Thursday, June 10, 2010

TechEd 2010

Microsoft's annual technology conference, TechEd, was held at the Convention Center in New Orleans this week.

I had originally decided to not go to TechEd because my son was due on the day the conference started. But Pete came early, and someone else on my team couldn't go on Thursday, so I ended up with a pass.

I sat through two interesting presentations - and even got to listen to the senior project manager for the SQL Server development team - before finding my first blog-worthy material: A woman whose sole job is to hold up an "Available Seating" sign in the lunch room of the Convention Center.

[Picture: Available seating!]

I'm not trying to disrespect this person in any way. But I just find it odd that some of the smarted, most talented computer scientists congregated at TechEd, and for some reason the people at the Convention Center think us computer nerds can't identify empty seats on our own.

Also, there were two people sitting at the table that the girl holding the Available Seating sign was standing around. I wonder what they were thinking the whole time. Probably something like, "What the hell, there are tons of other tables with empty seats, why is she trying to get people to come sit with us! We're computer scientists - we're loners - we want to sit alone in peace!"

I also like to think of how the interview for this job went. "M'am, this job entails holding an 8 ounce sign up for extended periods of time. Do you think you're up for the challenge?"

Anyway...

The presentations at TechEd were interesting, but the best part for me was going around to hunt for swag. In the past, you had to actually talk to the people at the vendor booths in order to get their promotional items (pens, shirts, etc), but this year the vendors just scanned the attendees' badges and obtained all their info - email, phone number, address, etc. We were told early on that if we got our badges scanned at a booth then the vendor would probably contact us.

Lucky for me, the badge I was using wasn't my own, so the contact information that I was giving out was for the poor sap who loaned me his badge. And yes, I got swag from every single booth. At first I was just carrying my swag around, but eventually I had to find a bag for my swag - a swag bag!

I also took a picture with the only hot girl at TechEd. I like to think of her as Ms. TechEd 2010.

[Picture: Bob and the only hot girl at TechEd]

I also took a picture with one of the TechEd mascots.

[Picture: Bob and the TechEd mascot]

I'll admit, I had a lot of fun finding all the swag. But all of my hard work at swag hunting was not for personal gain. I'm bringing a bunch of loot back to the office to share with the people who didn't get a chance to go. The things I'm bringing back are shown below....

We have shirts, caps, pens, key chain flashlights, key chain markers, stickers, a back scratcher, books, CDs, software, fake tattoos, candy, bandannas...

[Picture: Swag!]

stress relief balls, bouncy balls, blocks that light up when water touches them, more pens...

[Picture: A different angle of my swag!]

and of course, a swag bag, to fill up with more swag at the next conference that I attend. Now I just need to find another person's badge to take to my next conference so that I don't have to get contacted from any of the vendors!

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