My trip to Australia and New Zealand went very well -- lots of customers are interested and/or excited about Office development and the possibilities that VSTO provides for them. Nice to actually be around 3,000 people who (for the most part) actually like Microsoft after spending most days browsing Slashdot and thinking the whole world hates us...

One of my demos for my "Security and Deployment" talk was, naturally, deploying a solution from one machine to another and setting up the correct security policy, etc. For TechEd US, I took two laptops with me "just to be safe", but ended up nearly being out of luck due to network problems -- I really needed to take two laptops, a hub, some network cables, a portable generator <g>, etc. Anyway, after getting over the network problems, the demo worked flawlessly.

For TechEd AU / NZ, I was not prepared to lug two laptops around with me (you get a very funny look from airport security when you take TWO laptops out of your bag... and an even funnier one when you put two of them back in on the other side ;-) ) so I decided to use Virtual PC. In general it's pretty darn good (all the Hands on Labs at TechEd were done in VMs with rollback turned on, so there was no need to re-image or "clean" machines between users) but there were two problems:

1)    512 MB is not enough to run two instances of Windows XP, two instances of Microsoft Word, VisualStudio, ASP .NET, etc

2)    Virtual PC does not work with wireless network cards

Issue #1 was merely embarrassing as my demos took forever to launch in front of a "live studio audience", but #2 caused me some grief. After much messing around and some helpful advice from the VPC PM, I finally got it to work on the loopback adapter, but then of course it couldn't find the Redmond DCs to authenticate with so it couldn't talk to the host box anyway... in the end I got it working, but it was not pretty and I think I need to flatten this machine and start again.

Anyway, to get to the point, after all that the internal build of Office I installed on the Virtual PC refused to run the deployment demo correctly (which was the whole reason for the virtual PC in the first place...) which led to further embarrassment and much apologising; luckily most people are forgiving of such things and would rather see "live" demos go bad than "staged" demos go flawlessly.

Despite this, I had pretty good audience numbers, the initial customer satisfaction numbers are quite promising, and the customers I spoke to all said they enjoyed my sessions. (Although I've found that 99% of the time, the sentence "Your talk was really great!" is immediately followed by "Can you help me with this problem...?" so perhaps that's not a very good measure <g>)

I must say TechEd NZ folks really know how to treat speakers well, and the TechEd Party was amazing -- much better than the US (and quite possibly illegal over here <g> ). TechEd Australia was also fun, and I got to see a bit of Brisbane which had fabulous weather (even in the middle of winter). Melbourne was of course cold and wet, but hey that just reminds me of Seattle.

Oh, one other fun thing was I got to meet and hang out with DataGrid Girl (my claim to fame), the local MSDN regional director from SSW and some other really cool MVPs, etc.

On a lighter note, Midtown Madness 3 on the XBox is a lot of fun, and I'm off to see Freddy vs Jason on Wednesday -- yeah!