In the first installment of this pre-PDC blog post series, I published the list of the sessions I’ll likely attend and a list of sessions that would be cool to see, but that isn’t really target material (for me).
Microsoft has now published the time & location of each session, and I must say that I’m (at least at the moment) quite disappointed that www.microsoftpdc.com lacks two important features:
- Export to Outlook / ICS. Both for single sessions and the possibility to link the whole My Sessions view into Outlook.
- An Outlook-ish calendar view, that visualize conflicting sessions (Just like my normal Outlook calendar – when my coworkers book me for three different meetings at the same time ;-) ).
That said, I hope Microsoft hasn’t revealed all features of the PDC website yet.
Since I haven’t found the floor map for LACC on www.microsoftpdc.com (yet), I’ve scanned the floor plans from PDC ‘08. Click the picture to bring up a larger version. Note that the layout of stands/booths in the Expo area are probably different from what it will be this year.
Since it’s getting closer to my departure, I’ll put up a list of stuff I’m bringing both for the trip and stay – hopefully, there may be a trick or two for a first-timer travelling to a large conference.
- Be sure to bring your passport if you’re traveling in from another country. If you’re a resident of a country in the European Union, or another country that is covered by the ESTA Visa waiver “program”, you need to register yourself here before you travel.
- Business Cards – network, share and LinkedIn later.
- Money / credit cards – Mo’ money, mo’ problems? Tips: bring at least two major credit/debit cards (VISA, Eurocard, Amex) and leave one your hotel room’s safe.
- Sun glasses / Hat / Sunscreen. Here in Norway it’s mostly dark at this time of the year, but in LA, the sun is hot – protect yourself from those nasty UV rays.
- Pocket camera / phone: voice/txt/twitter et cetera.
- Computer(s): I’m bringing my Dell Precision M4400 and Latitude E4300. The latter is perfect to bring to the LACC at daytime – the first one is my portable workstation. I have a US power chord to my laptop’s power supplies – it’s always a hassle to bring an extra power converter to the conference center.
- Fiber, fiber, fiber. Well – how should I put it? The American (conference) diet SUCKS. No fiber – and a lot of sugar. I need my fiber, or I’ll turn up constipated and grumpy.
- Omega-3, Ginseng, vitamins: when traveling, remember to super charge on extra vitamins etc. An exhaustive week with jet lag and activities from 6 in the morning to late night does something to your body.
- Sleeping aids; I’ve found some prescription-free sleeping aids that are available in the drug stores (in the US). Be sure to buy some before you leave.
- NoDoz caffeine pills. Generally, I don’t like to pop these – but I bring them for emergency situations.
- A good carry-on laptop bag that you can’t stuff more than a tiny computer in is at least vital to me. I’m not sure if it is to you – YMMV.
Warning: coming up is an ugly formatted HTML table with some pictures to give you a mental note if some of the items you shouldn’t forget at home :-) Mouse-over will give you a description of each item.
A last note before I end this blog post; I love TripIt as a tool to organize my trips – it’s also great for sharing information with people you’re traveling with – or people that may be in the neighborhood during your stay.
So, we’ve reached November 1st – the day after Halloween and it’s only 15 days to the PDC! (Woohoo! :-) )
I’m travelling with two of my colleagues and we’re staying at the Omni from the 14th, send me a message (typically on Twitter: larsw) if you want to hang out before / during the conference.
A couple of days ago (give or take) Microsoft enabled the “My Sessions” feature at www.microsoftpdc.com, and today I’m presenting my first draft of my planned session list. I’m already sure of two things; a) I’ve overbooked, and b) during in the “fog of war” I won’t make it to all of the sessions.
Since I’m a Connected Systems guy, it shouldn’t come as a surprise for anyone that my session list is very CS-centric, but my #2 priority is to attend sessions about features/technology that I really want to learn more about (e.g. where I’m more or less a n00b now :-)
Since the sessions aren’t “mapped out” yet (at least not on the public site) I’ll have to wait a bit before I can do the hard prioritization.
Now, I’m pretty, pretty sure that when I sum up after the PDC, the list of sessions that I’ve actually attended will be quite different :-)
From browsing through the 22 pages of sessions, I’m a bit disappointed that we won’t see Anders Hejlsberg on stage (at least not in a normal session).
