As a Developer Evangelist I spend a lot of time using technology and evangelising technology. And I've realised one thing, there is no substitute for hands-on product experience. For example, in the early days of VSTS, I used to speak emphatically about the virtues of TFS SCC, but I hadn't really used it anger. Over the past 12 months, I've started exploring different aspects of TFS SCC, and started to experience the merge agents, branching functionality, developer shelving. And now when I speak to developers about TFS SCC, I speak from experience, rather than knowledge, and that authenticity and experience makes the difference between a customer saying "Hey that sounds great" to "Wow, I want to experience that too".

Now, it's no big deal that I'm someone who loves gadgets, and sometime ago, I put the call out for someone to sponsor me. Why? Because without the right hardware platform, our tools don't work! It's that simple. So I was wrapped to catch-up with David Jones from Intel last week, to discuss my new sponsorship (I call it satisfying my habit) arrangement. Well, I have to give it to Dave and the Intel team, within the space of a couple of days, they have not only arranged through one of their partners (none other than Shuttle) a cool new SB86i that is going to be loaded by Intel with the latest dual core server procs (dual proc too!)!!!

So as soon as I get my new demo shuttle, I will be loading up Windows Server 2003, Virtual Server 2005 R2 and the full complement of Visual Studio Team Suite, Team Foundation Server, SQL Server 2005, BizTalk Server 2006 Beta 2 and anything else I can get my hands on, and will be running a bunch of new lunch time sessions in Melbourne in the New Year. So if there is something you want to see demo'd, drop me a line, I'll start planning the demo menu when the launch tour is done and dusted.

And for anyone else who wants to offer up product for evaluation and evangelising, let me know, there is always space on the sponsor ship ;)