Saturday, August 06, 2005

The slide show that wouldn't quit

I'm just back from the event with Microsoft in Redmond that we have been asked not to blog about. So I certainly won't blog about the content of those sessions; that stuff is still NDA. However, I can certainly talk about how the sessions themselves went. I was pretty excited after the first day of seeing the unmentionable product. There were a lot of PowerPoint slides, but there was also some live demo. The live demo goes a long way towards proving that there is actually some code written and a product will exist soon (the demos hardly ever crashed).

By the end of the second day, I was beginning to suffer from that oft endured PowerPoint poisoning. Yes, that state you get into where there have just been too many slides and you stop paying attention to them at all. By the third day, it got worse and I was thinking, "Just give me the bits and stop with these presentations; I'll test the thing myself." (OK, so I had to skip out on the last two sessions - I have a feeling I would have left those ones saying "Just kill me".)

It's funny how the PowerPoint poisoning was made worse by an internal Microsoft competition. They were competing to see who could make the best "PowerPoint animation" (I don't think I even heard them say "The best use of a PowerPoint animation"). Now this thing was multi-track with up to 5 sessions going at once. I could only attend one at a time, so can't pretend to judge them all. But the animations made me think of that scene in the movie Galaxy Quest where "Crewman number 6" (Guy) asks the characters "Have you ever watched the show?". I was thinking of these MS PM's - "Have you ever used PowerPoint animations?" I mean most were rudimentary. The way they were plugging each one we needed to have someone with a buzzer and have Tommy Lee Jones (Men in Black II) come out and say "This one's an example of 'Go home and do it again'." Anyway, they were "Not Guud" (as Jim Carey would say in Bruce Almighty).

Now that I have begun to recover from the PowerPoint poisoning I have begun getting very excited to get hold of the product that was being shown. I think it must have been the coolaid. I had heard you weren't supposed to drink it...

By the way, thanks to some Microsoft folks who made the trip quite interesting (in no particular order): Sloan, Tony, Nick, David, Iuliana, Ronna, Dan, Maria, Joe. Thanks - you guys rock.

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