Today was my second day in the Seattle-Bellevue-Redmond area and the first full day of Microsoft's Visual Studio Live conference. Despite
starting off on the wrong foot yesterday, I determined this morning to try and give the conference a fresh start in the hopes that some of my
negative opinion from yesterday was just traveler's fatigue.
I chose to walk the mile of campus between my hotel and the proceedings, but the darkness out of my window prevented me from realizing that a
thick fog clung icily between the trees and bushes along my route until I was fully exposed on the road. Slipping on my jacket and EDC rain
slick took the edge off of the air but my face remained numb after my arrival for several minutes.
Yesterday the campus buildings seemed soulless and bland but in the moody dim light of the fog covered morning, with the many trees and shrubs
slipping in and out of visibility, it took on a much more soft and atmospheric feel. The breakfast bar was well stocked, and the week was
beginning to look decidedly up. I still could not shake the sense that, between the Creature From The Black Lagoon pinball machine and live
jazz band, whoever was responsible for the common area was trying too hard to generate some kind of hip, Google-esque vibe.
I was finally won over, however, if not by Microsoft, at least by the promoters of the conference, during one of the morning sessions. I see a
lot of presentations in my line of work, and I am one of those people who cannot help but pay close attention to a person's desktop as they are
setting up their presentation and switching windows. In a way it seems nosy, even though it is right there for everyone to see, but I find it
difficult to resist because it is at least a limited view into the personality of the presenter. And in this particular class, as a presenter
was demoing the ability to drop an image into a particular function, he brought up a folder to select an image of one of his children. And right
there, on a giant wall sized Microsoft projection screen, scattered among photos of smiling children and family members, was a distinct nude
woman. I laughed and a few others also noticed and laughed in the split second it took him to select his photo and change windows again. Now,
it could have been something as simple as a painting or as innocent as a memento of his wife for the road. In any case, it showed a little more
humanness in the person than I had heretofore witnessed among the conference staff.
The day finished with an excellent presentation on HTML 5 and CSS 3 (so excited!) which I found particularly interesting because in a past
life I administered a web page by hand coding all of my HTML and CSS (which you would never be able to tell from looking at my E2 code).
Thanks to ALittleHawk for the Seattle recommendations, I definitely plan on trying the bookstore when I get a chance.