Heroes Happen Here: Birmingham ICC

Yesterday, I travelled down to Birmingham to attend Heroes Happen Here, Microsoft’s launch event for Visual Studio 2008, SQL Server 2008 and Windows Server 2008.

After checking out of my panic-room (Birmingham Travelodge), I made my way down Broad Street towards the centre on a cold but sunny morning.   I arrived at the ICC at around 09:00 and somehow managed to make the keynote despite forgetting my badge and having to queue for a replacement. Despite the huge registration base, delegates were well looked after by Fitch Live staff and furnished with an unlimited supply of Innocent Smoothies as well as the usual chocolate/coffee/water supply.

Additionally impressive was the full lunch provided in the exhibit hall. Despite some mixed reviews, I thought Microsoft did a great job at hosting this event.  All the speakers were of usual high standard and the presentations were all heavily demo-oriented and focused on the new features of the products and didn’t spend too much time lingering on current technologies. Although the focus of the day was definitely on LINQ, I found the VB 2008 session the most beneficial, with coding techniques and features I’ll no doubt explore in more detail soon. Presentation of the day award goes to Mike Taulty and his LINQ presentation. He delivered code samples in VB and C# and seemed to big up some of VB.net’s new features. “I think I am in love with LINQ”, “Wow” and “This stuff is amazing” were uttered as he presented… Great presenter. The only thing I wasn’t convinced by was the ‘class based’ attendee system they seemed to have in operation. Despite having queued for an event, I was turned away at the door because of the colour of my badge. Luckily, I was in the wrong place anyway and mosied on down to the correct hall for ‘Visual Studio 2008 IDE, VB Stream’.

I was still looking forward to receiving some free stuff at the event, namely copies of the big 3. Unfortunately, the software they were giving away were 365-day trial versions.  I left mine on the train back to Glasgow anyway, so I guess some lucky S.O.B. will be getting some value from it… I hope they install it on a production server and it expires during their busiest day. Is that evil? Probably, but they shouldn’t have stolen my swag. One particular event in the main hall seemed like fun. It involved wannabe speakers presenting for a maximum of 5 minutes in front of a panel of judges. Not quite X-Factor but the closest you’ll get when it comes to devs.

Anyway, enough rambling. The event was worth every penny… which was zero as the event was totally free to attend (except my train and hotel which my company had to pay for) Looking forward to a 100% developer oriented day.

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