Wow!  What a fun week from November 4th-9th!   I am recounting this on November 25th after two weeks of vacation.

Shortly after returning to Microsoft last Spring, I offered to present at TechEd EMEA held this year in Barcelona, Spain.   I had proposed three talks:

  1. Metropolis: Interchangeability of Operations,
  2. Life Beyond Distributed Transactions: An Apostate's Opinion, and
  3. Data on the Inside versus Data on the Outside.

I was confirmed for the last two and penciled into my calendar a trip to Europe with my wife, Lisa.   We decided to plan a vacation in Europe to follow the trip to Barcelona.

Sometime around last summer, I was approached by the folks managing the content (Dave Webster and Mark White)  with an email that read something like:  "You're back!!  You're coming in November!!  Want to give a closing general session on something provocative and not product-oriented??"   My response was "Heck, yes!!!  I would give my eye teeth to do a big closing talk!"   So we began the process of planning a new talk and I began work on:

4. The Irresistible Forces Meet the Movable Objects

The theme of the talk is that many different forces are bearing down on the computer industry.  There are trends in processors, data centers, storage, communications, software-and-services, and more which are placing inexorable pressure on the way we design our applications.   The talk posits that we are being driven to support offline and independent computation in which decisions are made independently even if we later need to apologize for what we have done.  The notion of "subjective consistency" is defined as "Given what I know, make a decision and act on it!".   Eventual consistency is the notion that as all the independent machines exchange knowledge, they will arrive at the same conclusion even if this involves apologizing for the actions of one of the cohorts.

Of course,  this had to get finished in the speaker lounge at Barcelona!   Life at Redmond is SO busy you rarely can get these talks done in advance.  There were work meetings for two separate Microsoft internal workshops on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday of the week ending November 2nd.   Lisa and I boarded the plane on Saturday, November 3rd and arrived in Barcelona on Sunday evening... I was scheduled to meet press and analysts on Monday morning at 8:30AM!!!  Still, I made it fine and feeling well.

On Tuesday, I did a brief interview for a videocast from TechEd on my upcoming General Session on Friday.   This can be watched at the TechEd EMEA Day 2 Videocasts.

Just before my Tuesday presentation (#2 above), Lisa surprised me at the convention center and sat in the back of my talk from 13:30 to 14:45.   That was really cool!!!   Then we blew off and went walking for four hours along the beach and through random neighborhoods.  At the end of the day, we spent two hours in the lounge at the hotel peacefully playing chess and drinking brandy… it has been years since either of us had played and we both suck roughly as bad… it was SO much fun to just be together and laugh and relax.  

My presentations were scheduled for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and the big presentation on Friday.   This was Lisa's first trip to Europe and I promised to avoid the conference center on Thursday and take her to see Barcelona.  So, of course, that meant that I needed to work like crazy at the speaker lounge to ensure the talks were ready!  Fortunately, most of the first three talks were repeated talks and so this was not TOO onerous a task.   I succeeded in finishing my preparations by Wednesday and Lisa and I spent a lovely day sightseeing in Barcelona on Thursday.

On Thursday, we started out by taxiing to the Sagrada Familia (which is an ongoing construction of an amazing church in downtown Barcelona).  We proceeded to see a number of different Gaudi buildings and parks.   Barcelona is a beautiful place!   It was a fun day together!

Europe-Nov-2007- 058 Europe-2007-Lisas-Camera- 009 Europe-Nov-2007- 106  Europe-Nov-2007- 164 Europe-Nov-2007- 139  Europe-2007-Lisas-Camera- 014

On Friday, the wind was blowing but Lisa accompanied me as we walked to the conference center and ensured I was ready to present on time to the crowd.   It is always exciting to prepare for a large presentation and to present it.   I had SO missed giving the talks for the Microsoft conferences and that was, eventually, what led me to come back to Microsoft.  TechEd EMEA has always been one of my favorite conferences and it was a thrill to return.

At the end of the day on Friday, we attended the speaker party which was a blast!!   We partied until midnight at which time Lisa went back to the hotel and I continued with some of the other presenters until 2:30 the next morning!   It was fun before I went to sleep but not quite as much fun the next day when we checked out of the hotel as I suffered with a hangover...  such is life!!!

The next week was the Mediterranean cruise...

- Pat