I’m still catching up on my conference recaps…

TechEd US was another busy conference this year, with a ton of great interactions and lots of activity around Windows 7 to keep things interesting. We ran a Windows 7 application compatibility lab again, and had more advertising than ever, but the folks who were staffing that spent a lot of time bored. Perhaps that’s a good sign for app compat for Windows 7? (Hey, I’m trying to look on the bright side.)

I delivered 3 breakout sessions this go-around: one providing an overview of application compatibility for Windows 7, one talking about how to fix applications using shims, and one going into hard core debugging for application compatibility issues. How did I do? (As always, I list the rank order of my session against all other sessions at the conference with 10 or more evaluations, in this case 396.)  The good news is that I was in the Top 10% of scores for almost every attribute of my sessions, with one exception (debugging – we’ll talk about that in the analysis).

  Win7 Overview Shims Debugging
Overall 12 18 47
Valuable Information 10 33 37
Knowledgeable 3 5 26
Effective Speaker 10 14 51
Effective Demos 4 9 42

And the comments?

Win7 Overview

Chris is an incredible presenter. I try to make it to all of his sessions each year. He is great to work with outside of the sessions as well.

Chris was able to take a dry subject and make it fun. Good presentation. Good examples/demo.

great session ... great speaker

Great speaker, was able to maintain captive audience.

I had to leave, Chris was yelling over the mic and after 15 minutes I was getting very exhausted of trying to listen.

I was hoping for more how to fix my apps. Found out that there is another session for that, so I'm attending that one too.

informative and on subject.

outstanding speaker

Over 75% of the audience were still on XP. Discussion would be more affective if it went into migration of XP to Windows 7 instead of going from Vista to Windows 7. Not much difference from this latter migration.

Per the session title, I expected more demos and hands on examples on fixing application compatibility issues.

The speaker did an absolutely fabulous job discussing the things that we need to consider when moving to Windows 7. If there was one area of improvement, I would have liked to have seen more information related to moving from XP to 7 instead of Vista to 7. Many of our enterprises have a lot of work to do, so thank you for making sense out of most of it.


Awesome session. Thanks.

Chris Rocks!!! Very good presentation and his expierence and depth of knowledge just made this great. Thank you ...

Even though the speaker took a survey of the audience and most people responded that they did not know what a shim is, the speaker still did not define what a shim is, or mention which various applications he was using in the demo to fix the problems. He did show how the process works but, for example, he used "Standard User Analyzer" and I have no clue where he got it from. I left early for a different session.

Great session.

Had no idea I could fix some of those nagging legacy apps to work. This was a very powerful presentation and made me feel very enabled! nice job!

I was unaware of shims previous to this session, can't wait to get to creating my own.

This presentation was on a topic that we probably won't have to face at my company. However, the presenter was very knowledgeable and effective. The information I picked up here may come in handy, in case I need it.

Very interesting, demystified app compat for me to a great extent


A bit over my head, but definately a good session.

Chris is a pleasure to watch. One day I want to be Chris Jackson

cjacks is a great and lively presenter who knows his stuff

Excellent session - not for your typical TechEd attendee. Outstanding delivery and extremely useful material.

good thought provoking session. Thanks!

I'm not a developer or a debugger, but Chris made this presentation one of the best of TechEd!


Here are my take-aways from this data:

Scores aren’t as informative as comments. Thank you to everyone who took the time to fill out comments, it really is helpful in helping me interpret the data that I receive. If you take a look at the numbers alone, my overview session was the highest rated session. However, the comments revealed some mixed feelings. My debugging session had ratings that were mostly not even in the Top 10%, but received comments that defined people who were extremely enthused. Which leads me to this:

A Likert scale has the fundamental flaw of clipping feedback. As pointed out above, the debugging session was clearly the lowest rated session, and to some extent that was expected. I set out to go hard core. I called the session “Not For the Faint of Heart: Hard Core App Compat Debugging.” But, despite that, people are still going to show up and think it’s too technical and get lost. Those people aren’t going to give you the great scores. However, for people who are delighted, the score doesn’t capture that delight. It’s one of the risks of presenting something that’s almost necessarily going to divide folks along these lines. But I’d rather actually give you something that delights you at the expense of going over some peoples’ heads, because sticking to the least common denominator means you can never go hard core geek. I like to have a little of that around – the burden is mine to keep the quality levels high enough that we can continue to have sessions like these despite alienating a few people.

I appear to know what I’m talking about. This is the area of highest ratings across the board. Thanks for that – it makes me feel great!

I need to figure out some way to do Windows XP – Windows 7. I’ve been presenting on the delta from Windows Vista to Windows 7, not only because the delta from Windows XP to Windows Vista is so thoroughly documented, but also because it’s really hard to fit that into a single hour. (I deliver a 2 day workshop covering this – how do I squeeze that into 1/16 of the normal size?) However, it’s coming back loud and clear that making you connect the dots isn’t working so well.

Mic check at normal volume. I had one dissatisfied attendee who thought I was yelling. I don’t really so much yell, per se, as have a voice that carries well enough that I seldom actually need a microphone. So, when I do have one, it can be kind of loud. Fortunately, this feedback came in the first session, and I was able to do better mic checks for the other 2 sessions.

One day I want to be Chris Jackson. OK, that’s just the most f*ing awesome comment ever.