thank God!!!! Both events were fantastic but also a lot of work!
Developer & IT Pro Days Belgium
I signed up to deliver a Vista and Windows Live demo during the keynote as well as a session on Office 12 (Office 2007) UI Development opportunities. If you wonder which is more work: 25 minutes of demo during the keynote or a regular 1:15 session? I can tell you, it’s the keynote demos that are more work. By far.
I started a couple of weeks ago installing Vista December CTP and looking for some nice demo applications. The Active Directory 3D application was nice but needed some work. I got some help from Corp and made some changes myself so I felt quite comfortable about that one from early on. It was the ITPro demos that caused me more headache. Probably because I have a developer background.
So about a week ago, I started to work from the Belgian office and got great support from both David Boschmans (Developer Evangelist) and Arlindo Alves (IT Pro Evangelist). These guys really do everything they possibly can to put together a great event.
David (left) and Arlindo
If you need to find out about available Dev demos on the latest technologies, David knows to find them all. I have a feeling he reads every MS Blog and is on all of the technical aliases. Arlindo was just fantastic in supporting me getting to understand the things about Vista that really matter to IT Pros. I’m convinced that next year no one will bother asking me again for the keynote demos as Arlindo will be doing them himself.
Even though, those guys had to deal with things like last minute cancellations from speakers, dry runs for the regular sessions, etc… they were always ready to help out with getting the demos ready.
At the same, there were many meetings with Wilfried Grommen, the keynote speaker, where we would agree on what we would demo and which would be the speaking points. The goal was to keep this keynote as low on marketing as possible and I hope we succeeded in that. Here you see Ritchie Houtmeyers (left with Wilfried Grommen). Very likely they’re debating which would be the next slide to cut.
On Friday morning of the week before the keynote, we started downloading a new build – the February CTP with some preinstalled demos. By the time we had downloaded the gigabytes of goodness, it was 15:00 on the Friday. We kept working on an earlier build but knew that our weekend would be spent installing the newest on the Acer Ferrari’s we had on loan.
Then Monday evening, T-12 hours. We arrived at the venue and entered hell for a couple of hours. Putting machines on a projector has been painful before but this time, it was hell. I guess this is normal because the video card producers aren’t really keeping up with their drivers for every Vista build we might use. Arlindo was fantastic, he got all of our machines working.
While we were struggling Ritchie and Tom Mertens were prepping their bit - you can see them shine:
At 23:00 we left the ICC and headed for the hotel in the center of Ghent. I looked out my Window took a picture of the Vista outside my window and ran through my demos back to back for the first time. Obviously, I wouldn't normally stay in a hotel in Ghent since I leave only 45 minutes away (by car). The hotel was nice and located right in the center.
After I went through the demos, I spend some time at the bar with David, Arlindo, Lut, Ritchie and Tom and that was it. It was past 1:00 by the time I got to bed. Only to get up again at 5:30.
By 7:00 we were again in the keynote room and Arlindo was once more getting our machines to project properly . Can you tell those guys didn’t sleep much either?
When keynote time was there, things went without a glitch and I hope that people appreciated our efforts to keep the keynote heavy on demos and light on slides.
In the afternoon, I had a session on Office 2007 UI. Thank God I had Jan Tielens to assist me with the developer demos. He really knows that stuff. I already read one good review about that session which really makes me happy and gives me the feeling that all those efforts were well worth it.