Updated: Added co-presenter info, and corrected 2 typos.

The 2009 conference season has begun, launched with an internal Microsoft conference: TechReady 8. So, while not everyone can be there, it’s fairly representative of what there is to come at the public conferences happening later in the year. Clearly, I want to learn everything I can from the internal one so we can really deliver some great stuff at external conferences.

Not that internal folks deserve any less, just that we can take more risks. And take risks I did. It turns out that, if you show a photo of the COO of your own company immediately after a photo of Darth Vader to a bunch of people who report through him, they pause a moment before they laugh…

So, what am I presenting this season?

What's New in Application Compatibility for Windows 7

Writing Compatible Applications for Windows Vista and Windows 7 (with Aaron Margosis)

Mitigating Application Issues Using Shims

Debugging Application Compatibility Issues (with Gov Maharaj)

Q&A with Chris Jackson and Aaron Margosis

Now, let’s look at the scores that people provide for this conference:

The speaker was knowledgeable about the subject matter.

The speaker's presentation skills helped me better understand the material.

The content was effective in achieving the stated learning objectives.

The demonstration(s) were effective.

This session builds skills improving how I sell, market, and/or provide services to our customers and partners.

The knowledge/skills I gained are relevant to my role.

This readiness solution was worth the investment of my time.

I will recommend this readiness solution to others.

Overall, I was satisfied with this Session/Chalk Talk.

Content Level: Please rank the level of technical information actually delivered.

Please provide additional constructive comments, suggestions, feedback.

Average for all questions combined

Let’s take a look at my ranking compared to every other session. This year, there were 734 breakout and chalk-talk sessions. How did I stack rank on these sessions?

TR8 CLI318 CLI400 CLI401 CLI402 CLICT306
Q1 11 12 12 12 13
Q2 13 29 8 14 23
Q3 7 21 22 24 24
Q4 5 25 17 18 7
Q5 23 27 16 22 18
Q6 44 18 19 24 20
Q7 26 18 12 24 21
Q8 15 21 12 20 31
Q9 10 27 11 23 1
Qavg 19 25 16 22 18

Now let’s look at the comments:


Great content, great speaker. Great job Chris

This kind of session are the most useful for CSS guys, I wish there was more of them.

The session was somewhat chaotic. I know the speaker can do better. Found it hard to understand all.

I would suggest to rename the session and the description. The initial expectations were more oriented in understanding how the OS evolves ... but the session when more into demoing how to program to leverage new OS features ... which is fine ... but need another name for the session Been a .NET programmer I was able to understand the demos, but I guess some infrastructure people were not able to gain as much knowledge as they expected


Great speaker!

Great presentation!


Very useful

Session too unstructured - I hate "death by powerpoint" as much as anyone, but a few slides would have helped the flow and would re-inforce the key points. Also, too often some important knowledge was assumed without good reason - i.e. one new Vista feature was used to explain another without checking the attendees were aware of it. For example,Integrity Levels were used to explain some UIPI, but then it turned out the audience weren't too familiar with them, so had to backtrack.

This is simply the BEST SESSION OF TR8! Awesome is the only word- ability to deliver all we need without PPT is just great!

GREAT INFO! After the session I was up giving a suggestion about making this available as a WorkshopPLUS to our customers. The ADC (Application Development Consultant) should be able to levarage your content as a WorkshopPLUS event through Premier Support. My recommendation would be for you to hook up with Premier Services offering leads in making this happen.


One of the best sessions I've attended so far.

Excelent presentation ... keep up the good job ... I would really like to see HOL on this topic ... I think it is very important to ensure the deployment


This session should be a model

This was over my head, my fault. Should have read the description more carefully.

Great stuff, wonderful to see a core debugging session @ TR8

it would be nice to have some one-page hands-out that describes how the application are debugged and what's the learning points from that debugging session. This can be used as a "cheat sheet" by the field when they perform application compatibility work.

Content was over my head

Good session. I wish more sessions were technical like this.


This session was just excellent! Chris and Gov clearly stated all the big implications involved in the compatibility subject in Windows. Good Job, guys!

Chris did an excellent job presenting - very polished speaker. Gov also did a good job speaking and was entertaining. Both were very knowledgeable of the subject matter, and the session made me aware of the differences of how the appcompat team approaches problems compared to those of us in GES. Very useful session and content!




The scores kind of mapped up to my initial impressions. Overall, I thought it went well and was a lot of fun, but I didn’t “nail” any of my sessions, so no #1 session for me this go-around. Not even top 10’s. But they were all top-25, and there were a number of highlights.

I need to finish figuring out the Windows 7 app compat story. This one has been stretching me a bit. You see, we’re really not breaking a lot more. So, the story is a lot the same as the Windows Vista story, with a few minor tweaks. With Windows Vista, you could ramble on for hours about all of the security features that broke stuff. For Windows 7, you have to get kind of obscure. So the conversation either diverges to hard core technical, or it rises up to strategic with a little technical flavoring. Either way, I clearly need to just pick one, because people didn’t walk away feeling empowered to actually get something done.

I really need to work on the developer story. Aaron and I whipped up some decent content, but it felt unstructured because it was. We were taking ideas and throwing them against the wall. Some of them stuck, others didn’t. We really needed to have this experience, I think, to do it right. But now that we’ve had it, it’s up to us to really nail it next time. One guy was calling for more PPT. I don’t think you need PPTs to organize, but you clearly need organization!

The debugging session needs to be clear what it is. Some people ended up feeling it was over their head. So, I renamed the session for TechEd (assuming it gets accepted) to “Not for the Faint of Heart: Hard Core App Compat Debugging” so expectations can be more clear.

It’s a blast presenting with Aaron and Gov. I always love working with Aaron – I had no idea what it’d be like working with Gov. Awesome. We played off of each other well. Aaron and I have a very Odd Couple-esque on-stage relationship which is fun. Plus he’s so damn smart. Gov is just authentic hard-core to the bone who can debug on a stage much like Eddie Van Halen can play guitar. All I really had to do was narrate. He was constantly laying down a solid rhythm track, and watching him solo is a sight to behold.

People like the hard stuff. Every time I have a crazy-go-nuts deep session, it just really jives with some folks. Now if I could just get my explanatory abilities to the same level as Mark Russinovich

Shims are still relevant. In the 2008 season, I had two sessions. I combined them into one, and it’s still getting good reviews and comments. So, looks like this one is still interesting and helpful.

As always, I want to make sure the conference content helps you do your job better, so if I’m missing a category of learning you wish you could get at TechEd or some other conference, then make sure to let me know.