So I finally raise my head from my  piles of virtual work here in Redmond (you don't want to look too close at my laptop's desktop) and all I see are those lucky stiffs who got to go to Tech Ed lacking the proper gratitude. :D

Admittedly, when one has no Internet access one suffers severe withdrawal symptoms (I know I do) - but we got Rob Enderle complaining about how the wireless connectivy wavers during the Keynote. We got Duncan Mackenzie realizing that the immense burden he carries is not merely that of a content strategist at MSDN, but what looks to be a heavy mountain pack of geek survival gear,  and Shawn Morrissey so tired he can only whisper at the last... “Burton.”

Scott Ladewig meanwhile is freezing his knees off in the Commnet area of TechEd.

People, people. This is San Diego we are talking about. You tempt fate by calling anything a Dev Cabana, and you know the connectivity area is going to be cold. At least it's not the PDC where LA was on fire.

Myself, I have to gear up for my own presentation - nowhere near the pressure of Rebecca Dias ' but important enough - I'm training other folks at MSDN how to create the community components you see on the MSDN Community Home page. To make this presentation work, I had to re-acquaint myself with some of our publishing tools and orient myself to the way other site managers work every day with them, because I handcoded the ones on the Community Home page. None of these guys will want to do that. The whole exercise reminded me of the book I am re-reading now, Contextual Design.

I first read Contextual Design about 3 years ago when I was a UI PM for a small software company creating an application that managed project portfolios. Its basic tenets are to acquaint yourself with the way your customers/audience works (and they give you methods for doing that) and to have clear analysis and documentation that depicts how the user will move through the tool/system you are building in context. For me, I knew the code for the components would work on any page in MSDN, but that's not enough - I have to show the site manager a way of working that fits in their tools.

In doing so, I actully ended up learning more about the code and our pages work together (did I mention I'm still a novice at ASP.NET? All hail Kent Sharkey.)

Yes, we only learn through pain. Even those of you lucky stiffs at Teched.

Cheers!