I worked the Pavillion and the cabanas today, and the Pavillion was really interesting.  Here I was showing the VB My namespace in front of customers, with Jay Roxe behind me watching.  Talk about pressure to perform.  That guy is just plain smart.  A customer asked about code reviews, and he pointed out that Anders checks in code that others need to review, including him.  Wow... what a powerful message for peer reviews being a critical part of the SDLC.

The coolest thing about TechEd, IMHO, is not the sessions, but the networking opportunities.  I have had so many deep conversations about topics that my customers are facing with the people who WRITE the technology, I am simply amazed.  The mroe amazing thing to me is that I am able to take that information and run across the Orange County Conference Center and find the customers that have had the issues and either explain it on the spot or bring them back to meet the people who write the technology.  This primarily happens in the Cabanas.

I'm sitting in the SQL cabanas, and having conversations with the people who wrote Indigo, SQLXML, XQuery, SQL Server Service Broker, WSE 3.0, System.Xml, MSMQ, Team System, and a host of other technolgies.  It is the single best part of TechEd, the ability to pose questions about problems you are facing.  A guy walks up and has his production guys on the phone, his SQL Server is down with an odd message about the transaction log.  Within minutes, they are back up and running from talking to people in the SQL cabana.

For those that haven't yet taken advantage, the cabanas have to be the single best feature of TechEd.  Have a question on SQL Server Service Broker? Roger Wolter, Bob Beauchemin, and Peter DeBetta are sitting right there to explain it.  Imagine the HTTP SOAP endpoint capabilities of SQL Server 2005 to drop a message on an endpoint... guaranteed delivery that works with database mirroring.  I had Roger Wolter explain this to me twice to make sure I got it, simply amazing.  Then to see Kimberly Tripp plug USB keys into a USB hub and pull one to demo fault tolerance and failover... this was a remarkable demonstration.  Switch to Visual Studio Team System and have Rob Caron walk you through the thought process behind some of the features and see how CMMI compliance is achieved through branching, then back over to Indigo to hear Rich Turner describe how UDDI plays a role in Indigo and how you can search for a service based on contract, or search for services that support a given contract.  Simply amazing, the amount of information that you can glean from a 5 minute talk in the cabanas.

One of my favorite sessions today was Aaron Skonnard's BOF session.  The audience spilled out questions about services, WSE, ASMX, and Indigo migration, then he addressed them point by point.  Why is ASMX the preferred architectural solution today and what is the migration path to Indigo later?  The audience comprised some heavy hitters, like Ingo Rammer and Christian Weyer, further validating what was being said and how it fits with the future of distributed technologies.

I caught a lot of flak for my last shout out post, people asking me why they weren't included.  A lot of friends here, hard to list them all, so here is my best shot.

  • First and foremost, my customers that I deal with on a regular basis that are here.  Great to see you outside the regular grind and to talk about some of the stuff being presented.  I really wish I could list names, but I hold that it is tacky to call them out due to a business relationship.  I only work in the enterprise space for telcos and media and entertainment, so it would be irresponsible to list them even by name due to association.  The "these people are using/interested/asking for more Microsoft technology" type of shout out is just plain tacky, so I won't do it.  Great to see all of you, I just think it is wrong to draw you out by name lest someone make the association and write about it.  You know who you are.
  • Steven A. Smith.  Man, it was great to see you again.  Welcome back from the desert, and we respect you wholeheartedly for your service to our country. 
  • Devin Rader.  Even though you came to Atlanta to speak at Code Camp and ducked out...
  • Jason Beres... we cross paths more frequently, but always on such a short basis.  Got to find a way not to prepare slides all night before the talks that we are giving the next day so that we can really catch up.
  • Scott Cate... always one of my favorite people to hang out with.  We are all still glad it wasn't named the Protocol Services Enhancements instead of Web Services Enhancements, or we would be chuckling everytime we had to do a demo.
  • John Bristowe - in one moment, we are talking about external Maxtor harddrives, the next debating the merits of endpoint references and reference properties.  I learn more about WSE and ASMX just listening to you, always great to see you.  Wish that Benjamin was here to laugh about WS-Addressing and forgetting to put the freaking address on the envelope at the post office.
  • Jeff Julian... you are just too busy.  Seriously, take some time off and enjoy your son. 
  • DonXML... yeah, I was born in Jersey, but I still know how to pronounce Library :)
  • Scott Hanselmann - thanks for the pointer to TopDesk.  You just might be the developer's utility king.
  • Bill Evjen - probably listed on more shout outs, you just know everyone.  And the stuff with Reuters sounds SO cool... that is an architect's dream.

Mark Dunn (one of the fathers of Dot Net Rocks), Chris Menegay (Notion Solutions just rocks), Cory Smith ( yeah, I'll admit that VB's OK.. but only in front of Jay Roxe), Doug Seven (thanks for the shirt and getting me into the Influencers party tonight), Amy Sorakas (OK, Amy really got me into the party by pointing me to the MVP folks), Stan Schultes (and I DO feel really short comparatively, and I am not a short guy), Kent Tegels (DB master, you ought to register that instead of SQLDiva.com), Daniel Cazzulino (XML master, holy smokes.. just being around you makes me feel smarter for a minute), Victor Garcia Aprea (VGA, the original modification to the Messenger icon), Julia Lerman (and when I said "did you include a period before that sentence", I really meant punctuation... man, that made me turn red), Rob Zelt (the coolest business cards going.. make me smile each time I see the card from PDC 2003)...

I wish I had the mental capacity to list out some of the incredible conversations I have had with everyone here, but they are honestly too numerous.  If I forgot anyone, I sincerely apologize, it is simply dur to 1:00 am and a lot of free beer that I slight the great people that I get to see so infrequently yet talk with on a regular basis over IM and email. 

And thanks again to Kent Tegels for the Aecht Schlenferla Rauchbier... a choclaty brew that is definitely not the American "beer" that "is like making love in a canoe... f'ing close to water".  Good stuff.