Last night over 250 developers got a FREE full copy of Visual Studio 2008 at SoCal's 'InstallFest' held at the Microsoft MTC in Irvine, CA.  Much fun was had by all.  First we had to get everyone in the door, and then get our thirsty and hungry developers some food and drink(s).

have a beer on MS!

Then our 'master of ceremonies' (Woody Pewitt - SoCal Developer Evangelist), kicked things off and the demo action began.  Everyone sweated (literarlly, as we packed 250 people into a room meant for 1/2 that size) through the cool demos, showing the productivity enhancements built into VS 2008.  The crowd was pretty well-behaved, but the corporate Microsoft presenter did take off his 'official blue shirt' pretty early on, because the developer's tough questions made him perspire.  He cooled down the crowd with some swag (tossing out those T-shirts is always a good thing) and continued demoing.

Woody Pewitt kicking off Installfest

Nearly every User Group in SoCal - all the way from San Diego to San Louis Obispo (the latter taking 5 hours each way to drive back and forth to Irvine for the Installfest)- was well-represented.  We also had a special guest, who is shown in the picture with the most of the User Group leads below.

Did I mention that the SoCal User Groups ROCK?  Well they do!  The UG leads closely worked with Woody and got their members the Installfest invites, so that the developers who were members could get their free copies of VS 2008 at our event.

SoCal UG leads and a special guest... 

Oh, and we had a 'confessional room' as well.  There we encouraged developers to 'tell it to us straight - the good, the bad, and the ugly' about Visual Studio - any version.  Well, I was in there for awhile, and they did!  You know we can't wait to send those videos directly to our product group, so they can hear the developer's feedback - loudly and clearly!

Developers 'confessed', holding nothing back.

Thanks to all who came out - it was a rocking fun event!