Tags: #ANGRYLABMENTOR, convention, Hands-On Labs, harry potter, hyper v, msteched, office 365, orlando, powershell, SQL Server 2012, System Center 2012, TechEd, Visual Studio 2012, Windows 8, windows azure, Windows Server 2012
That’s right. Despite being held in Orlando just steps away from the magical world of Disney, the real magic of Microsoft TechEd 2012 was actually found in the hands-on-lab, or HOL for the uninitiated. No, it’s not because I was there helping a lost traveler or two through Microsoft land. It’s because that is where attendees could play with the latest and greatest technologies, whether it involves OLAP cubes, unit testing or GPO policies. Technologies featured at this year’s lab included Visual Studio 2012, SQL Server 2012, System Center 2012, Windows Server 2012 (including Hyper V), Office 365, Windows 8 and of course, Windows Azure. You could follow the tasks in the labs or use the virtual environment as a sandbox for your own experimentation.
There were more than 150 different labs, but here are a few titles to tickle your techno-fancy:
- Deploying Windows 7 to Bare Metal Systems with Microsoft System Center 2012 Configuration Manager
- Building the Right Software: Generating Storyboards and Collecting Stakeholder Feedback with Visual Studio 2012
- Developing a Microsoft SQL Server 2012 Tabular BI Semantic Model using SQL Server Data Tools
- Microsoft Forefront Online Protection for Exchange (FOPE) with Microsoft Office 365
- Developing Microsoft SharePoint 2010 User Interface with Silverlight in Microsoft Visual Studio 2010
- Configuring Windows Server 2012 Hyper-V Replica
- Sideloading Metro Style Applications in Windows 8
- What’s New in Windows PowerShell 3.0
The labs were open longer than most sessions (7am – 7pm most days).
Unless you are soon to be enjoying TechEd Europe in Amsterdam, you may be regretting all of those wild parties and crowded sessions that kept you out of the labs. No worries. These labs will be up for public consumption within the week and available for at least 2 months!
UPDATE: The HOL are up now for public consumption. Go to you myTechEd Web site and get to playing!
Tags: mcsa, mcse, TechEd, Windows 8
TechEd 2012 Orlando has come and gone. A great time was had by all. Now it’s time to go home and process the volumes of information, and hopefully share some of the highlights with you in the process. Windows 8 is the first one that comes to mind.
Microsoft featured Windows 8 in the keynote presentation. This operating system is a bit different from previous versions in that there is a heavily redesigned front-end, and it is designed with touch screens in mind. In fact, they had a DJ use a virtual mixing board using the Windows 8 platform to lay down a beat or two.
While the DJ demonstration did not really give me a clear sense of what Windows 8 can do beyond tablet integration, I will say the President of the Server Business at Microsoft gave a great overview of the future of Windows Server 2012. The keynote speeches gave attendees a quick look at the new operating systems and products and were a great kickoff to the week. You can view video recaps of the keynote speeches in the comfort of your own home: http://northamerica.msteched.com/#fbid=jT4iGRg006A
Another TechEd favorite are the hands-on labs. These labs are, hands down, the most popular part of the program. If you could find an empty seat, then you could play around with the latest technology. My technology of choice this year was Server 2012, Windows 8, and SQL Server 2012.
Microsoft offered discounts on existing exams and the opportunity to take beta exams for attendees. There was a Prometric test center where you could take your exams. According to Prometric, the 70-246: Monitoring and Operating a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 and 70-247: Configuring and Deploying a Private Cloud with System Center 2012 exams were the most popular exams taken at TechEd.
I took the 70-687 Configuring Windows 8 and the 70-410 Installing and Configuring Windows Server 2012 beta exams. In past years, the test center was isolated and the whole exam process was effortless and very, very quiet. Not so much this year. The testing computers had some hardware issues, and the test center was about as quiet as a Widespread Panic concert on New Year’s Eve. Having said that, I’m sure the noise level was mostly due to the fact that people (read: fellow geeks) were very, very worked up about the new MCSE and MCSA certifications.
