A few minutes ago, I turned to Dave Bost, MS developer evangelist in the Midwest region, and asked, "Is there a tag for this event?"

Dave replied, "I've heard a lot of geeky things, this week. That's just another one to add to the list. MTS06," he concluded knowingly.

I've been sitting in on MTS06 (Microsoft Technology Summit) since Tuesday, a conference for more than 50 of our most influential and OUTspoken un-customers (Java joes, PHP pattys, Linux larrys, etc) in Redmond, WA. This is my kind of event. Few things test a company's mettle more than calling in its staunchest critics and openly soliciting their feedback about its best new products and services in a comfortable, non-judgmental environment. Yesterday, a program manager from our .NET Framework team presented some amazing technical innovations that would have probably brought loyal Microsoft developers to their feet. This group just sat, stock still and arms crossed. At the conclusion of his talk, the PM asked, "if I were to tell you that you could get all of this for free, in the next versions of Windows, how many people in this room would go out and buy Windows XP?" The room was silent. Nobody raised a finger. Inside, I was cracking up. The "right" question may have been, "Don't you wish you could do this in your this using your tools of choice on the operating systems you use everyday?"

Who is in attendance at MTS2006? I just pulled the following Business cards out of my left pocket:

Brian Behlendorf, CTO of Collabnet
Reg Cheramy, zigzag.com
Frederick Bloom, Sun Java Certified proj mgr, architect, programmer
Tantek Celik, Chief Technologist, Technorati

I've had a number of lively and interesting conversations with the first and last of these gentlemen: Brian and Tantek.

To entice the right people to this event, the organizers wisely decided to make this a non-NDA event. I did a presentation about gotodotnet and shared source at lunch, on Tuesday. I was very happy with my 60% retention rate at EOP until Brian Keller's lunchtime presentation about XNA Studio for XBox developers, the following day. By the end of his talk, there seemed to be more people in the room than when he began! Either I'm a boring speaker or XBox development tools are sexier than gotdotnet....hm....unless I co-opt his team and integrate the toolset into gotdotnet! Huahahaha. Could be both though. ;-)

Besides me and Brian Keller, other speakers have included folks like Microsoft VPs SanjayP and Rick Rashid, Bill Hilf, who heads up our Linux lab and shared source initative, Don Box, Scott Guthrie, Luca Bolognese, and many more.

A Few More Geeky Quotes from MTS06
"I'll be down for drinks as soon as I get my warcraft carrier to a safe place." - Steve Loethen

After fellow Microsoft employee, Jason Mauer put Don Box on the spot by asking, "What are you working on for the future?" Don wrote "Disclose trade secrets" in his talking points, on the overhead.

"Has anybody here not heard of [word]?" Jim Gray, researcher. Nobody raises their hand. [word]==either Minix (an OS) or Memex, an open source project for automated information retrieval. I couldn't tell which, given the way he said it. Apparently, everyone in the room is familiar with both Minix and Memex. Jim was referring to Memex.

"I use source control from command line. I am command line addict." - PHP programmer. And somehow, I'm not surprised. One word. Atlas.

"There's no place like" - passing t-shirt.