Wow, that title is a mouthful. It's also where I've been for the last several days. That said, the rest of this post is under NDA. That's right: all two of you who read this can't tell anyone what you read here. Wait - that must have just seeped in from the last several days of presentations - all of which started with some NDA slide or another. After a bit you get tired of hearing about Nonsense Dispersal Agreements anyway. We all know that conferences spew nonsense: no need to have slides about it.
So, this was another conference that tires you out to no end. Reception the first night, then up at 5:00 to do email before sessions, sessions until 5:45, then back on the bus and a dinner from 7:00 until 10:30 then finally back to the hotel and to bed. Next day, up at 5:00 to do email before the sessions and sessions until 5:45 then a steering committee dinner from 6:30 to something late. About the same the third day. At least the stuff is all interesting - it just gets to be tiring after awhile. All that said, I wouldn't change it: we need all that time to get everything in.
One of the funniest happenings was the network there at the Executive Briefing Center. Anyone who has been to Microsoft's Redmond campus lately has probably gotten a print out of an ID and password for accessing the "MSFTGUEST" wireless network. You try to open say www.cnn.com and get redirected to a place to logon - similar to how most hotel networks are setup. Nothing new there. However, in this case - for the first two days - Internet Explorer wouldn't display the site. Firefox would work fine! Now, as embarassing as that must have been for the hosts, it does show that Microsoft does not make web pages that only work in Internet Explorer. It happened to be on Firefox download day, so I needed to use FF 2.014 to connect to the MSFTGUEST network so I could download FF 3.0. That just sounds wrong when you are on an MS network. Worked fine, but then VPN wouldn't work. Its amazing how one of the largest and most successful software engineering firms can't run a wireless guest network that - well - works. Most people using classic VPN solutions such as Cisco, Nortel, or the built in MS VPN L2TP could not connect. Only the people using SSL VPN's or RPC over HTTP (which my company doesn't allow) could get their mail. I finally got in part time by using a Citrix connection to remote desktop. At one point that wouldn't work either and I had to use OWA. I guess they had to take the folks who would normally create a working network and devote them to fixing Vista?
Other than the wireless snafu, the rest of the conference was engaging and fairly interesting (as usual some sessions more so than others). Thanks to Paula, Joseph, and Karen for making the conference a successful and interesting experience.