26 June 2007 in Events & Microsoft & Mindscape | Comments (1)

Today is day two of Remix so lets recap what has happened so far. Yesterday was my first presentation which I felt went pretty well and I got some good questions at the end of the session. There seems to much more interest in developing Web Parts with .NET 2.0 so most of the questions revolved around that. Thanks to everyone that came to that.

The evening brought about WebJam at Galactic circus. This was a fun event more for meeting people and I got the opportunity to meet and talk with Nick Hodge. Nick’s business card reads “Professional Geek” which was quite cool, apparently a lot of work had to be done to get Microsoft to print a card with a title like that.

WebJam was fun and the time at Galactic Circus wasn’t too bad although it didn’t take too long for most people like myself to jet off to the Casino and to explore. Clock up another $10 lost at the Casino last night. Stayed out until about 12ish but sadly decided to be responsible given I had another presentation to deliver today.

The presentation went off without a hitch and I think that people all picked up something new from it. The WatiN content seemed to be the most popular, I’ll have to demonstrate it as a user group session sometime (I did for Christchurch but not in Wellington yet). The audience for this session was also very good, had quite a few questions and people come and ask me things at the end – always a good sign.

So now the event is winding down and I think it’s been great. I’ve had the opportunity to meet with quite a few Microsoft folk that I know only from their blogs which has been great. People overall seemed to enjoy the event and the sessions. The event has certainly be a success and I hope the feedback shows that. Hopefully they’ll let me back for Remix next year :)

Tonight is one more dinner with some of the speakers and then I’m free to explore until about 6pm tomorrow when I fly back to Wellington :)

– JD

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 213 user reviews.

25 June 2007 in Events & Microsoft & Mindscape | Comments (0)

This morning is the first official day of Remix and we’ve just completed the key note and first round of sessions. The content presented so far has been top notch and certainly things are looking bright for UX in the Microsoft space based on what I’ve seen.

The keynote was enjoyable, good spread of speakers showing what has been done with Silverlight and Brian Goldfarb seems more than comfortable with himself when speaking and did a good job of holding audience attention. I stayed for the following session by Lee Brimelow from Frog Design and while his content wasn’t overly technical (this is a dev & design conference mind you :) ) his presentation style was relaxed and his candour was much appreciated. He’s the guy behind sites such as which I’ve always enjoyed.

My first presentation isn’t until later today (around 3:15 Melbourne time) so I’m just waiting for that to roll up. I’ve been talking with a few people here and it seems many people are quite positive about how things are going. Everyone attending is getting a free copy of Expression Web that is valued at considerably more than the admission price so there is no surprise that I’ve spoken to a couple of people who are only attending a couple of sessions but otherwise are collecting the giveaway only. That’s a bit of a shame because it seems quite short sighted given the quality of the content and the speakers taking part. I wonder if perhaps rather than announcing the giveaway beforehand if it might be better to just mention it in the keynote? That would ensure people come from content and then get a nice surprise.

Overall there is approximately 300 people attending Remix and it seems to be a good size as the audiences aren’t too intimidated to speak up and ask questions. Always nice to interact and feel a good vibe rather than you’re just talking at people for an hour. The mix based on a straw poll at the keynote showed about an 80/20 mix for developers to designers. Microsoft and trying to get into that designer market and my feel is that those sort of numbers aren’t too bad for the first event of this type that they have put on.

Last night there was a speaker’s dinner at The Brasserie in the Crown Casino which was enjoyable – I far prefer chatting over a meal with people than feeling like you’re hijacking them after an event. The food was nice although I’ve decided I don’t like chicken heart all that much which was part of my entree :) The location was nice however I never did work out where the huge fireballs that kept exploding outside the window were coming from!

In terms of Casino losses, clock up another $4… not sure why I keep having that figure so low, clearly I’m not going to find myself in the high rollers room on this trip :)

– JD

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 based on 248 user reviews.

24 June 2007 in Events & Microsoft & Mindscape | Comments (2)

Today we kicked off the rehearsals for Remix that’s happening here in Melbourne on Monday and Tuesday. The event so far is shaping up really well, I’ve had a chance to meet with some of the other speakers and the content so far looks to be right up there.

Yesterday I had to depart from Wellington at 6am as it was the only direct flight and arrived in Melbourne at about 8:30am local time. This is my first time visiting Melbourne but I’d heard more than a few stories about it from Lena as she grew up here. It was nice being able to see the places she has spoken about and see exactly why she loves the place. I met up with a friend who guided me around for most of the day which was great – I got to see far more places than I would have stumbled onto myself. I can really see why so many people rave about this city and it makes sense, given the strong culture here, that Microsoft selected the city to hold a conference about bringing design and code together to create beautiful systems (yeah, I bet you were wondering how I could pull my rave about Melbourne back to Remix ;) )

Managed to make my way to the Casino yesterday but only for about 30 minutes (so no attempt at poker) and walked out about 4 dollars worse off, not too bad. Tonight is a speaker’s dinner so perhaps I’ll be able to convince some folks to lose some money with me at the tables.

