This post is going to be a combination of fun and work. After all, all of me went to LA for PDC, not just the work aspect or the pleasure aspect.
PDC 09 Conference Recap
These are notes condensed from 4 days of note taking in OneNote.
Stuff that got announced
3 screens and a cloud (next 'wave' is Cloud computing [Mainframe (1970's) --> client-server (1980's) --> web (1990's) --> soa (2000's) --> cloud (2010's)]
- Phone, TV, PC
- Silverlight being the client mechanism (they are really pushing this to be the main UI mechanism)
Data playing increasingly larger role - Vivek Kundra - Chief Information Officer for the USA live via video feed
- make information public - for public consumption and transparency of data
- data.gov - searchable data catalogs
Conference Sessions Attended (11) + 1 pre-conference workshop
- Developing Microsoft BI Applications - The How and the Why
- Note that I struggled with this decision. I signed up for Getting the Most out of Microsoft Silverlight 3 but having spent the last 9 months on a Silverlight project for one of our clients, I did not think it was going to be that beneficial. There’s a ton of info on the web for Silverlight. However, there’s not much for BI. The Silverlight application I worked on sits on top of a Analysis Services Cube – the API is completely different than just throwing down a Entity Framework model on top of a relational database (which I did as well for some parts of it). This app has an AdoMdDataReader, CellSet and MDX statements. I was curious how others approached this area.
- Data Programming and Modeling for the .NET Developer - SQL Server Modeling Services
- Overview of SharePoint 2010 Programmability
- Evolving ADO.NET Entity Framework in Microsoft.NET Framework 4 and Beyond
- SketchFlow: Prototyping to the Rescue
- Microsoft Perspectives on the Future of Programming
- Should I Use Silverlight, MVC, or Web Forms for Web User Interface Development?
- Networking and Web Services in Silverlight
- Advanced Topics for Building Large-Scale Applications with Microsoft Silverlight
- Automating the App Lifecycle with Windows Azure
- SQL Server Modeling Services: Using Metadata to Drive Application Design, Development and Management
- Mastering Microsoft WCF RIA Services
Conference Sessions I wanted to attend, 44.
There was alot of concurrent session angst for me. At any given time slot, there were 11 sessions and many of those I wanted to attend more than one in that time slot. Luckily it was all being recorded and available at PDC, http://microsoftpdc.com/. It will be interesting to see how making this all available online affects conference attendance in the future.
I might add that one of my favorite sessions, ‘Should I Use Silverlight, MVC, or Web Forms for Web User Interface Development?’, was an audience participation session where I got to talk quite alot because out of the mass of people in the session, I was one of the few using Silverlight in a LOB application. However since it was audience participation, there is no video or audio available – an experience you can only get by being there.
Also, this years swag was pretty nice. A laptop. I brought my wife to this years conference because last year Microsoft booked Universal Studios theme park. This year there was nothing planned. In fact, the twitter stream was full of folks lamenting the lack of a breakfast this year and no party – until the laptops were announced. Every attendee got one. Pretty nice.
The touchscreen is the highlight. The other specifications aren’t too shabby either. Windows 7 Ultimate, 2 GB memory, 250 GB HDD, huge battery life (8+ hours), bluetooth, all wireless specs (G, N, etc), and on…
The LA Experience
I’ve posted a few times here about how I’m going native so it wouldn’t surprise you to say I’m not a fan of LA. You have to drive everywhere. I saw a few bikes but with the weather so nice all the time this is the city that could lead the way in cycling. The downtown area was a ghost town – during the day and at night. All these high rise buildings. Where is everyone? One the streets driving. The traffic was fun to watch from the hotel room.
The hotel, the Omni, was downtown and since I didn’t rent a car, I had some decent walks. About 1.5 miles to the conference center (or you could take the attendee bus which was nice as well).
The conference center is in this area called an ‘entertainment campus’ called LA Live (wikipedia|web). This was where we started off eating because we couldn’t find a place near the hotel. Basically your franchise eateries plus some shops and anchored by the LA Lakers stadium.
We did ESPN bar the first night – they had good wings, good beer and lots of big screen TV’s. It was fun watching the Sunday night game between the Colts and the Patriots on a huge screen.
The next night we did a bar called Yard House. They have 135 beers on tap.
Then on the 3rd night I was feeling beer overload. We did Mai Tai’s at Trader Vic’s. It was fairly empty so we chatted up with the staff. The manager was very cool and gave us this free drink in glass shell.
During dinner my Mai Tai was in a SoCal cup and my wife (born and raised in Eugene Oregon – Oregon Ducks country) had to let em know how she felt about SoCal (sorry Jeff!).
On the third and fourth night we were ready for some exploring. We went to Little Tokyo which was a decent but nice walk (hey it’s like 65 degrees at night). The sushi at Sushi Gen (500+ 5 star reviews in google maps) was very good.
The following night we checked out La Golondrina on Olvera Street. This was a pretty cool market and reminded me of the shopping I did in Mexico City years ago. The food was awesome and the manager spent alot of time talking with us. There’s some good history around the restaurant and shopping Olvera Street (oldest part of downtown LA).
The Train Ride
The highlight of the trip although it almost didn’t happen. We flew down and took the train back (Amtrak Coast Starlight). After going through 3 lines (the line at the baggage check, the line to get through the TSA where you undress and then the line to get on the plane) it reconfirmed why I hate flying. It’s customer-no-service at it’s finest. For travel the train is the opposite. No lines. Comfortable seating. Relaxed travel. Yes it takes longer though. Vote with my dollar is what I say.
When we went to Union Station to check in we discovered I made reservations for the wrong date. We were supposed to board the day before. Luckily we were able to switch but I gave my wife a nice scare (I think that will be the last time she let’s me make the travel arrangements).
Our cabin was very spacious and comfortable. It had a bathroom with shower in it, two bunks and a chair and a nice window to watch the landscape roll by. When I wasn’t plastered to the window watching the view I did lots of reading, I was able to finish two national geographic magazines and make it 1/3 of the way through my latest book series I’m starting, Wizard’s First Rule since it was a 24 hour train ride.
The view from SoCal was mostly desert and palm trees.
We then made are way along the coast and the train runs right on the beach and along cliff edges.
We even went past some kind of rocket launch site for NASA and a USAF military base. I heard this is only accessible via the train.
Lots of interesting people to meet at mealtime. 4 people sit in a booth. This girl was from Australia doing a 14 month world tour – spending 6 weeks in the USA.
Then we started heading into the mountains as daylight started fading on the first day.
I lost track of the number of tunnels we went through.
The next morning we awoke to the mountains of Southern Oregon with the morning fog still sitting on some of the trees.
The beauty is hard to describe. You are going to have to see it for yourself.