Scenes from TechDays Ottawa

Annoyances Beyond Our Control

No matter how much planning you put into a conference, there will always be things that you just have to roll with. For starters, when you’ve got an event in December in Canada, there’s always a chance that the first major snowstorm of the year will happen on the very same day.

Here’s what the parking lot of the Hampton Inn Conference Centre looked like at 7:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Day 1 of TechDays Ottawa:

01 snowy parking lot

Here’s a look at Coventry Road, on which the Conference Centre is located. Even at 7:00 a.m., it’s already pretty busy, thanks to the combination of snow and “In too early, out too early” working style of government towns. The building in the background is the RCMP headquarters:

02 snow traffic

In addition to the snowstorm, there was another little problem that fell outside of our contingency planning. I’ll let the video below explain:

Someone in the crew of workers in the garage accidentally knocked out a sprinkler valve, setting off the fire alarms. The staff did the right thing by leading an orderly evacuation of the centre…and into the snowstorm. Luckily, we found out that there was no fire very quickly and the evacuees didn’t have to stand outside for longer than a couple of minutes.

With the annoyances out of the way, it was time for Day 1 to start in earnest.

Day 1

The first speaker in the track for which I am lead, Developing for the Microsoft-Based Platform, was Colin Melia, who did the What’s New in Silverlight 3 session:

03 colin melia

He spoke to a packed room and an attentive crowd:

05 audience

With the first sessions safely under way, Damir and I made a quick run to get some cables, a replacement keyboard and some much-needed Starbucks. I decided to shoot some video during our run:

Next up was Peter Henry, whose session was Expression Blend for Developers:

06 peter henry

The lunch session featured Rick Claus (in the hat, on the right) acting as referee between Pierre Roman (representing IT pros in the Montreal Canadiens jersey) and Christian Beauclair (representing developers in the Ottawa Senators jersey) having a showdown to see who can do the better Windows 7 demos. Christian, as the representative of developers, won handily:

08 pierre christian rick

According to the feedback forms, the lunchtime demo showdown was a popular event:

09 lunchroom

The afternoon sessions featured Daniel Crenna (shown in the photo below) on Building Composite Applications with WPF and Silverlight, followed by Colin Melia talking about Optimizing Your Applications for the Windows 7 User Experience:

10 daniel crenna

The day closed with a set of bonus sessions. Rodney Buike and I did one on IIS/PHP interoperability. Rodney’s been promising revenge on me since I farted during our session in Calgary, nearly messing up his concentration and forcing him to stifle his laughter.

I’m still getting static about that incident. I swear, you “cut the cheese” once on stage, and you’re branded for life…

Day 2

I’m pleased to see that ASP.NET MVC has turned out to be a very popular topic at this conference. The demand for the MVC sessions is such that we’ve been switching to a larger room for them:

12 audience

The first session, Introducing ASP.NET MVC, was given by Maxime Rouiller, who once again wowed everyone with his snazzy Alienware laptop (which I featured in an earlier blog entry):

11 maxime rouiller

Daniel Crenna’s session covered the SOLID principles as applied to ASP.NET MVC:

13 daniel crenna

“Dependency injection”: you’d better get used to that phrase:

14 daniel crenna

Here are Christian and Rick, preparing to do some announcements over lunch:

15 christian rick

I really enjoyed Mario Cardinal’s rendition of the Building RESTful Applications with WCF:

16 mario cardinal

My original plan was to just catch the first ten minutes of his presentation, but I got drawn into it. Just another ten minutes, I thought to myself, and in that ten minutes, he and I did a little back-and-forth about open source and Microsoft approaches to protocols, after which I thought Okay, maybe another ten minutes. Christian, with whom I was supposed to catch up and take care of some stuff, ended up phoning me to remind me that I couldn’t stay for all of Mario’s session.

17 mario cardinal

The final session was Francis Beaudet’s, which was on Developing and Consuming Services for SharePoint. Unfortunately, I didn’t get any good shots from that session.

This article also appears in Canadian Developer Connection.