Two hours after Codestock ended, I sat at a local restaurant enjoying dinner with Tennessee friends. I was tired and mostly listened to the conversation around the table.
I decided only recently to attend Codestock this year - primarily to help manage Microsoft's sponsorship of the event - but I ended up participating in 4 different presentations.
Scott Hanselman delivered the keynote address at the beginning of Day 1 and we were allowed to introduce him to the audience and speak for about 15 minutes. Jennifer Marsman and I decided to highlight a golf scoring application created by Knoxville developer Wally McClure. We chose this app because it used many features of Azure and ran on multiple devices, including an iPad. Rather than simply talking about the app, we wrote a short skit in which Jennifer and I bragged about how much we knew about golf and Wally patiently explained how much more complicated golf scoring was than we understood. Performing a skit is a different way of delivering a message like this, but based on the feedback I received afterward, most people seemed to enjoy it.
On Day 1, I was asked to sit on a "Mobile Strategy Panel" because one of the panelists cancelled at the last minute. Sam Basu of Telerik asked each panelist questions about the state of various mobile platforms and took questions from the audience. The session was recorded by Ed Charbeneau (one of the panelists) for his podcast, so this recording should be publicly available soon.
I also signed up to deliver a 20-minute Lightning Talk titled "Microsoft Azure Without Microsoft" in which I described many of the open source technologies and alternate platforms that are supported on Microsoft Azure.
On day 2, I delivered a presentation: "I Did Not Know Microsoft Did That". This presentation was created and submitted by my colleague Bill Fink, but Bill fell ill and could not make it. The organizers liked Bill's topic and asked if I could deliver it. I used Bill's slides to talk about free programs offered by Microsoft, such as BizSpark, Dreamspark, and Microsoft Virtual Academy. Everyone in the audience I spoke with told me they were unaware of more than 2 of the dozen or so programs I covered and wanted to explore at least one of them more.
The local Microsoft store was on-site with several tables full of PCs, laptops, tablets, phones, and even a 3D printer. This was an idea I pitched to Codestock last year and it was so well-received that the organizers contacted the store themselves this year.
I had a chance to attend a few sessions as well. Jennifer Marsman gave an excellent demonstration in which she used a device to measure EEG brain patterns and fed data into Azure Machine Learning to determine how the brain reacts when lying versus telling the truth; David Neal gave a very good overview of node.js for .NET developers; and Jeff Fritz showed off the features coming in ASP.NET 5.
I love attending Codestock because it gives me a chance to connect with people in a different part of the country than I normally interact with. I spoke with people about F# and video production and web development and cloud computing. I even captured a few video interviews, which I've already started sharing online.
Attendance nearly doubled this year over last year with nearly 900 developers making the trek. The organizers moved it to a much larger venue and may grow it even more in the future.
I think you can tell now why I was so tired following the conference. Luckily, I’m home now and I’ve already started to re-energize. For next year.