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Day 3 aftermath : TechED Africa 2011

October 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Today started with some excitement surrounding the first two session on Azure guidance. The first of the two was not technical enough and despite it starting 25 minutes late, it was extremely engaging and very real and relevant information. Work interrupted the second session so missed more on the technical side there.

The rest of the day was divided between SharePoint / CRM and then some Windows Phone 7 and HTML 5.

The last session of the day was around Tips & Tricks on how to have a successful Windows Phone 7 application. This so far has been the best and most informative and real life applications. Learned a lot from this session and will definitely be implementing several of the tricks and tips suggested by the speaker.

Tomorrow sees the last day of TechED Africa 2011. A few sessions in the morning followed by the closing keynote. After that I have the rest of the afternoon dedicated to some more Azure sessions across from the ICC. Looking forward to these sessions as well since they will be discussing some real business models and obviously some more technical sessions.

A long and hard paced day has seen me fairly broken, so unfortunately missing the closing party tonight at the Moses Mabida Stadium with none other than Prime Circle proving the entertainment. Ah well, there is always next year.

Categories: TechED

Day 2 aftermath : TechED Africa 2011

October 19, 2011 Leave a comment

A day late, but here it is…

So day 2 started with a Chalk & Talk on CRM 2011 and mainly focused some upgrading, performance, dashboarding, reporting and tenancy. Very interactive and we were lucky enough to have the only MVP in africa in the session.

The second session was the most anticipated session for me and I was not disappointed. Must have features in Mango (Windows Phone 7.5) was the topic and even though we only focused on a handful of items, the features presented and explained was a real treat.

The rest of the day was spent between Silverlight, RIA Services, MVVM and C# programming tips. All good sessions and some just solidifying that we are on the right track and in some cases slightly ahead of the curve. Always good to see that.

I also managed to meet up with some online friends and finally meat them IRL. Some time with Microsoft MVPs and other experts was also a highlight.

I managed to also get through most of Micropolis and speak to some of the vendors. All and all a great day and very productive.

Categories: TechED

Day 1 aftermath : TechED Africa 2011

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Well, I survived day 1 of TechEd Africa 2011 with only a few bumps. There seams to be a correlation between the excitement of TechEd and our customers. For the past 4 years, something has always gone wrong at a customer site on day 1 of TechEd. But I suppose tis only add to the excitement of rushing between venues to resolves issues.

So day want found me in a session discussing “Application Lifecycle Management using Visual Studio Team Foundation Server 2010”. I great first session to have. We don’t always seem to realise how much Microsoft is actually trying to do to make our lives easier and further facilitate better software development practices and testing scenarios. A lot was taken away from this session. Some of the things I was already aware of and just needed a reminder, the rest (which was a lot) I did not know and will look at how to use these tips to further improve our processes within the office.

Second session was all around “Performance Management of Project Server 2010”. Another very informative session and a realization on just how much Microsoft loves to use their existing platforms and technologies to create great solutions. Most of the tools mentioned we already use on a daily basis, but we seem to forget to use them in these specific scenarios. Another eye opener and some valuable lessons to be had from this.

The Keynote, as always, was great and we had Jason Zander paint the picture for the rest of TechEd Africa and what to expect in all the relevant areas. The vision of a more unified OS working on multiple platforms and providing a look and feel that we can expect across all devices. Seamless integration between phone, desktop, pad & slate with the Cloud and the various tools to easy accomplish this.

Another great feature was to lure / entice developers from various background to easily use the new Templates in Visual Studio 11 to immediately be productive in Windows 8 development. I am really looking forward to this and I will now start to see a unified UI between my Windows Phone 7, Windows 8 Desktop and my Xbox 360.

Unfortunately I was unable to attend the Launch Party for TechEd Africa 2011, but will definitely be there at the closing event.

Looking forward to my sessions tomorrow and will be sure to publish as much as I can.

Categories: TechED

My tips for TechEd Africa 2010

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Now this is not so much specific tips around enjoying TechEd, but more what I’ve been doing for the past four years which has made my time here very productive and also enjoyable. This is a once a year event, and us Durbanites have been lucky enough the past four years for it to be hosted in Durban.

