My phone ran out of juice yesterday, so I didn't get a chance to post this.
Man... the general session day was a LONG day, it ran over by 2 hours. We were supposed to be out by 6:00 pm, and I think Ballmer took the stage at 7:00 pm, going until just after 8:00 pm.
It has made the blogs by now, but Longhorn's new name is Windows Vista. When they announced the name, there was an explosion and pyrotechnics that shot straight up in the air... scared the daylights out of me, I wasn't expecting it (as was the case for the guy next to me who mentioned he was glad he packed an extra pair of underwear).
The coolest part of the day was when Brian Valentine came out and he and Shannen did 30 demos of Longhorn Vista in roughly 30 minutes. The "shiny things" (those features that are just really cool to look at) were similar to what we saw in PDC 2003, but there have been a couple really cool changes. And since this was mostly a sales and marketing type of crowd, there wasn't a lot of focus in the presentation on the developer (other than mentioning the developer impact, but no demos). We also saw some of the geeky stuff that I thought was amazing, and Brian quipped "enough of the geeky stuff, let's see some of the really cool features." Everyone laughed, but I thought that was an incredibly cool feature.
There is a hands-on-lab for Vista that I am dying to go try out. When I get time tomorrow morning, I am definitely going to go tinker.
And, of course, there was Ballmer. From the opening, "I.... LOVE.... THIS.... COMPANY!" to the closing, it was worth staying overtime to see him.
The night ended with a Developer & Platform Evangelism party at Compound. It was admittedly boring for awhile, I am not much of a dancer (and most of the people there didn't seem to be, either). Everyone kind of just stood around, sipping on a beer. Then the band came on. Holy smokes. The band was called Hell's Belles. They are an all-female AC/DC tribute band, and they flat-out rocked. The guy next to me remarked that they were the perfect mix of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. The lead singer (Jamie Nova) was really pretty, but had a raspy voice like Brian Johnson's. I was amazed that her throat wasn't bleeding by the end of the night for all the screaming she did. The lead guitar, playing the part of Angus Young, hit just about every lick of every song they played. It was kind of funny to see the guys who just liked seeing a live band and picking out those of us who love AC/DC. When they played "Whole Lotta Rosie", there were like 3 people in the audience who knew the words. And when they played "You Shook Me All Night Long", people seemed to know the first couple lines and then faded off.
If anyone organizing a party for big company events (OK, selfishly, Microsoft events) happens to read this...
This band rocked. Live bands that play hard rock cover tunes are a no-brainer. Get good bar food (wings, quesadillas that don't suck, nachos, chicken fingers, pizza, and the like) and a good rock band, and you have yourself a party. Save the money on Jessica Simpson next time and get a good rock band. Someone seems to have gotten the message, as tomorrow night's entertainment is Jet. I am so looking forward to that one.