On Wednesday, I visited the JavaZone 2008 conference in Oslo. This is normally a conference that I would not attend, since it is, as the name implies a Java conference. But my employer, Miles, is one of the partners/sponsors and all the employees were offered a free ticket – so I felt that I couldn’t say no.
Before the conference started I had made a rough plan of what sessions I was going to attend. My initial plan was to follow the labs that had a focus on agile development, service-oriented architecture and other of the more technology-agnostic sessions.
I started the day by hanging out in our stand area – which was designed by an event bureau of some sort – featuring a red leather couch, a whine cooler refrigerator, a gas-driven fireplace and more of the standard stand equipment.
0830AM Hurra Torpedo went on stage and did they’re opening gig. Their thing is to play on household appliances. It was noisy as h*** and it really wasn’t my cup of tea that early in the morning. I didn’t watch the whole show, but Kristoffer Schau apparently broke one of his finger before he lifted a large washing machine as the grand finale. Crazy guys.
0900AM and I was off to the first session. Erich Gamma of Rational talked about the development process and tools they use to create the Eclipse platform. They are ~70 developers spread over five or six sites working on different components of the IDE. He talked a lot about how they used Rational Jazz to help the distributed development.
A colleague of mine had one comment; strait jacket! And I had to agree, it seemed really rigid and non-agile. Some features of Rational Jazz reminded me of those I have used in Microsoft Visual Studio Team System – but the number of features was really mind-boggling.
My initial plan was to follow Jim Webber’s “Guerrilla SOA” talk at 1015AM – but I ended up talking to a lot of old acquaintances instead and didn’t attend any sessions before 0200PM when Rickard Öberg went on stage in lab 3 to talk about his Qi4j framework and the concept he called Composite Oriented Programming followed by my NNUG board member partner-in-crime Anders Norås‘ talk; Better Domain Driven Design. The two talks touched some of the same topics. Anders also talked about some of the shortcomings of the JVM – mainly the lack of real generics support (A design mistake I personally believe borders to scandalous).
The rest of the afternoon I spent mostly on our stand or wandering around talking to different people. All the sessions were broadcast on six large canvases in the main hall and you could listen in with a wireless headset that could be borrowed from the information stand. But I failed to get it to work properly ( tried a couple of times with different headsets) and by the different acrobatic moves (to get a good reception) I observed by some of the other attendants I was not the only one with the problem.
At 0500PM or so, we brought out the Spanish Serrano ham and started handling out wine at our stand. People poured in, and it acted as a pre-party for the ClubZone events later in the evening.
Press Play On Tape played a lot of computer music/game classics from the stage, and the atmosphere was good.
At 0730PM or so, we headed off to Gloria Flames – a rock club located a short distance from the venue (Oslo Spectrum). The party was sponsored by Programutvikling – In my opinion Norway’s best course provider – and hosted by some of their fabulous crew – Siv, Martine, Kjersti, Rita & the rest – kudos to you.
The place was filled with beer thirsty techies probably continuing their discussing from earlier that day – but when LoveShack – a group specializing in hits from the eighties – went on stage – the dance floor filled up and the people went crazy. When the band asked the crowd to jump under a couple of the songs, the floor actually started swinging and I actually started worrying if it would hold all the people.
Luckily, it did – and when it was getting close to midnight, I split the party and took a train home.
So to end this blog post – here’s the scores from the .NET man:
Today, August 15th, is the last day you get a discount when you sign up for the Microsoft Professional Developer Conference 2008, held in Los Angeles, CA.
I have not been sure if I was going to make it to the PDC this year, giving that I’ve just started in a new company and I didn’t know on beforehand if the customer’s project manager would approve. I really thought TechEd EMEA would be more realistic, but today I actually managed to pull it off.
The answers was:
- Miles: Of course, Lars! Go to the PDC.
- Customer’s PM: Of course Lars! Go to the PDC.
- @ home: Of course Lars! Go to the PDC.
So today I have signed up! Reserved a hotel room at the Miyako Hotel and ordered plane tickets through Seat24 with Continental Airlines. There’s a stop in Newark, NJ both to & from, but hopefully I’ll manage.
So, the thing to do now is to get an overview over the sessions that Microsoft has been announced.