So I'm finally getting around to blogging about the DC launch of Visual Studio 2005 and SQL Server 2005 last Wednesday at the DC Convention Center, in part because I spent part of the tail end of last week sick...go figure.
But I'm happy to say that the event was a big success. We had over 2,000 people in attendance, with tons of local experts (including Jonathan Cogley, Brian Moran, Brian Noyes, Sahil Malik, Randy Hayes, just to name a few) on hand to answer questions, and a whole roomful of partners exhibiting.
The night before the launch event, we had a rehearsal for all of the speakers, and I was almost shocked when I saw the size of the keynote room. I knew we had a lot of folks registered for the event, but seeing a room set up with more than 2,000 chairs has a significant visual impact (particularly when you know you'll be on stage in front of them the next day). This was the first event I've been to at the new convention center, and I have to say it's a pretty nice facility.
Of course, with any event like this, not everything could go perfectly (those of you who attended my session with Brian Goldfarb on ASP.NET 2.0 probably know what's coming). As I started my second (of 5) demo in the web session, the keyboard locked up on me, as best we can tell from some compatibility issue between the KVM switch and my laptop, which was backstage. After trying a couple of things onstage, I dashed backstage and managed to get the local keyboard working well enough to finish my second demo from backstage, and then while Brian discussed the next topic in slides, we got the issue corrected so that I could finish the rest of the demo from onstage.
Brian and I still managed to get through our entire presentation, albeit about 5 minutes over our allotted time. Just goes to show you that Murphy's Law is always waiting for the unwary. On the plus side, it did give me a golden opportunity to make a Wizard of Oz joke ("pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"), and I think that we still managed to give folks a good overview of the coolness of ASP.NET 2.0.
If you missed the launch event, or were not able to make it in from out of town, check with your local user group, as many groups are having local launch events. For example, the Roanoke Valley .net User Group will be holding their local launch event next month, on February 7th, from 5:30-9:00pm at the County of Roanoke Public Safety Building. I saw Robin Edwards, who runs RVNUG, and several of her launch presenters last week, and I'm sure they're going to do a great job sharing some of the same great content we had for our launch.