Monday, November 05, 2007


TechEd day 1

Well, not as exciting as I had hoped it would be. Never mind.

The conference starts later today so after a good breakfast I'm walking down the palm-tree lined beach road to the centre wishing I still had a pair of sunglasses [[must find a shop]]. The air is warm enough that I leave my fleece in the rucksack.

I have no idea what the internal theme was for this restaurant as it seemed to be closed down (not just shut) and it was difficult to look through the windows. What a pity.

This part of Barcelona is full of building sites although most of the huge tower blocks seem fully built if not nearly finished. Looking out of my hotel window, I managed to count TWENTYONE huge cranes in a 180 degree view of the city.

and this building looks familiar...

Here is my home for the rest of the week (well, 9 hours of it anyway).

First thing I receive is a pair of fetching green Ask The Experts T-shirts because after four-five days just one top tends to get a bit whiffy. The workload back home seems to be looking after itself so I watch the 4pm "Think Big - Vista Media Centre" session, just in case it comes in handy to answer customer questions.

After the break I take in the 5:45pm "Introductory Walkthrough of Windows Communications Foundation (WCF) and Visual Studio 2008" as this is an area I really need to get into. My developer skills are amazingly poor considering I work in the developer unit in PSS but I'm starting to understand what WCF is doing.

What a great cloakroom ticket to have at a tecky conference. Well, I found it funny...

The Ask The Experts area doesn't open until 7pm and I'm not scheduled to work but I turn up anyway to meet Justin from the MSMQ group in the US. It is supposed to be a developer-oriented conference but all the questions are about usage and troubleshooting (which would be better handled next week when the IT Pros have their event).

At 8pm, Justin and I slope off across the road to talk shop over tapas and rioja. Very civilised. And much later, ten fortyfive maybe, we get on the tube to find a bar in town. Not surprisingly, at this time of night on a Monday, there doesn't seem much going on but we do find a Bob Marley pub where I introduce Justin to Magner's cider'n'ice. There's only time after that for a brazilian sugary cocktail before leaving Justin to find his hotel while I catch the last tube back to find mine.

This is where I find Spanish road signs suck. I managed to get home tonight by luck and the fact I had Autoroute on my laptop. Coming out of the tube statiom, I looked around for road signs and, finding none, looked at the roadmap next to the station. Taking the big red blob as a hint, I calculated my route home and set off.
In fact I was 90 degrees off.
The road did look decidedly long as it seemed to stretch off to infinity (where I was expecting the sea) and while phoning home I decided that now was a good time to bring out the laptop. The area was very quiet - one person every 5 minutes, sort of thing - so I didn't feel too worried bringing out a thousand Euros worth of kit that could be ripped out of my hand.
And I soon worked out that I was walking parallel to the beach and actually at the crossroads with the road that had my hotel on it. Infallible male sense of direction came through in the end.

Now some quality time to raid the minibar and put in a couple of hours of Halo on the laptop...

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