Mike Swanson

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    PDC2008 Keynote and Session Video Links


    I've posted a PDC2008 Sessions page that contains a simple list of all keynotes and sessions by title with links to each corresponding page on Channel 9. I've also made it easy to download the PowerPoint presentations and to grab any sample code the speaker has elected to provide. I hope you find it useful.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    PDC2008 Session and Keynote Recordings Are Now Published


    Recordings of the PDC2008 sessions and keynotes are now available online for free, for anyone (no login required). Each session has its own page that includes a Silverlight viewer to watch streaming video and a Download link for iPod (MP4), WMV, WMV (High), and Zune. A few of the sessions and formats may not be available yet, but they will be very soon, so keep checking back as we continue to publish content. It's my hope that you find the PDC2008 content to be compelling, inspirational, and useful.

    You can also download the PowerPoint presentation for each session, and for some talks, a zip file containing sample code that was shown during the session. There are links to related sessions and other Channel 9 content, and a discussion thread for each talk. The discussion thread is a great way to ask questions of the speaker or to share ideas with other "virtual attendees."

    Unlike PDC05, when we hosted the sessions for less than a year (with a third-party hoster), we've created a home for our PDC2008 sessions on our very own Channel 9. The obvious benefit is that we can host the content indefinitely...or at least until it becomes so stale that it's no longer useful. So, there's no need to rush to download everything, since the content will be available for a long time.

    I've been asked if PDC2008 session recordings will be available on physical DVDs like they were for PDC05. We received a lot of feedback after PDC05 that attendees would rather have all of the content made available for download at no cost. As a result, this is what we've done for MIX06, MIX07, MIX08, and now, PDC2008.

    Thanks to everyone for catching me during the event to say "hello" and for providing feedback. We take your feedback very seriously, and it will be used to improve MIX09, the recently-announced PDC2009 (November 17-20, 2009), and any of our future conferences.


    Update: I just added a PDC2008 Sessions page that lists every keynote and session with links to videos, PowerPoint decks, and sample code.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    PDC2008 Downloadable Master Session List


    Only three more days before PDC2008 kicks off in Los Angeles. It's hard to believe that the big event is almost here! If you won't be able to join us at the conference, be sure to bookmark www.microsoftpdc.com and watch the first two keynotes streamed live. Keep checking back for news, announcements, and video recordings of each session.

    Many of you have already used the new timeline view to add sessions to your own personal agenda. As an aside, did you notice that you can click on a time to "zoom in" to the content? It definitely makes the longer session names easier to read. For those who prefer to download an electronic version for offline viewing, I put together a 14-page PDC2008 Master Session List (link removed, see update below). Apologies in advance for the font size I had to use for the abstracts, but without the smaller font, the document was already over 23 pages long.

    While I have your attention, also be sure to pick up printed session change lists that we'll make available at registration starting on Monday. We try to minimize changes to the schedule, but they inevitably happen (new sessions are revealed, repeats get scheduled, speakers get sick, etc.). The online version will always be up-to-date, so if you're ever unsure, browse to the timeline view from your laptop or one of the many machines we'll have scattered around the convention center.

    Last, if you're mobile, you might prefer to use the mobile version of the site. See you soon!

    Update: Because the downloadable session list was becoming more and more incorrect as the days went on (due to cancellations, reschedules, new sessions, etc.), we've removed it to reduce confusion.

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    Send Me Your PDC Video


    In a little over a week, we'll be holding an all-hands meeting for Microsoft employees who are attending PDC2008. It'll be a huge meeting with many hundreds of people, including the core team, virtual team, content team, speakers, staff, and anyone else who plans to be at the event. I've been asked to lead the meeting, and I'd like to help my fellow employees appreciate the amazing passion, excitement, intelligence, and creativity of our PDC attendees. That's where you come in.

    I plan to show some of our registration data, but I'd really like to show your faces and hear your words. I figured that a short video would be the best format. That way, I can include a few of them to represent the diversity of our audience and get everyone excited. Who knows? If we get enough, perhaps we'll even play a few while people are filing in to the keynotes at the main event in Los Angeles. :-)

    If you're up for it, here's what I'd like:

    • A very short video (so I can show a few of them). Ideally, 15-25 seconds in length.
    • Talk into the camera and be as creative as you'd like with the background (perhaps a landmark from where you're from or something fun in your office).
    • Here's the beginning of your script: "My name is [your name] from [location]." The rest of the script is completely up to you.
    • Tell us something inspiring, interesting, fascinating, historical, or whatever related to you and the PDC. It can be past PDCs or PDC2008. You pick.
    • It doesn't matter if you've never attended the conference. If you still have a story about PDC, like why you wish you could attend, what you're excited to hear about, or perhaps why you can't attend, I'd love to hear it.
    • Encode it to a WMV or AVI file, and host it somewhere I can get at it.
    • Send me an e-mail telling me where/how to download your file, along with your full name and mailing address.