I think the most important thing for me with TechEd is to be a little organised. With such a huge amount of sessions available, knowing which ones to visit in advance helps a lot. So

  • Make sure you use the session builder a few days in advance to choose sessions
  • Revisit those sessions a day or two before the event to double check your choices
  • Try and have an end goal with regards to what specific knowledge you would want to get out of the event

And that’s just before the event starts. In the past TechEd used to always have the registrations and KeyNote on a Sunday. This year everything starts on the Monday (Today). So

  • Get there nice and early to ensure you register and get a shirt that fits you
  • Get a view of the layout and a roughly where the rooms are
  • Check connectivity, if you are taking some sort of device. Wifi is open and free, so why not use it
  • Take a few minutes to relax, have some coffee, tweet, facebook, linked in, blog or whatever takes your fancy

Time between sessions are short, so knowing where to go is important. Some sessions tend to be over booked, so finding a space is always good. I also tend to do back to back sessions, even my lunches, so knowing where to go is important for me.

Now some of this might sound to organised and taking some fun out of it. Possibly, but my goal each year is to get as much technical knowledge out of the event as possible, but I still have loads of fun and always attend all the evening events.

So happy TechEdding, and expect some more posts over the next few days.

Categories: TechED Tags:

TechED Africa 2011 is finally here…

October 15, 2011 Leave a comment

I can’t believe that it’s already that time of the year again. Time has definitely flown by again and for some reason the years seem to be getting shorter an shorter.

This will be my fourth year attending TechED and I must admit I am really looking forward to another four days of intense back to back sessions. Then there is always the exhibition centre with loads to look at and play with, as well as the vendors with really interesting products and services. Never forgetting the competitions and specials on various products.

This year my focus will be slightly more direct. Previous years I used to try and get bits of information on everything by attending a wide range of sessions. This year there is three main areas I will be focussing on. Cloud, Windows Phone 7 and Silverlight / WPF advanced features. All three of these are pertinent to my position but I also have a great personal interest in all three of these areas.

I will also be experimenting a little with technology / devices this year. In the past I used pen and paper and painstakingly used my notes to either blog or recap. This year I’ll be using my Windows 8 Developer Preview laptop and my Windows Phone 7. I’ve set up some shared OneNote Workbooks to enable some of my colleagues to see what I am up to, between both my phone and laptop.

I’ll also be meeting up with some friends from all over, so this year will be the best to date. Will be sure and post as much as possible on my blog, but will also tweet (@hffourie) throughout the day.

Blog again soon.

Categories: TechED

TechED Day 3 : Morning after

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

Well, it’s the morning after a great closing party for TechED Africa 2010. The ICC is almost completely empty, first session is 30 minutes later than usual. Nothing new for the last day of TechED.

As people are slowly starting to arrive, I cannot help but think back on the past few days of information overload. Already my mind it racing back to these sessions and picking out more of the relevant  issues, and tryng to formulate some plans of where and when we could be using this.

I’m looking forward to my last three sessions this morning, and then off course the closing keynote. Another great TechED Africa from Microsoft. The turn out was great this year (2500 delegates), and this despite a struggling economy. Highlighting again that despite the feeling of commoditising the IT industry more, management still see the need to invest in their staff to send them to events like these.

Categories: General, TechED

TechED Day 2 : Closing Party

October 20, 2010 Leave a comment

This year I decided to spend a little more time going to the clising party, and boy am I glad I did. Microsoft have really out done themselves this year.

They booked out the whole of uShaka Marine World (Paid section). Fore those who know nothing about this venue, we have an old “sunkin” ship that you walk down into with tanks full of marine life all over. There is also a water entertainment park, dolphin shows and a huge “garden” to walk around in.

We were welcomed by Hawaiin style girls handing us our flowers necklaces and drinks. Walking down into the ship there was small personal tables scattered all over the place with several food stations to get something to eat. Waters all over to cater for your every need.

For the rest a hug bush style marqee with bean bags for relaxing, great music and lanterns and lights scattering the garden routes.

It was great having such a huge venue to just walk around in, especially if the music was a bit load in certain areas. There’s nnothing more relaxing that flopping down in a bean bag, great food on your lap and watching the sharks swim buy.

Microsoft, not sure how you are going to better this next year. Great job!!!

Categories: General, TechED Tags: