A few years ago, I used to attend loads of MSDN evening event held at Microsoft Campus in Reading in the UK. They are basically a little lecture on a developer-centric topic with a small intermission and dinner. I’ve been to events about Asp.net, Biztalk server, Office XP, etc.
I just got back from my first Microsoft event for about three years.
Tonight’s topic: Windows Vista for Developer Features Beyond .Net.
The presentation was given by Daniel Moth and I was very impressed with the presentation.
One of the reason’s I haven’t been to many events recently is that I figured “well, I can just watch a webcast anytime I want.” But, I’m starting to realise some of the flaws with that theory. There is a big difference between watching a webcast and attending an event live.
Watching a webcast does not demand your full attention. Usually, the speaker, without an audience to feed off of, speaks in a monotonous voice and literally reads of power point slides. I often find it difficult to pay close attention and will start shifting through papers on my desk, etc. In a webcast, you can’t hear the reactions of the audience. With Microsoft products, it is not uncommon to hear developers groan at some of the claims made of the product. It’s always nicer to do this collectively.
Now, I don’t think all webcasts are bad. The DNRTV screencasts are very interesting with more code than slides and you get to witness Carl Franklin’s sense of humour when talking about otherwise dry subjects. I also find Rory Blythes screencasts on Channel9 to be very entertaining. But usually, booooring.
Tonight’s MSDN presentation by Daniel Moth was very good. No one looked bored, everyone enjoyed the stealth jokes, and I didn’t once feel like I was being fed marketing information on how great Vista would be. He was very objective with how things should work.
Another nice thing about attending a live event is hearing other people’s concerns and questions that had not occurred to me yet. I also get to hear the usual developer cynicism. While some, like myself, obviously thought incorporating RSS feeds into our applications would be a great idea, others claimed they couldn’t see the reason for it.
When we were looking at the new Vista Sidebar, someone asked why anyone would use it when they had Google Sidebar. A collective groan filled the room.
Attending a live event also gives you the opportunity to chat with other like-minded developers. Great.
If you like in the UK near Reading or London, I highly recommend attending a Microsoft event.