Edmonton VS 2005, SQL 2005 and BT 2006 Launch

Today I spent the day at the Edmonton Launch event.  The sessions
were fairly interesting, the swag was great and the check-in and
departure processes were horrific.  Pictures courtesy of Sasha here.

The day was split into two sessions.  The first, and least
attended, was the TechNet session on SQL Server 2k5 and BizTalk
2k6.  It was interesting to see some of the stuff in the demos,
but huge things (like Database Mirroring and Database Snapshots) that I
thought pertained to the TechNet side were not even mentioned. 
There was however a good primer on Analysis Services that got me
thinking about possible solutions.

The swag was just as expected.  The usual marketing propaganda
from a number of VSIPs, a certification exam voucher, a T-Shirt
(apparentally XL is the new medium) and of course VS Standard, SQL
Server Standard and a voucher for Biztalk Developer Edition.  The
only thing that was weird (only because I’ve never seen it before) is
that we received a one CAL license to SQL Server.  Not that I’m
complaining, just observing oddities.

The Canadian Launch Tour blog
say’s that we should trackback so that they can get some
feedback.  We’ll here’s the part of my feedback that these guys
probably didn’t ever want to have to hear. The check-in and departure
processes at the event was a debacle.  We got to Silver City at a
reasonable time this morning and were shepherded through the check-in
process with ease and efficiency.  Yeah there were only about 15
people waiting, but it worked at the speed that it should have. 
Then the time came to leave the theater for a lunch time stretch,
perhaps a little Q&A at the cabana about Reporting Services (which
got very little screen time outside of it’s uses in VSTS) and, of
course, picking up the morning session swag.  Well, I was seated
about 15 seats in a row right at the exit and it took me over 30
minutes just to get out of the theater.  Then about 20 of us got
pulled to the side and told to wait so that we could get our swag from
a new processing area which never arrived, so it was back to waiting
for that.  After getting our swag, we had to get back into line so
that we could complete our registration for the afternoon session and
pickup a survey form so that we had a shot at winning the XBox 360
(sweet prize guys!).  I don’t know what would have worked better
here, but certainly it was something to do with which theater was used
(not much room out front for the masses of people leaving session one
and waiting for session two) and the lay out of the lines for
registration and swag.  It was a situation that made the computer
shipping problem, that Sasha blogged they had, almost irrelevant as we
damn near didn’t get a second session started to use those
machines.  To deal with the backlog of people, the second session
was shortened.  BizTalk was basically cut from the presentation
and Smart Client stuff was glazed over like a donut at Timmy’s. 
The general impression I was got was that the other attendees were
irritated by the situation, but the majority took it with a smile (it
still beat dealing with data modelling hell).  Thanks to the
presenters for making it abundantly clear that they were sorry about
the situation, and I know it probably was almost entirely out of your

On the good side, John proved that he was a great presenter and, even
after telling the story the night before about meeting his presenting
idol’s blue screen incident, he managed to have a horrific compile at
one point.  He and the other main MSDN presenters were full of
energy, information and enthusiasm.  I’m still wondering if John
really does have Brittany on his machine though……