Rants, rambles, news and notes from another geek

PDC - Starting to Crash

I am really starting to crash. 16 hours a day at the convention center is starting to fry my brain. Carrying 10-15lbs in my laptop bag is giving me scoliosis. I’ve had the flu since I got here and can’t crack it with all the smoke in the air. My voice is gone this morning… I tried to give a “woo hoo” during the MS Research Keynote this morning and it just came out as a whisper. Ugh…

OK, I’ve been trying to do one good post per session but that just isn’t going to happen. Yesterday I had powere problems all day because I started out empty and never got caught up. Last night I remembered to power up so I should be better today.

So! Here’s what happened yesterday…

Keynotes: Eric Rudder and Gordon Mangione

OK, I suck. I don’t even remember these. I know I bailed out during Gordon’s talk about Yukon because I had to deal with some work issues, but you would think I could remember Eric’s talk. That is why I blog. I can’t remember stuff like that more than an hour or two later.

Indigo: Building Services (Part 1): The Fundamentals

This was another Don Box Indigo session which means two things this week: excellent presentation and standing room only sessions. This one was PACKED. People were on the floor, standing in the back, every seat full. There were another hundred or so in the hallway watching it on a monitor. Jesus!

The talk itself was excellent because Don gave us the foundation of what Indigo is. Let my just say that his cryptic remarks from the last month or so (e.g. “Indigo is a state of mind”) actually make sense now. Here’s the gist: Indigo is an implementation of web services that started with good service-oriented models and derived a natural interface for programming against it. The ASMX system that we have now is good… in fact it is probably the best thing around _right now _but it isn’t as good as Indigo. That is the high level point as I got it–hopefull Don won’t call me a moron if he reads this. :)

Indigo: Building Services (Part 2): Secure, Reliable, Transacted Services

This session came right after the packed Part 1 session, but in their infinite wisdom, the event planners put it in a different room. So the overflowing crowd from part 1 fought and pushed their way to Part 2 and again, half had to sit on the floor or outside in the hallway. Don was late getting here because he got stuck in a traffic jam caused by all the people! Insane.

Once he got setup, he continued telling us about Indigo, specifically he talked a lot about transactions. After giving us a detailed review of why transactions are hard in a distributed, message based world, he told us what we would and wouldn’t get in Indigo for this. I could spend days reviewing this material so I won’t do it now. Instead I will suggest that anyone interested in this stuff look for the many whitepapers that will be coming out of the Indigo team in the coming months.

With 30 minutes to spare my work called and I had to bail out right as Don started talking about security. Damn!

Visual C# Whidbey: Language Enhancements

Anders Hejlsberg apparently hosted this session, but since I spent the entire time on the phone with my home office, I can only pray that they offer it up as a repeat tomorrow. We’ll see. Everyone I talked to said it was great.

Dinner w/ Addison Wesley Professional

I haven’t talked about it on my blog, but I’m working on a book idea with someone from AWP. I’ve always respected AWP as one of the best publishers in the business so I was really excites when they contacted me about writing a book. I’ll post more about this once it actually becomes something other that speculation.

BOF: Smart Clients

Tim Huckaby hosted this BOF and he presented a fine agenda for us to follow and then we all ignored him and argued about what a smart client is for the whole hour. There were a number of elements that I think were common to everyone’s definition (ok maybe not everyone, but everyone who made sense). They were:

  • An app that works disconnected from, but works better connected to, the Internet (or any network I suppose)
  • An app that takes advantage of local processing power

Other than that, no one could agree. Some people tried to argue that ASP.NET apps count as smart clients. Tim asked us if we thought the new OWA (without a doubt the richest web app ever created) was a smart client. Everyone agreed that the new Outlook may be the best smart client currently deployed.

Basically it was a big argument over semantics, but I think it was important because we don’t have a good definition to use when selling these things to clients. Many people wanted to include easy deployment in that list. Outlook certainly isn’t zero, or one-click deployment. But it is a smart client.

This went back and forth, and back and forth. Once or twice Tim would try to get us back into the agenda and the next person on the mic would go right back to the semantic argument.

Eventually we had to leave the room ‘cause the next BOF was going to start. So we all went to the Westin bar and kept arguing (on many more topics) until the night was over. At the Westin, I met a number of people for the first time. I bought Clemens Vasters a beer in thanks for dasBlog. I met a number of fellow bloggers. I had a fun chat with Jeff Key (author of Snippet Compiler among other things). That was fun.

Finally got back to my hotel at about 12:45. In bed by 1:15. Up at 6:45 and back here by 7:30. This is fucking hard. I love it, but it is HARD.

More later… the MS R&D; Keynote this morning was AMAZING!