I went to the MSDN roadshow presentation in Nottingham a few weeks back. I'd realised when I signed up that much of it would be over my head. Which meant that I was very pleasantly surprised when I did get the gist of the first presentation showing streamlining and tidying up of Visual Basic and C# 3.
I imagine that the Technet Day was probably more my level, but frankly, I don't want to find out about Windows Vista yet. My systems won't be able to operate it effectively and I hear that there are incompatibilities. It's a beast in terms of size. Neither do I intend to upgrade to Microsoft Office 2007 in the immediate future. Other than when I got my Microsoft Office Master certification, which required me to use a wide range of options in Office 2000, I make very little use of the 'gadgetry' other than basic word processing.
I use dedicated freeware or shareware apps for building websites, having given up Front Page three years ago.
All in all, the MSDN content appealed to me more with presentations on Ajax and XAML, even if I didn't understand it fully.
I was very taken with the potential of Visual Studio, which seems to offer an entry point for building some quite complex Web 2.0 applications without having to get buried by coding.
And it was useful to see a demo of Windows Expression, the successor to Front Page, even if it was still in beta format.
I continue to be concerned, though, that using Microsoft products will add an inordinate amount of code to websites. I like the lean approach of minimal coding.
I had to admire the presenters who were missioned to show off products which even they admitted were not truly ready for the market. And I like the way that when the MSDN emails arrive, I recognise the name of the chap who wrote it, thinking, Oh yes, he talked about that at the roadshow I went to.
The air conditioning system at the East Midlands Conference Centre was extremely efficient. Perhaps the benefit was that, although one risked getting a chill, one wasn't inundated with the aroma of The Great Unwashed, which has been the case in gatherings of this nature in the past.
I am supremely impressed with Microsoft's civility. Not only did I receive reminders before the event, but also an email afterwards thanking me for attending. Old school gentlemanliness. It makes me rather wistful.
And I made a discovery. Between each presentation, some very enjoyable music was played, which sounded vaguely familiar, but I didn't know the artist. Sitting with Rosie in the champagne bar in Leicester the following week, one of the tracks was played. "Oh, that's what they played at the Microsoft event. What is it?"
"Oh Mum," replied Rosie, "That's Jack Johnson. It's easy listening." I now have the CD.