Welcome to Biff's PDC Newsletter, volume 3, issue 1. For those that haven't met me, I'm a six year Plural veteran out of the DC Office who specializes in managing Enterprise C++/COM projects. The last few times I've gone to conferences, I've tried to share the experience with people back in the office with daily (at least occasional) emails back home.

There are over 80 people signed up to receive the newsletter this year. Volume 1 (for the Microsoft Technical Summit in 1998) only went out to 14 people, all of whom were personal friends that I had worked directly with. This time, there are lot of people I have never met on the list, including some high level corporate mucky-mucks. At first I figured that I better adopt a more businesslike tone and be a little less silly. Consider if everyone on the list is billing $150/hr and spends 1minute reading some nonsense that seemed cute to me late at night in a hotel room it would cost...hmmm...carry the 4....uh...around $200. Then I figured, what the heck, people can read what they want and the delete key is only inches away so I would write just like I did when there was 14 friends on the other end. I just hope I don't come back to the room after a couple drinks at dinner and pull a Jerry Maguire.

The theme of the conference (which officially begins tomorrow) is Microsoft's new .NET initiative. This is the new name for Microsoft's Next Generation Windows Services initiative. The general idea is a whole new architecture for web applications that gives the developer the ability to do many things that are currently difficult or impossible. Microsoft would like this accomplished, of course, with Microsoft software on the server and client machines. The official name of the conference is "The Defining Point", although I heard that Steve Ballmer wanted to call it the "To heck with Janet Reno" conference. Wednesday's keynote will also be available as a webcast (I'm not sure if it will be live or not). Be sure to tune in and listen - at 10 minutes into the speech I hope to gather a large group of Plural attendees together in the audience and shout out "Plural Rules" at the top of our lungs so we can get heard on the web.

The key question upon registration for a conference is usually, "what free stuff do we get?" For the PDC this year, we got a strange bag that is kind of like a knapsack with only one shoulder strap. Inside were the standard free issues of various trade magazines, a T-shirt and baseball cap. Additional highlights included-

  • Three preview chapters from Jeff Richter's upcoming book on .NET
  • A mini MSDN magazine on .NET
  • A C# introduction book called Presenting C#
  • A WROX book previewing ASP+ (I don't know what this is, but will find out and share more about it this later in the week)
  • BizTalk Server demo

Be sure track down someone in your office that went the PDC if you want to get a look at one of the freebies.

Anyway, enough already, tomorrow's email will have a little more technology in it, I promise.


PS - Don't worry, we're not really going to shout out during Bill's speech - although we might get on camera when 6 of the male attendees strip off our shirts and have PLURAL written across our chests.