I'm sitting in the Dallas/Fort Worth airport, waiting for 4:30am (for the whole sordid tale, see my other blog). Time to start reminiscing about TechEd 2003.

As is often the case at these things -- I didn't see many talks. They often hit me as overly long and intro, and I can often figure things out based on the slides. That, and I was assigned to four hours a day proctoring the Hands-on Labs. Oh, and a little incident I'll get to later.

For me, one of the best things about these events are meeting and re-meeting people I don't normally see other than via e-mail. This event was no exception, in fact, I gave Duncan a bit of a complex. When I was an evangelist for SOAP, .NET and the Compact Framework, I met a lot of people, and fortunately didn't pi** too many of them off. That, and my new work at MSDN means I can say "Hi" to (in no particular order): Steve, Steve, Bill, Brian (my saviour from New Orleans), ScottMarcie, Eli, Julie, Eric, Cory, Andres, Jon, Mike and everyone else I'm forgetting now. Yes, I'll get around to paying you (if appropriate), and no, I didn't drink that much (this time).

Paul Flessner's keynote was ... (I'm trying to select the right adjective and avoid calling it lame) uninspiring. His main theme, "IT is still relevant" just didn't have a great, energetic message. Sure, it's not a great time to be telling people to rush the CFO and get them to pay for new development/servers/whatever. However, it almost seemed like the message was, "Just wait, there will be good stuff coming around soon." Oh, and Yukon is delayed. The demo was (sorry Jon) a little contrived. It was a medical management system that started on a Tablet PC, and involved Office 2003, Exchange 2003, BizTalk 2004 and just about every other MSFT product imaginable.

Hit of the keynote was definitely SQL Reporting Services. This was (from what I've been able to tell) one of the better-kept secrets before the keynote. You could feel the energy of the room as n,000 people suddenly sat up and started listening again. Later, D & I tried to get into the talk. A room designed to sit 75 people had about 300 people packed in. People have been waiting for this for a while.

[Listening to: Demons - Fatboy Slim and Macy Gray]