Last week I attended the Dev Connections conference for the first time. It was held in the Mandalay Bay resort in Las Vegas. The conference is different because it doesn’t concentrate on any one technology, but combines a bunch of them; ASP, Sharepoint, SQL Server, Visual Studio & Architects. That makes it a bit more like Tech-Ed than the PASS Summit. I showed up on Tuesday night and was there through Friday. I attended a few sessions and presented three of my own on the SQL Server Central track of SQL Server Connection. Overall it was a very good experience. I enjoyed meeting a lot of different people that don’t go to the PASS Summit. My sessions went well (except for an odd interruption half way through my morning session on Wednesday. Less said there the better) and I got a lot of audience interaction (after bribing them with copies of my book). The sessions I attended were very good. My favorite two were Kimberly Tripp’s session on indexing and Gert Drapers on how a Microsoft project used Visual Studio Team System Database Edition to develop and deploy apps. Kimberly’s session, extremely informative, was especially memorable because she hit a snag in a demo. Instead of just bailing, as I would have done, she tracked down the problem, fixed it AND used the initial problem to further illustrate the point she was trying to make. Experience really counts. Gert’s session was just flat out enjoyable. He’s a great presenter anyway, but getting to see how he used VSTSDB in real life scenarios was fascinating as someone who is using it in the real world.
The networking at the conference was not as intense and varied as that found at the PASS conference. I think the audiences are different and the focus of the organizers of the event is different, resulting in, surprise, a very different conference. I did get the opportunity to meet quite and talk with some very interesting people, especially during the speaker party (ask someone from Google how much one of their cloud servers rents for…anyway). The party’s were great, and, since it was Vegas, went well into the night (although, I bailed on Wednesday night since I had to present two sessions on Thursday). Thanks to the people at Tech Conferences Inc, Penton and SQL Sentry for having me. I appreciate it.
Vegas… I was sick of by the end of the day on Thursday and I still had to get through Friday. I didn’t enjoy it much. I didn’t lose money, in fact I won at the slots, but I found the whole thing to be too plastic and fake. I just couldn’t gin up enough artificial joy to really get going there. Sorry.