For some reason, this post got lost for 24 hours. So here it is with help from blog support folks ...
First a few obvious but essential things - kind of like blog hygeine. Remember, as always, in the blog-space, I am expressing personal opinions - not corporate policy. Some / all folksat MS may disagree with some / all opinions. No really, we are not droids :-)
NetBeans workshop was OK but not great. The track I first attended was not very interesting. Talk, click, talk, talk, click, exception hmmm. Once a presentation hits a glitch, it takes significant skill to recover. As a presenter, it can be a tough situation. But there are lessons there to be learnt - do not try a hasty debugging session (you can't find the bug) or start soliciting help from the audience (too many random suggestions). And if you notice a large number of people leaving, then well - take notice of it and move to the next topic instead. The other track at NetBeans went a lot smoother and the room was almost full - they were able to show EJB and web-service demos smoothly and make their points quite well.
What struck me was the feature convergence of IDEs. Auto-complete, code templates, refactoring, new projects pre-populated and ready to go - all IDE builders are trying to differentiate but the basic ideas and approaches seemed similar. There is of course a time lag and a difference in execution but still - there weren't too many things that would make you say wow!
On to JavaOne registration. Provide the print out with bar code, show photo ID - airport style. Have you packed your backpack and has it been with you since you packed it - just kidding! Walk across the street and down the escalator to pick up material. Is it too much to expect one stop shop for registration and pick up? BTW, JavaOne organizers literally believe that one size fits all - the XL t-shirt is the proof :-( Not that I would wear that t-shirt on MS campus.
Fireside chat for alumni is a really nice event. The security however was unbelievable. It beats the security at the airport. My badge was checked at least four times including one scanning. Maybe having four levels of security provides returns commensurate with costs.
The Q & A was great. Interop (including with MS) was rightly emphasized. Customers do want vendors to work together and for the health of the industry and for innovation adoption, we have to do that.
Otherwise, l was struck by how similar the concerns are for both Java and C# design teams. Is the requested feature - no matter how good for one group worth its complexity cost for the entire community? James Gosling talked about Hippocrates oath for system builders - first do no harm - don't break your users. Graham Hamilton talked about the tradeoff between getting V1 perfect and shipping so that users can get something to start with. Tough and essentially the same issues. There was almost an echo of some of the C# design meeting discussions - as you would expect but still interesting to sit through and listen.