Friday, June 6, 2008

Microsoft Tech-Ed: Thursday June 5

Once again, we'll start with what's important. Breakfast today had nice crisp bacon, good sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy, and bagels. I overate slightly, but that's not too much of a problem.

My early morning session involved adding indexes to objects queried through LINQ, and would be interesting and useful if I had to do that for actual applications. It's just not something that can be worked into a generic data provider, near as I can tell. It was still a good talk, if a bit light on content (there was half an hour left out of a 75 minute presentation time slot).

My next morning talk was on DataDude and the new features in the GDR release (8 weeks after SQL Server 2008 is finished, apparently). There were a lot of cool features presented in the talk. It will be interesting to learn more about DataDude's capabilities as I move forward on my work project.

Lunch was pretty standard, but wasn't my favorite. There was some good Mongolian beef dish, but I probably should have skipped the rest.

For my 1:00pm session, I attended another DataDude talk on database references. It was a bit strange just because we spent 30-40 minutes talking about a few workarounds and random other stuff, then talked about the upcoming VS2008 GDR release which will apparently remove a lot of those situations. It was unclear exactly when we'll need the information we acquired once the new release comes out, but knowledge is good for its own sake, sometimes.

The next session was also on DataDude, but was a basic overview of functionality, which I've seen before a few times. The presenter was a non-Microsoft consultant, though, and it was interesting to hear what he found to be the coolest aspects, and then hear the questions and concerns from current and potential developers and DBAs.

The main happening on Thursday was the Attendee Party, though. Everyone was bussed over to Universal Studios for a three-hour exclusive party. All food and drinks were free, and the pool of people waiting for rides was limited to just the 6,000 people attending Microsoft Tech-Ed this week. Of course, that's still a lot of people, and the wait for the new Simpson's ride was 45 minutes during the first half or more of the party. When we were leaving, we saw it had dwindled down to about 20 minutes. The wait for all the other rides, like Jaws and Men In Black, was about 10-15 minutes. E.T., being rather sucky, was a very short wait, but I knew from a previous visit to Universal Studios in L.A. that E.T. sucked, so I didn't even have to waste that amount of time. The Disaster ride apparently broke, because people were leaving the short line an hour before the party ended.

Now, when I say food and drinks were free, I mean that the were included in the conference price of ~$1995. If I had lost my wrist-band and still wanted to attend the party, I would have to pay $110. Additional guest passes for those that brought their family along were also $110 each. That's really quite a lot of money for a three-hour party. But, since I didn't have to pay, I'm glad I got to go.

I've been trying to think of the single word that best describes the combination of extravagance, phoniness, gaudiness, cheesiness, chaos, and consumerism that makes up those types of amusement parks. I think I may end up getting TiVo when I get kids just so they can skip the commercials for all the crap out there, and minimize that influence. I don't want my kids begging me to go to these places, then beg me some more to buy random souvenir crap. It's all a bit depressing, really.

But the party was fun anyway.

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