A week in Seattle – Part 2

In yesterday’s post, I went into some of the daytime adventures from my trip to Seattle, so today I figured I’d focus on some of the ancillary events and things I didn’t have time to cover yesterday. Since this was a Microsoft event, most of our evenings were booked with networking opportunities with fellow employees. To facilitate conversation, copious amounts of food and alcohol were provided. More on that later, though since we did have two free nights to fend for ourselves, we decided to take advantage of a few great restaurants in downtown Seattle.

IMG_3281Outside the Brooklyn Seafood-Steak House

Being on Puget Sound, Seattle is host to a lot of excellent seafood. In years past, we’d always had dinner one night at the Brooklyn Seafood-Steak House on the corner of 2nd and University. Even though we were thinking of doing something different this year, we eventually found our way back on Monday evening. If you happen to be in Seattle and have a little money to spend on dinner (about $50 with wine and dessert), I would highly recommend checking out this little place. This year, I decided to have the Wild Alaskan Salmon and a cup of Clam Chowder. Unfortunately, I’d forgotten to take a picture of dinner since it looked so delicious and dug right in… I did manage to restrain myself on dessert and grabbed a quick shot before it all disappeared.

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A week in Seattle – Part 1

IMG_3226

Last week, I had the privilege of attending TechReady, a bi-yearly, Microsoft-only, technical training conference. In all, thousands upon thousands of content was prepared and delivered, from recently finished products like Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 R2, to future products like Office 2010 and Windows Mobile 6.5, to ********* (sorry, can’t talk about that one!) 😉

In addition to the technical components, it was also a great chance to network with some fellow employees. Most of this was done, of course, over some good food and drink. Most of the technical details are pretty boring, so here’s a quick summary:

  • Windows 7 has been stripped down to perform better and be even more secure than Vista was; most of the tweaks under the hood served to improve abilities for a broad range of users
  • Windows Server 2008 R2 features a host of improvements focusing on helping customers get the best out of their investment
    • Branch Caching and DirectAccess will prove to be invaluable for enabling the mobile workforce to be more productive, while at the same time allowing administrators to manage and monitor those machines
    • Hyper-v R2 adds a plethora of features to go head to head with VMWare, including Live Migration (complete with migrating across different generations of CPUs), increased scalability (up to 64 logical processors), and improved virtual network performance
  • Office 2010 and SharePoint 2010 are being built to enable better live collaboration across the PC and web platforms while Office gets some significant UI tweaks to improve on the ribbon
  • Bing.com will continue to be improved and implemented, be sure to look for continues releases over the coming year. Some changes will be significant, but unfortunately I’m not able to talk about them. 😦 Nonetheless, I saw some preproduction demos and they’re really cool!

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There be dragon (boats)!

Competition in full swing

Last weekend marked the 4th annual Charlotte Dragonboat and Asian Festival. I made the decision to attend and support the Microsoft team in the pursuit of a medal position. There are typically several good showings at this event, including a few teams from outside of the area that ramp up the level of competition. Unfortunately, this never bodes well for those teams that are just good enough to make the top bracket and end up fighting for the consolation prizes.

Being that several of my co-workers were involved on the team this year, I decided to go along for the whole day. This meant waking up much earlier than usual and heading up to the lake for the 7am registration time. Since it is about a 30-45 minute drive, this meant I was up at about 5:30am.

CAUTION: this is probably one of the most graphically intensive posts I’ve done. More after the break!

Continue reading “There be dragon (boats)!”