TechED 2012 in Orlando was the first TechED I attended, all-in-all a great event! Well organized, and really great to meet with all these people. Someone said that techED is about the people - the community - and I agree.
The event started out with a keynote session, it was so-so, not that the speaker did not do a good job, but there was really not that much new to get excited about. Windows 8 and Server 2012 looks good, but since most people in attendance had already seen these products it was not too exciting to see the switching between metro style and old-school windows. A new Hypervisor and SQL server looks nice, delivering a million IOPS. Clearly Lync were not the focus of techED this year, but I was a bit disappointed that they hardly mentioned Lync in the keynotes. There were a couple of really good sessions on Lync and many good speakers present.
The place we were in was really good, ample space for everyone. There were a big exhibitors section were a lot of companies talked about their products and gave away t-shirts and stuff. From a Lync perspective it was nice to meet with Jabra, Plantronics, Snom, HP, NET Technologies and Audiocodes among many others. I was helping out in the Hands-on-labs area where we had around 500 workstations set up and some 140 different labs that the attendees could play around with. You can still try the labs here for some time.
Some were really comfortable in our little lab area
I also joined the "Twitter army" which was a bunch of people tweeting from the event and a jury gave away some stuff for different categories of tweets and twitters. I really enjoyed that and I think it was a good way to follow the event online even though I was there. (Follow me, @mkressmark)
We also did have a lot of fun at the event; there was a garden sized chess table in the games area which was nice. There were a delegate party at the convention center and another one at Universal studios, and there were numerous other side events, meetings and parties you could attend.
The coolest giveaway of TechED 2012!
I have to thank Specops / Knowledge Factory for a great "Swedish" party, nice to meet a few of the approximately 150 swedes that came to TechED i North America. Unfortunately, I got to see two terrible soccer games from a pub in Orlando, first Sweden lost to Ukraine and then to England and were out of the Euro2012 :-(
Walking a dog at Universal studios
TechED in Amsterdam followed the agenda of TechED in Orlando pretty closely. The keynotes were pretty much the same, many of the sessions had other speakers but the material was mainly the same with a few good exceptions. We all know everything in America is big, and everything in Amsterdam were a bit smaller, smaller convention center, exhibitors area, hands on lab area, twitter army, people, etc. However, I think I met with even more good people in Amsterdam, plenty of Swedes and Europeans. The parties were also really nice. Microsoft arranged a soccer viewing at the Amsterdam Arena (video here), and Microsoft Sweden also arranged a soccer night were we saw Italy defeat Germany.
The boxing bots and hands-on-lab area in Amsterdam RAI
All in all I had a great June this year, and I will try to attend TechED in New Orleans next year, hope to meet you there!