It's the end of the weekend... I've moved house and have just finished setting up my new "home office".... I have been procrastinating a little recently and I promised myself that I'd blog this weekend on my recent trip to Tauranga... so at 11pm on a Sunday that's exactly what I'm going to do ;)
I drove down to Tauranga from Auckland after lunch on Thursday I drove down state highway 2... I am allot more accustomed to state highway 1 so the additional digit made a pleasant change... as I entered the waikato I was greeted by a sign on the side of the highway that read "JAFA's are not welcome here"... I was quite taken back as I know full well the association Aucklanders typically have to the word JAFA ... Further down the road another sign "Just Another Fatal Accident" and then further on "x% of Accidents Involve Aucklanders"... a great campaign but I couldn't help but take the cynical view... 31% of NZ lives in Auckland therefore most drivers you pass one hour south of the city are probably from there too!
The final part of the drive to Tauranga is through the Karangahake Gorge ("the alerting call from the other side") a beautiful stretch of road that shows you the true beauty of our native bush... I found myself spotting cabbage trees... looking for the perfect specimen... unfortunately when I did spot it I realised I'd left my camera at home.
Tauranga has changed allot since I last visited there a few years ago... the main strip down by the wharf is being transformed to mimic the viaduct in Auckland... the purpose of my fleeting visit was to talk to the Tauranga .Net User Group on Enterprise Library... I called Scott McLeod to meet me and show me to where we were doing our session... Scott had only the day before returned from his honeymoon so was certainly looking quite refreshed... I stuck out like a sore thumb... I was the guy standing outside the hotel in a black Microsoft shirt with 4 copies of Office/ InfoPath/ One Note under my arm.
Scott directed me to the local art gallery... it was identifiable by the spray painted sign on top that spelt the words "Respect"... I went upstairs to setup... the rain the week before has flooded the building and on entering I was greeted by the pungent smell of wet carpet... it's amazing how even the strongest smells disappear after 10 minutes!
People started to arrive and I was overwhelmed by the caliber of the audience in the room... the group was small as Scott hadn't been around to do his normal "pre-session" promotions... free beer... free pizza... but none the less the people who attended were eager to contribute.... we had business owners... government workers... a development manager.. a tertiary c# .net lecturer... ISV's ... and beginners that were eager to learn... I ran the session quite informally going round the group asking questions about people's experiences with enterprise library and vs2005... the pizza arrived and we had a few beers... I was checking with the group on how they felt about running over time and the consensus was to keep going... so after the presentation and the demo's (I was struck by the demo monster right at the end when my VPC froze up)... I jumped into a preview of ASP.Net 2.0 and then again I went round the room taking questions... Including a curly one from Paul Mason asking if the ActiveDocumentHost was going to be supported in the final .NET 2.0? I had to research this but the word is for anyone that was there "Although ADH was dropped; the Winforms team plans to release it as an unsupported sample before RTM... apparently the sample will have equivalent functionality to ADH in beta1"... somehow a 1 hour session turned into a 3 hour session but at the end of it I think everyone that came along got a whole lot back... Scott even managed to catch a photo of me mid-presentation head down looking down the neck of a bottle of beer!
After the presentation I got back to my room by 10pm with plenty of time (4 hours needed) to prepare for my Friday morning customer meeting that Scott had organised for me on Integration Services and the Service Broker in SQL 2005.
If you live/work in Tauranga and you didn't go along... contact Scott McLeod and find out how you can get involved for the next meeting this IMO is a fantastic place to network learn and grow :)
I can't stress enough the importance and value of user groups!
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