double-Take parties last night. Microsoft's party was at Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville and Double-Take's was at the Hard Rock, both in Universal Studios CityWalk.
Lots of good beer, food, music, and did I mention beer? Hard to say which was better. Double-Take's live band was members of the Double-Take team. Pretty talented bunch of guys!
Today I'm doing sessions on Exchange 2007 sizing and storage. Well, off to the sessions!


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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Good Day Today

Today was a good session day. I got to start and end it with Marcus Murray, who finished the day to a PACKED session in the TLC Library showing how easy it is to perform a buffer overrun exploit. Scary, scary stuff. The guy is a rockstar.

Other sessions included Paul Robichaux, talking about Forefront Security for Exchange, and a good session on architecting and upgrading WSUS 3.0.

I got to see our friends at Sam's Publishing in the vendor booth. Sams publishes the Microsoft "Unleashed" series, including Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 Unleashed and Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 Unleashed, both of which I am a cowriter of. Fellow CCO consultant, Michael Noel was there at the Sams booth on Tuesday. Be sure to check out his sessions on SharePoint 2007 here at TechEd!

I'll post a summary of the items discussed at the WSUS session in a future blog. For now, I'm going to get ready for the Microsoft Influencer's Party at Margaritaville and the Double-Take party at the Hard Rock. Woo-hoo!

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Knocked my Socks Off

My first session this morning was "Why I can Hack Your Network in a Day!", by Marcus Murray. The information and demos he gave were absolutely frightening. He showed how to gain full access to almost any domain with ease. Amazing stuff. It's his first US TechEd and I'm sure it won't be his last. Now if he'd only do a session on securing networks, I'll sleep better.

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Tuesday, June 5, 2007

I'm a Weener!

I just found out that I won a Dr. Scripto bobblehead doll! Now, my training is complete.
Actually, this is just the motivation I need to plug away when I'm having trouble with an ADSI script.
Thanks, Scripting Guys!!!


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Exchange 2007 SP1

Some of the details for Exchange Server 2007 Service Pack 1 were released at a session I attended yesterday. Here are some of the new and improved features:
  • Public Folders are available in OWA. I like the fact that they will display in the same OWA instance, rather than a new window like Exchange 2003 does.
  • Quota notifications in OWA. OWA will no display banner bars if you are approaching your mailbox size limit.
  • Web ready opens Office 2007 documents
  • Creation and manaement of server-side rules
  • S/MIME support
  • Ability to recover deleted items
  • Ability to permanently delete items from the dumpster
  • Confirmation of successful wipe of mobile device
  • Ability to add custom applications to OWA
  • Move-mail cmdlet can export to a Unicode PST file. No more 2GB limit!
  • Powershell syntax improvements
  • ESM adds pubic folder management tools
  • ESM adds cluster configuration tools
  • ESM adds POP/IMAP configuration
  • ESM adds "Send as" permissioning
  • ESM adds Delegate managment
  • ESM adds Folder level permissions
  • ID translation across Exchange orgs
  • SCR (Single Copy Replication)
  • IRM (Information Rights Management) prefetching to boost performance
  • IPV6 support

E2K7 SP1 will require Windows SP2.

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"Spare No Expense"

Florida is flat. So flat, that Microsoft imported their own mountain right in front of the conference center. I guess that's so the the people from Colorado feel more at home.

Last night was the "official" opening of the vendor areas and reception. I got my bodyweight in t-shirts. One of my colleagues got so much stuff he broke a strap off his Teched backpack.

Today I'll be starting the day with a deep dive into Windows Server 2008 Core and command line administration. This afternoon I'll be participating in focus groups around Windows Mobile security and the Microsoft Solutions Accelerators.

The weather has been nice so far, but we may expect some rain today or tomorrow.


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Monday, June 4, 2007

Let the swagging begin!

So while I was attending Steve Riley's presentation on the 'Internet Based Data Center' the vendor area and TLCs opened up. Lines are forming for t-shirts, pens, and plastic trinkets. What's the best swag you've gotten so far?


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Pip, plip-plip-plip

A common sound heard around TechEd. It's the sound of pen caps spontaneously falling off the fine quality pens attached to everyone's badge holders. You'd think a small detail like this would be thought out a bit better...


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Nerd control at TechEd

Cracks me up. I'm sitting in the conference hall where we're waiting for the morning keynote session. The "red shirts" are herding everyone down one isle, around and backup another isle, essentially making a "nerd parade" for the seated occupants.

Breakfast at the venue was good this morning, but included some hot black water beverage that was billed as "coffee", but most certainly wasn't.

Most of my sessions today are for unified communications, but I have a couple of Windows Server 2008 sessions, too. Tonight's the opening of the vendor floor. Looking forward to that.


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Sunday, June 3, 2007

Live from TechEd

I'm attending the Exchange pre-conference today. We got here early to register and get our goodie bag. Much better than last year's "man purse", this year Microsft is giving out backpacks similar to the one from TechEd 2004 (San Diego). The only gripe I have is that the zippers get jammed all the time.

The pre-con is pretty good so far. The speakers are knowledgeable and there's lots of good hands on labs.


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Saturday, June 2, 2007

Greetings from Orlando

Well, the family and I have arrived in Orlando. We just settled in at the hotel and I'll be attending the Exchange 2007 pre-conference tomorrow. Lots of techies here and Microsoft has a good presence all over town. Even our room keys advertise Microsoft/BI Business Intelligence.

I'll right a review of the pre-conference tomorrow.


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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Getting Ready for Tech-Ed 2007!

It's that time again -- I'm off to Tech-Ed in Orlando! This will be my fourth Tech-Ed and the second time in Orlando. I'm hoping to blog about it daily while I'm there. I'll be attending mainly Exchange and Windows Server seminars, but I'll also see some Systems Center, Sharepoint, WSUS and security sessions as well. My schedule builder has as many as 8 simultaneous sessions booked, so I think I'll be busy enough.

As usual, I'll be packing a suitcase inside a suitcase so I'll have one to fill with swag and t-shirts. Parties are already booked for Tuesday and Wednesday, and of course there will be the Tech-Ed Attendee Party at Islands of Adventure on Thursday. Fun times! Here's a link to the IOA Unofficial Guide with lots of good information about the park.


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