I just finished my web chat session. We had nearly 50 qs asked in an hour or so. I must say it brought back memories of exams...

As I went to the conf room with a borrowed laptop, I was nervous. Ok - I was a little more than nervous - bordering on jittery you can say. At least I was before time - I had a good 20 mins to go until the chat began. I would collect my thoughts until then I thought. As I put the network cable into my laptop, the machine just would not connect to corpnet. Troubled as I was, I had to drag my manager out of his room to fix my conn issues. It turned out I was connecting to a dead port and just had to switch the port! Now, I understood that nervousness was beginning to play on me. As I started up the machine, I realized I had not yet installed chat manager on this system. Ouch! I tried TS-ing into my dev machine, but for some reason, the perf was so goddamn slow that I could actually hear the letters being rendered as I typed! I tried installing chat manager on the laptop itself, but the msi being in Redmond , it took me a while before it was installed on the machine. In the middle of the installation, my laptop hibernated without a warning! Battery low! As I tried plugging in the power supply, I noticed that the laptop's plug had round pins whereas the sockets had flat pins. No adapter in sight. Determined to remain calm, I searched around a few offices and finally got an adapter that would interface with my plug and socket. Finally, I was ready to go no more than 20 seconds before the chat began.

As the moderator started introducing us, I felt a twang of sharp fear. Expert? He is actually introducing me as an expert; but what if I can't answer a q? What if I forget answers to basic qs like what is internationalization? That was ok - I could always msn my way through ( that's right - I did not say Google my way through :P) Yeah right! I was supposed to msn search? Like the participants can't do that themselves! Ok - if I forgot, I could reassign the q to the other experts in the room. They would not forget unlike me. But what if I can't answer any q at all? Yikes! This is exactly the way I felt before each exam! Why did I even sign up for this?

As I was lost in my paranoia, I realised that the first q had already been asked. That is simple - I can answer that, I thought. It was a straightforward q on what internationalization of s/w is. As I finished typing the answer to that one, I saw a couple of more qs that I wanted to answer - qs related to asp.net i18n. Those were interesting. As more and more qs kept coming, I did not have the time to re-experience my fears! I took some fairly nice qs and was pleasantly surprised at how interested the participants were in newer features of internationalization and all aspects of it! Qs on satellite dlls, localizing static content on web sites, using multiple cultures in a single page, differences between cultures, Unicode encoding schemes, .NET API support for the same - they all kept coming. A few tricky ones were asked too - some good gotchas in i18n. As the qs kept flowing, I did not realize that we had already spent an hour :) Sweet! I actually made through the entire chat session without being totally foxed by any q! Er - I don't want to make that sound like a miracle, but that was really the way I felt when it began. The last q was on the difference between localization and localizability. Wow! I wouldn't have missed a chance to answer that one (readers of my previous blogs know why ;-)

Now that my first time went off quite decently, I can venture to say that I really quite enjoyed it. I am looking forward to another web chat again...