Tech Industry

TechEd 2003: Delegates have their say

Event organisers will always claim their event was a runaway success so Builder AU decided to ask the delegates at TechEd 2003 what they thought. Here is what they had to say.

Roundup— Event organisers will always claim their event was a runaway success so instead of speaking to Microsoft after the recently concluded TechEd 2003 conference in Brisbane, Builder AU decided to take a different approach and interview the show delegates.

-This is my first TechEd so I have nothing to compare it to," said Keane Rughess from EDS.

Despite being a TechEd newbie, Rughess said the event was beneficial and gave special mention to Steve Riley's talk on Exchange. "I like it when speakers give real world examples," he added. Riley is a product manager at Microsoft's security business unit in Redmond.

-I would have liked to see more of technologies that I'm using today. We have many government clients that aren't as fast in updating technology so I would have liked more technical sessions on products that are still being used today," Rughess said.

Clinton Marshall concurred with his colleague Rughess, saying: "The exposure to new technologies is great, but with government contracts we move a lot slower than pivate companies and would like some of the older technologies supported a bit longer."

While some quarters felt there should have been more focus on older technologies, there was one anonymous developer who believed Microsoft were not showing enough of its upcoming products.

-I would have liked to see what they are doing with Longhorn, so I can start planning ahead," he said. -It's been good to see the preview of Yukon (the next version of SQL Server) but Longhorn is what I really wanted to see."

One university lecturer voted the "Ask the expert" sessions as the best part of the event. -Having some of the people who are experts in their field on hand to answer questions is useful for me at these events."

With any conference, the social calendar can be a highlight for some. Even though Mark MacBeth's colleagues from AXXIS Technology were wooing him not to say the party was the best part of TechEd, MacBeth could not lie. -The best part of TechEd 2003 was the party!" he admitted.

MacBeth's colleague Matthew Dickenson pointed out -the most important part of TechEd was not only to see the technology but to put names to the faces of people at Microsoft [so] maybe they can reply us a little quicker if they knew who we were."

The hands-on labs seemed to be very popular with delegates who wanted to get their hands dirty with some of the Microsoft technologies that were being showcased at the event.

One developer who did not want to be named as he was not a -traditional Microsoft person", said "the hands-on labs gave me an opportunity to play with the technologies that I don't necessarily have access to so I can make my own conclusions on the technology in Microsoft's labs".

-The only problem I found with the labs themselves was the limited bandwidth between sessions when everyone was trying to log on the Internet. But I guess at these events you expect that," the developer added.

-Having the Microsoft Most Valuable Professionals [MVP] on hand to help and give advice was a good thing I found in the labs," said another anonymous delegate.

However, Peter Butcherine was not as impressed with the hands-on labs as previous years. "I don't think they have put as much effort as they did last year. There were a few bugs to iron out and some documentation problems so generally the labs have been ok."

One delegate lamented that the conference was an information overload for him. -The days at TechEd are long, starting at 8.30 and ending around 6. I found it hard to concentrate for that period of time. I know there are many tracks to be covered but I can't possibly take it all in".

On the last day of TechEd 2003, it was announced that next year's event would be staged in Canberra and this brought a lukewarm response from delegates who spoke to ZDNet Australia.

-I prefer the weather up here than Canberra, but I guess its closer to Melbourne," said one developer.

-I'm from Canberra," said one Canberra local, -so it would be good to go to an event and still be relatively close to work if I need to be, and I'm sure there are plenty in the government sector who also feel the same way."

-I would prefer TechEd to be somewhere near a beach like the Gold Coast or somewhere further up north, but I guess if my company is paying I'll be going to Tasmania if Microsoft decides to have it there," said another delegate.

Did you attend TechEd 2003? What did you think? E-mail us at ZDNet Australia with your round-up of the event.

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