Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Few Things About My Conference in Atlanta

Just got back from my first Microsoft conference, in Atlanta with 9,000 of my closest friends. Here are a few observations I made along the way, but waited to post until I got back:

  • There's a liter bottle of Dasani in my hotel room.  If I open it, it costs $6 plus tax.  Just typing that made my wallet hurt.
  • If I get hungry in the morning, I can get a yogurt parfait from room service.  That would be $9 + $3.50 delivery charge + 21% service charge.  Or perhaps a three-egg omelette for $15 plus the charges...
  • There's a remote control next to the bed to open the motorized curtains.  Because apparently that was a lot of effort or something.
  • I'm using my iPad at a Microsoft conference. I haven't been kicked out yet, but I'm pretty sure it's coming.
  • At the convention center, it's pretty incredible how many people there are whose sole job is to stand there, greet people, and every once in a while, give someone directions. 
  • The iPad onscreen keyboard has a picture of the little raised lines on the F and J keys, just like a real keyboard. Of course, these do absolutely no good. 
  • It's mildly entertaining to watch people grab extra snacks from the snack tables and stick them in their bags (I won't pretend like I didn't as well).  It's like they really think they're sticking it to the man.
  • There are people from as far away as New Zealand at this conference.  I really feel sorry for them, and I wonder how in the world their company justified the expense of sending them.
  • Having live music and an overly peppy host to kick off a keynote address that starts at 8:30 AM is a bad idea.
  • This isn't really a technical-oriented conference, but it's still really weird to me that the male/female ratio is about 50/50.  Just not used to that.  Although the one technical session I went to was the more-familiar 99/1 ratio.
  • The people taking pictures of the Powerpoint slides with their cell phones were cracking me up.  I don't know if they weren't aware they were available for download or if they just couldn't wait.
  • Tuesday morning, the conference itself seemed to be going a little slow.   This may or may not be related to the open bar Monday night.
  • Tuesday night, we were taken out to one of those Brazilian restaurants where they bring around the meat on the big skewers.  I did not discriminate; if Noah had gotten really hungry while on the Ark, that's pretty much my dinner.
  • I wonder how old I will need to be before I stop feeling like the only child at an adult dinner party when I go to these conferences.
  • As of Wednesday morning, they said the conference had consumed 22,500 cans of soft drinks.  A good chunk of those were mine.
  • I'm pretty sure the speaker at the last session I went to was the female version of Arnold Schwarzenegger.  Literally the exact same accent and everything, just a little higher.
So after I had finished the draft of this, I read my entry from a conference I went to back in 2003.  I pretty much could have copy and pasted it.  Read it here.