MS BI Conference 2008 - First Impressions
It has been over a year since I last blogged, but I want to restart with some posts about the BI Conference I am attending this week.
Chris and I flew to Vancouver yesterday and drove down to Seattle in a Camry Hybrid. Sitting in the lineup at the US border for an hour drained the batteries on the Camry so it had to restart the engine to recharge a couple of times, for about 10 minutes each time. Seemed odd to discharge so much battery just sitting in a lineup and moving 10 feet every five minutes. Anyway...the trip display shows that our fuel efficiency was under 8 liters/100km on the trip down. That also seems a little poor compared to my Golf TDI that gets 4.5 liters/100 km regularly.
We registered last night and wandered the Company Store for a bit - saw uber-geek stuff there and we thought of getting something for Cam, our uber-geek on the team at Imaginet. The conference package was predictable: a nice back-pack, a water bottle, a pen, a 2 GB USB stick, a SQL Server magazine, not as many sales brochures as last year, and a conference guidebook.
Last year's guide book was a small coil bound notebook with a section of blank pages at the end for taking notes. This year's edition has the same content - a description of all the sessions and keynotes and speakers, as well as sponsor ads, but it is missing the note-taking section. I really liked that section last year, so today I found myself scribbling notes on loose paper, and running out. I specifically left my (paper) notebook at home because I liked the smaller conference book instead, but now I am going back to the Company Store to buy a small notebook for the rest of the sessions.
The conference is trying to be more environmentally friendly - in the backpack was a water bottle and they encouraged you to refill that at the water stations rather than having bottled water. That's cool. For me, I would have preferred a coffee mug, since I had three cups of coffee over the day (in paper cups, and no plastic lids). In a strange twist, the breakfast and lunch dishes were on paper plates and not the real dishes like last year - one step forward, two steps back I guess. I can't figure it out.
In the main hall before the keynote address, there was an live band playing 80's hits. They were pretty good, but it seemed odd to have a bouncy energetic group on stage at 8:30 on a Monday morning, everyone was filing in and sitting down, morning coffee still just starting to kick in. The bass player was one or two steps beyond bouncy-happy. It reminded me of someone on a Japanese game show.