TechDays Montreal, Day 1

by Joey deVilla on December 4, 2009

With the setup complete, TechDays Montreal was ready to begin, which it did on Wednesday. Like TechDays Halifax, Techdays Montreal sold out weeks before its date. Here’s what the registration line looked like at 7:45 a.m.:

01 registration

We members of the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) team arrived at 7:00 a.m., but the TelAV A/V guys (I keep saying that their motto should be “To Serve and Project”) had been there at least an hour before, making sure that the displays and sound were working perfectly:

02 theatre

The speakers were asked to show up at 8:00 a.m. in order to be briefed on the day’s proceedings, double-check their demo setups and make sure that they were familiar with the audiovisual equipment.

03 laurent

TechDays Montreal, being the only TechDays held in the province of Quebec, required extra work to support both English and Français. Attendees could request radio headsets which they could use to tune into simultaneous translations of the sessions, which were provided by translators located in booths near the rear of every presentation room:

10 translation booth

All the presentation slides were translated into French, and we showed both the English and French slides at each presentation, with the French slides on the left screen and the English slides on the right. Each slide deck ran on its own PowerPoint machine and was advanced using a “clicker” that advanced the slides on both machines simultaneously:

06 laurent

With the exception of my start-of-day introductory mini-session, all the sessions in my track, Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform, were done in French. As track lead, I normally play the role of host in my track, but my rather limited command of the French language just wasn’t up to the task. I was very fortunate that one of my presenters, Laurent Duveau (pictured below by the lectern) was able to act as host. He did an excellent job MCing and introducing the speakers.

04 laurent

Laurent was also the first presenter of the day. He did the What’s New in Silverlight 3 session:

05 laurent

The second session of the day was Expression Blend for Developers, which was presented by Louis-Philippe Pinsoneault. The two photos below show Laurent on the left and Louis-Philippe on the right:

07 laurent louis philippe

08 laurent louis philippe

Here’s Laurent introducing Louis-Philippe:

09 laurent louis philippe

Just down the hall, Dan Nerenberg presented at the Microsoft Deployment Toolkit 2010: The Next Generation session:

11a dans room

Dan presented to a packed room:

12 audience

Then came lunch, which took place in the large room on Centre Mont-Royal’s fourth floor:

13 lunch 1

The lunch highlight was a demo showdown in which we asked the question “Who can do better Windows 7 demos – developers or IT pros?” Christian Beauclair represented the developers and Pierre Roman represented the IT Pros; both got four chances to do 60-second demos of various features in Windows 7.

Here’s Pierre setting up before the showdown:

14 lunch 2

The winner was determined by audience applause, and Christian (and thus the developers) won.

In addition to the sessions, attendees could also visit the Windows 7 lounge, and area set up with Windows 7-equipped touchscreen computers and an XBox 360, where they could take Windows 7 and its multitouch features or XBox 360 indie games for a spin:

15 lounge 1

16 lounge 2

17 lounge 3

Day 1 of TechDays included a bonus session at the end of the day. Rodney Buike and I did a presentation in which we talked about PHP on Windows, the Web Platform Installer (WPI) and the Expression Web tools. In another room, Anthony Bartolo and Mark Arteaga, did their presentation on developing for Windows Mobile:

18 windows mobile

Although TechDays’ Day 1 had ended, it wasn’t the end of the day for some of us – we had Career Demo Camp that evening, which I’ll cover in the next article.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.


TechDays Montreal: Next Week!

by Joey deVilla on November 27, 2009

montreal elm de maisonneuve

TechDays Canada, Microsoft’s cross-country conference covering how developers and IT pros can best make use of current Microsoft tools and technologies, hits Montreal next week. As with TechDays Halifax, which took place earlier this month, Techdays Montreal is completely sold out – there aren’t any tickets left to be had for love or money.

fleur-de-lisTechDays Montreal will feature some interesting Quebec twists, one of which is that all the presentations in the developer tracks – that’s Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform and Developer Fundamentals and Best Practices – will be done in French. If you’re an Anglophone, worry not: there will be a translation service to help you out. We’re happy to be able to do our presentations in our freres’ and souers’ mother tongue.

career demo camp montreal

On the evening of the first day of TechDays Montreal, we’ll be loaning out our conference space to the fine folks at PHP Quebec and ConFoo so they can hold Career Demo Camp Montreal, a gathering that combines a career advice workshop with a DemoCamp-style event (I’ll be doing a presentation about boosting your career through blogging). Admission to this event is free-as-in-beer, and no, you don;t have to be a TechDays attendee to get in. For more details about Career DemoCamp Montreal, see their sign-up page.


And finally, there’s the matter of how we’ll get there. My coworker Damir Bersinic and I will be hopping in his van and drive from Toronto to Montreal. The usual sort of hilarity is likely to ensue, and we’ll take pictures and shoot some video and post tweets (he’s @DamirB on Twitter, I’m @AccordionGuy) along the way.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.