Sharing the goodness…
Beth Massi is a Senior Program Manager on the Visual Studio team at Microsoft and a community champion for business application developers. Learn more about Beth.
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What a busy week! Every time I sat down to write this blog post, someone would sit down and want to chat with me about architecture, languages or data. PDC is so big and there's so much to talk about with people and there are so many experts here. I've had a lot of folks come up to me and tell me they read this blog, so I thank them!
I hadn't planned on going to PDC but I decided to drive the 5 hours down to L.A. from the Bay Area so I could spend some time with Alan. Our schedules for the past month were so busy that we hadn't seen much of each other. So I thought a road trip in my new car (old one still for sale :-)) would be fun. Alan and I love road trips and we literally flew down I-5.
I admit, I miss L.A. a little bit. I was born near the L.A. Harbor in San Pedro and lived there until I was 19 years old. Driving from Studio City to downtown to Hollywood and flying around in the car has been so much fun. I love how all the freeways are intertwined like snakes and at 2am in the morning you can fly over them so fast -- reminded me of Project Gotham on the XBox :-). The freeways are all named based on the direction you want to head (i.e. Harbor Freeway is south, Pasadena Freeway is north) and you pay respect to the freeways by always saying "the" in front of the freeway number. The 405. The 110. The 101. (In the Bay Area we have public transportation via BART so we don't do that. LOL.) Driving a freeway here can be a lot of fun or a lot of pain depending on the time of day. I slipped right back into my super aggressive driving skills the minute I came into the Valley. I hope a CHP officer isn't reading this post. (Oh and "Sorry" to Sam Gazitt -- apparently he's not used to driving quickly so he was easily scared when I gave him a lift back to his hotel.)
We're staying out in Studio City near Universal Studios and the conference is downtown so I get to drive 12 miles to the conference over 101 into Hollywood then 110 .. oh sorry "the" 110 ;-) into downtown. Not too much traffic so far. At least I don't mind it too much. The weather is warm (high 80's) and the sun is shining bright. Hey -- it's L.A. The weather is always warm here.
The first day at PDC was awesome. Here's the site by the way where all the content is being recorded. I went to the Ray Ozzie Keynote and behind us was Carl Franklin. I snuck a shot as he was intently listening to Ray.
The big announcement on Monday that I'm sure you've heard about already is Windows "Azure" which is all about "data in the cloud". Microsoft has thousands of computers in data centers all over the world where you can program against Live services as well as store data and synchronize it across all your devices and users. It's pretty cool and I'm going to start looking at it myself. You can sign up for an account at www.azure.com to start playing with it. This could be a great solution for small/medium businesses that can't (or don't want to) manage applications and servers on site.
After the Keynote I saw the Channel 9 dude and had to get a picture since I'm a niner as well.
Most of the time I've been spending in the "Big Room" hanging at the Visual Studio booth area but I also have been trying to make sessions. I went to a couple sessions that spoke about the framework used to program against the cloud as well as the Visual Basic Futures talk where Lucian and Paul showed us the upcoming VB 10 features -- no more underscores people! :-) Lucian also showed multi-line and statement lambdas, automatic properties, collection initializers, generic variance as well as a feature called no-PIAs. No-PIAs means no Primary Interop Assemblies anymore. So say if you are working with Office you don't have to distribute the PIAs with your app. Instead the compiler will automatically link in only the methods from the PIA that you are using, thus reducing the deployment burden. Very handy!
So of course there are a lot of MVPs, press, and community people here so I've been having a lot of fun networking as well. I I was supposed to help out with a Chalk Talk on VS 2008 Tips and Tricks yesterday but there were more staff than attendees so I sat down with Michael Palermo, Regional Director in Phoenix and showed him a bunch of features and tricks with XML Literals and LINQ in Visual Basic. He runs a training company and he's going to incorporate the stuff I showed him into their curriculum. He was very grateful for the one-on-one time -- it was no problem, it's what I enjoy most about coming to conferences.
PDC also has cool exhibits. Here's Alan and Steve Lasker next to the Mars Rover.
Sara Ford was at PDC promoting her Visual Studio Tips book where all proceeds go to charity.
I also ran into John (Iron) Lam and Kate Gregory as well as a couple other C-men ;-)
Here's Maurice and Alan playing on the escalator.
On Monday night DevExpress also got Mini Me from the Austin Powers movies to help do a presentation on stage. It was hilarious.
On Monday evening I went to the C# & VB MVP dinner and had some great conversations with many of the language MVPs. We chatted mostly about what business applications they were building lately and what technologies they were excited about most at PDC. I sat next to Paul Vick, Ted Neward and Chris Williams. Charlie Calvert and Lisa Feigenbaum C#/VB Community Leads put the dinner together and it was a hit.
Last night the attendee party was at Universal Studios and it was awesome. They transformed the sound stages into freaky Halloween mazes with awesome actors, I highly recommend it. I love being freaked out. I got a lot of great ideas for my Halloween Party on Friday night :-)
Well I better get back to the sessions, I need to suck up as much knowledge as possible today. Don't forget to head to http://microsoftpdc.com/ for all the content from the conference.
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