Today the rehearsals have gone well and all the technology seems to work. Touch wood it works again tomorrow and Tuesday though! I really can’t wait to get on with the conference and meet the attendees – I always enjoy that the most. Especially after they’ve seen me speak and want to ask some questions. So if you’re reading this and attending then mention this post and I’ll shout you a drink :) ) hopefully this offer will result in some great nights out drinking.

Anyway, I’d better get back to it,

– JD

Average Rating: 5 out of 5 based on 179 user reviews.

16 May 2007 in Business & Events | Comments (2)

This evening I went along to the Unlimited Potential (UP) event entitiled “Angels & Demons” which informed people about various financing options that are available for new (and not so new) businesses. I’ve been to several UP events before this one but I can say with certainty this was one of my favourites. The format was great, I always enjoy it when there are several speakers talking for a short period of time, perhaps I’m too easily distracted but it just keeps me interested.

By far a huge value of these types of events is the networking afterwards. It’s very enjoyable chatting with people about what they’re up to as well as catching up with old contacts and seeing how their businesses are growing. I always leave inspired and amping to take things up a level.

At one part of the evening I was somewhat shocked in myself when I found myself talking with Andrew Mayfield (from Spikefin). How is it that it took an event like this for me to actually engage with somebody that has his office about 15 paces from mine? It was a bit of an eye opener to needing to add an extra element of networking to my day to day business activities.

The presentations were also useful – informative, amusing in parts and genuinely interesting content. All the presenters delivered well and I’d strongly encourage any other ITC professionals out there to come along to the next event. It is an asset to Wellington having such a vibrant group of people who have shared interests getting together to meet.

- JD

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 based on 155 user reviews.

10 May 2007 in Events & Microsoft & Mindscape | Comments (0)

Remix 07

I’m really pleased to have been given the opportunity speak at Remix in Melbourne in late June. Clearly Mix07 in the US was pretty huge this year (so huge I’ve not added to the echo chamber about the cool announcements, everyone knows already :) and it’s great to see Microsoft creating an event down under to bring some of that vibe closer to home.

The event has two tracks, a developer and a designer track. It seems this year is all about focusing on bringing those two camps closer (about time I say!) so if you’re a developer you should bring your designer friends along with you. I’m delivering a presentation to each track, one on standards and the other on pushing your applications further.

Seats are limited so I’d strongly urge anybody who is interested to go and sign up. It’s inexpensive for a two day conference and you get a free copy of Expression Web for attending.

Click here to visit the Remix 07 website.

I look forward to seeing you there,

- JD

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 255 user reviews.

23 March 2007 in Events & Mindscape | Comments (5)

Lately I’ve delivered a few presentations as you’ll likely know from my previous posts. I thought I’d write a few thoughts on what I’ve found while doing them. To set the scene for those who haven’t attended my recent talks, the audience size has been between about 150 to 500 people. Quite large by my standards, certainly the largest audiences I’ve spoken in front of.

A few things I’ve learnt from doing these presentations:

  • The first words are the hardest, get them out and you’re fine.
  • When you’re mic’ed up you don’t even notice it after about 3 seconds of speaking, I was a tad concerned about that.
  • The intense nerves you get before speaking are actually good if you can turn them into energy when you speak.
  • Check if you have a “nervous tick”, mine was saying “Good Times” which while amusing to most, I tried to ensure I didn’t say it too often after the first presentation.
  • Make sure you have some water, a dry throat tends to hit you suddenly.
  • Be ready for bright lights, often you can’t see the audience very well because of it (which can be a good thing if you’re nervous).
  • Look around the room, even if you can’t make out the faces you should look like you’re talking to the people.
  • Try to use pictures and less words on your slides, you’re less likely to read the slides to the audience and it’s more interesting to the crowd.
  • Don’t name your last slide consistently as “Call to Action”, the audience learns and reads it as “Pack up” when it’s potentially the most important message of the presentation :)
  • Many more things but I won’t go on :)

One thing I’d also suggest is that you find somebody who has done these types of talks before to work with when you first do them at this size. I was fortunate enough to doing them with Jeremy there as well who I’m pretty sure has done about a million big audience talks. He was really useful for being able to answer any questions I had and for making sure I didn’t let me imagination run away on me about how intimidating the audiences could be (I found the audiences great, I ended up feeling quite relaxed by the end of the presentations). So a big thanks to him.

Now I’m thirsty for some more presentations, that nervousness is like a drug :)

- JD

    Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 based on 189 user reviews.

    23 March 2007 in Events & Microsoft | Comments (0)

    Well it’s been a few days since the technical briefings so I thought it’s a good idea to point out that the TechEd 2007 registrations are now open. Last years event kicked some serious butt and I expect this year will be no different.

    TechEd has been selling out very early each year so I’d suggest you get your registration in asap!

    - JD

    Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 based on 289 user reviews.

    22 March 2007 in .Net & Events & Microsoft & Mindscape | Comments (0)

    Microsoft 2007 Technical Briefings

    Thanks to everyone that came to our presentation on extending the reach of your applications. In a few weeks we will also be making available videos of the three presentations that Mindscape delivered for those wanting to see them again or who could not attend the sessions.

    Here are the links from our presentation:

    Presentation File:

    Demonstration Files:

    I hope everyone that attended this session found it useful, feel free to post feedback or questions.

    - JD

    Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 based on 203 user reviews.