Last week I was busy in Las Vegas at the DevConnections/OpenForce conferences, and unlike that pithy but over-used catch-phrase, what happens at a conference in Vegas should definitely not stay in Vegas but should be blogged (only things during sessions that won’t get anyone in trouble).

It was my first time at DevConnections and I was not disappointed. This was also a first ever OpenForce conference put on by the DotNetNuke corporation and from all appearances, it was quite a success.

Carl Franklin and Rob
Conery Rob Conery and Rick

The first night, as I passed by the hotel bar, I noticed Carl Franklin, well known for .NET Rocks, a podcast on .NET technologies. As I had an appearance on the show, it was nice to finally meet the guy in person.

Also met up with the Flyin’ Hawaiians, Rob Conery (from Kauai) and Rick Strahl (from Maui).

This is a big part of the value and fun in such conferences. The back-channel conversations on various topics that provide new insights you might not have otherwise received.

The next day, I attended the ASP.NET MVC talk given by Scott Hanselman and Eilon Lipton. The talk was well attended for a technology in which there are no CTP bits available yet. There were quite a few who stuck around to ask questions. I also attended their next talk that was part 3 of 3 in a series in which Scott Guthrie gave the first two parts.

Scott and Eilon are like the Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis of conference talks (I won’t say which is which). They play off each other quite well in giving a humorous, but informative, talk.

The best part for me was watching Eilon squirm as a star-struck attendee asked to have her picture taken with him after having done the same with Scott Hanselman. I think we expect this sort of geek-worship with Scott, but Eilon seemed genuinely uncomfortable. She was quite excited to get a pic with the guy who wrote**the UpdatePanel!

An admirer gazes at
Scott An admirer gazes at

One particular experience that was particularly fun for me was that I got to go around the exhibitor floor, camera-man in tow, to interview attendees about their impressions of the conference. Normally such work goes to charismatic and well-spoken guys like Carl Franklin and Scott Hanselman, but both were too busy at the time and Scott pointed the cameraman to me.

I try to remain open to new experiences, even ones that take me out of my comfort zone (I have stage fright). I walked around with a microphone interviewing people and saw that the attendees really love this conference and felt they got a lot out of it. At least the ones willing to talk about it on camera. ;)

When asked what their favorite talk was, a couple attendees mentioned the MVC talk, which was good to hear.

IMG_0818 IMG_0820

While on the floor, they had a drawing in which they gave out a Harley. The winner happened to be a Harley-loving motorcycle rider, so it worked out pretty well.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I participated on two panels for the OpenForce conference on the topic of Open Source. They taped these panels so hopefully the videos will be up soon. I’ll write more about what we discussed later. I need to get some sleep as after leaving Vegas, I flew out the next day to Redmond and it is very late.