Next on the list was TechEd Orlando, where Indigo and the Distributed Systems Group were part of the Connected Systems Infrastructure track. I was lucky enough to do a demo in Bob Muglia’s general session.
In that talk, I presented a healthcare demo. I was a patient in the intensive care unit of a hospital, and I was showing off an app that would let a doctor see my vital signs realtime no matter where she was inside or outside of the hospital. I was attached to a heart rate monitor and a brain wave monitor which sent my vital signs to an Indigo service; a doctor could use her Tablet PC to launch an Indigo client that connected to that service, pulled down the data in realtime, and showed it in a pretty gui. Since we were using Indigo, I was able to make a one-line change to the config file on the client to change the transport it was using from tcp to http, so the doctor could see this info from outside the hospital firewall. Then I changed config again to use reliable messaging, so that the doctor could see all the data despite packet loss over the web using http. Finally, I added another line of code in config to invoke custom biometric security functionality, so that the doctor had to swipe his finger across the Tablet PC’s fingerprint reader to authenticate himself before he could see my data. The coolest part was that we never had to rebuild the app—since we were just changing config files that get read at run-time, all I had to do was shut down the app, make a config change, and restart the app. It was a cool demo, although the problem with wearing a heart rate monitor onstage is that it’s impossible to deny how nervous you are.
(As an aside, the people who worked around my office were ready to kill me—when I was practicing for the demo, I’d occasionally pull off the heart rate monitor and leave for a meeting without remembering to actually turn the machine off. Of course, this meant that the heart rate monitor thought I was dying and started sounding an alarm that sounds surprisingly like a fire alarm. However, I found that the machine was a pretty useful thing to have lying around in your office—whenever I felt stressed or anxious about something, I could just put on the heart rate monitor and have a pretty good gauge of exactly how nervous I was.)
Anyway, the rest of TechEd went well too—we were mostly focused more on shipping technologies, so the current distributed systems technology really had the floor. We did do a couple of Indigo talks, which were also pretty well received. The team talked to a lot of people in the product pavilion and in the cabana, and we heard some great questions. Conferences are always fun—you get to hang out not just with customers, but also see the people you work with every day in a new environment, which is sometimes very surprising.