    I'll let you know if I use your video at the meeting. Thank you in advance for your help!

  • Mike Swanson's Blog

    PDC2008: A Day in the Life #7


    The first full week of PDC2008 dry-runs is complete! If you're not familiar with our dry-run process, take a look at PDC2008: A Day in the Life #6. The on-campus dry-runs continue through this Thursday. After that, we have a little over a week to make final edits before the big event in Los Angeles. The photo to the right is one of the sessions we ran yesterday morning.

    I was sitting in a dry-run of Larry Osterman's session, Windows 7: Building Great Audio Communications Applications, and it hit me. I've been so heads-down focused on producing content for the event, that I had completely forgotten that this is the %&@# PDC, man! There I was...sitting in a session...listening to Larry Osterman, a guy who's been at Microsoft for a long time. At prior PDCs when I was an attendee, I probably would have run up to the stage after Larry's talk to gape in amazement at his knowledge and expertise. How fortunate am I to actually work on the content for such an amazing event!? Wow. Sometimes, you just have to slow down, step back, and appreciate your situation. Thank you, world!

    On another topic, I've mentioned session recordings in a few prior posts, but I've never really explained what we do with them. The amazingly talented Brian Keller, one of my Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) colleagues, is responsible for recording every single session at PDC2008 (except for the pre-conference sessions) and publishing them for your viewing pleasure. Watch the recent This Week on Channel 9 episode (or is it?) for the details in under 10 minutes.

    So you can view the content as quickly as possible, we publish each session within 24 hours of its completion. The recording includes the PowerPoint presentation, any demos that were shown, audio, and video of the speaker. I grabbed a screen shot from our MIX08 recordings to give you an idea of what they look like.

    This year, each recording will be hosted on Channel 9 along with a bunch of related links and a discussion thread. You can use the thread to suggest topics or questions that the speaker may incorporate into their talk or discuss the session after the video is published. Oh yeah...the recordings are completely free to anyone and available in a variety of formats. No login required.

    Next, we made a decision earlier in the week that I hope you'll notice at the conference. At the Los Angeles Convention Center (affectionately known as the LACC), we have 15 primary session rooms that are available during 18 time slots (15 "normal" time slots + 3 over lunch). When we plan the master agenda (which was locked-down just yesterday), we traditionally try to predict expected attendance for each session and match it to an appropriately sized room.

    Below is a diagram that shows the 15 rooms (whose relative sizing is correct) across three representative time slots. You'll notice that for time slot 1, only 9 of the 15 rooms have been scheduled. Time slot 2 has 11 sessions, and time slot 3 has 10. Notice, though, that there are rooms that remain empty.


    The challenge is that it's very difficult to accurately predict attendance. This year, we're using the My Sessions data that over 55% of you have provided, and that helps a lot (thank you!). Still, there are products and technologies that won't be announced until the keynotes, and there's no way to confidently gauge interest in them until we see people filling up the rooms. By then, it can be too late.

    At the event, when we get close to filling a room, we route the audio and video of the presentation to one of six dedicated overflow rooms. The overflow rooms are even smaller than the 15 primary rooms, but they allow us to quickly "add more seats" so that you don't miss the session. Overflow situations are never ideal, and if the overflow room fills up, we then have to decide if we want to repeat the session later in the week.

    Attendee surveys tell us that sitting in an overflow room is never as ideal as sitting in the primary room (there's still something about being in the same room as the presenter). We also get feedback that packed rooms are less comfortable to sit in. From my experience, I prefer to have an open chair next to me for my backpack or laptop, and frankly, sometimes you just need a little more personal space. You know what I mean. :-)

    This year, we're going to try an experiment. Instead of leaving rooms empty and risking more overflows and repeats, we decided to "slide everything to the left" so that we use all of our biggest rooms.

    This configuration should help us accommodate as many people as possible in each session while minimizing overflows and repeats. I sincerely hope that this improves your overall PDC2008 experience.

    The downside is that some of the sessions that would normally be in smaller rooms will be in bigger rooms. In some cases, the larger room may cause the session to appear relatively empty...even with hundreds of people present. I know this can affect speakers, and I'm sure that many of them will be worried about filling-up their session (my apologies). Fortunately, to my knowledge, we've never received negative feedback that "the room was too big, and I didn't have enough space to stretch out."

    So, if you attend PDC2008 and don't like the larger rooms, please let us know. We always listen to your feedback and are willing to adjust for our next event (which is MIX09, by the way).

    Only 15 more days!

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