Which brings me to the newly announced certification tracks. Our good friends at TrainSignal Training filmed two great short clips of Don Field, Sr. Director of Product Management at Microsoft Learning, talking about the new MCSA and MCSE certifications as they relate to the new Windows Server 2012. Be sure to check these out if you missed the discussions at TechEd:
The workshop sessions for Server 2012 were also very popular. It seemed that every Server 2012 and System Center 2012 session that I attended jammed about 1,000 people into a space that should only hold 750. The SQL Server 2012 sessions were especially well attended, particularly those for the Business Intelligence tracks. Several of these great sessions are available online, so I recommend that you watch them while you can:
You can find the complete list of TechEd videos here on Channel 9.
Two years ago at TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, Microsoft made a big push for the Windows Phone. They gave out hats, shirts and had lots of presentations featuring the phone and its technology. Fast forward to TechEd 2012. I saw a lot of attendees carrying iPhones and I did not feel a lot of buzz for the Windows Phone. This year Microsoft gave out Windows Phone visors instead of hats. Where are all the Windows Phone fans?! I missed all that Windows Phone love!
There were a zillion (UN-official count by me as I walked the expo floor) people at TechEd this year. The show actually sold out which was surprising considering the stagnant economy. Here are some other interesting facts about TechEd:
- Breakfast is prepared by 90 chefs and they serve 40,000 slices of bacon.
- An attendee at TechEd will walk close to 30 miles over the duration of the conference. The Orlando Convention Center is a pretty big place.
- You need to visit a vendor’s booth and ask where the after-party is. Apparently there are after-parties that require an invitation from the vendor to get in to. They are for great for networking and meeting new contacts.
If you didn’t see me jammed into the last seat in the back row of that SQL Server 2012 session, maybe you caught me at the Transcender booth. I love working a trade show booth. You get to visit with customers and hear feedback about your product. I hope you had the chance to stop by and say Hello. We gave away lots of swag, talked to plenty of friendly faces, and noted every last one of your requests for the new Server 2012, SQL Server 2012, and Windows 8 practice tests. I can assure you: we are definitely working on this.
After a long, long, long week, the Transcender gang hit Universal Studios for a chance to mingle with the conference attendees and various other characters.
The week was a lot of fun, but now it’s back to work.
(Of course, even if you weren’t among the elite attendees of TechEd, you can still run a pre-release copy of the new operating systems from their Springboard series. You just have to do the hard work of installation yourself, and no one will serve you bacon while you do it.)
Until next time,
Tags: 2012 skills, Android, Blackberry, Canvas 3D, Developer skills, HTML5, iPhone, jQuery, jQuery mobile, Kinect, linux+, mobile, NoSQL, OData, phonegap, phonegapbuild, porting, python, Red Foundry, RESTful, Sencha, TechRepublic, Typeface.js, unit testing, Windows 8
Did I get your attention? I hope so, but let’s be honest: it’s been the Year of the Developer since 1954. As wonderful as it is to have the latest gadget goodness in your hand, without developers, that gadget does a whole lot of nothing. Arguably, the adoption of shiny devices and powerful operating systems is directly proportional to the software that runs on it.
But I do have a more salient point beyond giving the developer community a pat on the back.
Development in 2012
What does the future look like? Better yet, which skills should you focus on in the upcoming year? Justin at TechRepublic actually beat me to the punch on this one, so rather than rehash the whole article, I’ll just throw in my two cents.
This one should be fairly obvious. What isn’t so obvious is how fragmented the mobile field really is. An iPhone, Android, and Blackberry device all do very similar things and contain very similar components and UIs, but the back-end development for these platforms is entirely different. Let’s not even discuss the form factor differences between these smartphones and their tablet cousins.
I predict the ascendance of uniform development kits like Red Foundry and PhoneGap/PhoneGapBuild to level the playing field. PhoneGap, in particular, leverages Web development skills such as jQuery and HTML5.