MEC 2002 officially begins today. After attending two of these things, I know enough to bag the morning keynote addresses - the marketing to technology ratio is always dangerously out of whack. There are a few like-minded souls here in the CommNet area, where Microsoft has thoughtfully provided a bunch of net-connected PCs. They must have had complaints about squatters last year - there are no chairs in the CommNet area this year. That might discourage some websurfers, but I'm made from sturdier stock than that.
It's not clear to me if there's any overriding theme to this year's MEC. Two years ago it was all about Active Directory, and last year they were pushing .NET for all its worth. I don't see any clear indications of some Big Thing they want to emphasize.
I'm pleasantly surprised to see that the vendor area is as large as it was in years past. With the economy in the crapper, I was afraid that vendors wouldn't want to spend the big bucks to sponsor a booth and staff it for a week, but that doesn't appear to be the case. I haven't had a chance yet to see if the vendor freebies are as good as they've been before. In some sense, it almost doesn't matter in that the attendees will gladly prostitute themselves for a handout or contest. A common tactic is to make them wear a sticker that advertises some product with the promise that if a vendor rep sees them on the floor with it, they'll get some Fabulous Prize like a T-shirt. It always feels like a radio contest where you have to be the Nth caller to win. Someone must be getting lucky, but all I get is a constant busy signal and the vague feeling that I'm a fool.
First breakout session is in an hour. I'll have more to report tomorrow.Posted by Charles Kuffner on October 08, 2002 to Technology, science, and math