TechEd 2006 - Day 1 - It's alive!

9:49 AM. July 11. 2006.

Remember that date. It’s not only the start of TechEd 2006, but the birth of our very first Bacteria Farm.

Yup, this morning we decided to start up the Bacteria Farm and see what we can grow over the next 5 or 6 days. Of course, creating the cultures were a challenge unto themselves. The instructions were simple and even a child could understand them. Boil some water, create a glucose solution, and seed it with some bacteria.

That was the first problem. In a hotel room, boiling water isn’t that easy. So we started looking around the room for stuff we could do. After all, they provided us with water (at $4.50 a bottle) so that was taken care of. The problem was boiling it, as the hotel doesn’t regularily provide it’s guests with hot plates or kettles (some kind of fire regulation thing).

We started looking around to room to build a make-shift cultivator. We had a steam iron and ironing board. We had glasses. We had water. Now we’re talking.

It was all very MacGuyver like which was cool and made me want to create an explosive device out of left over computer parts (or a birth control device out of a MP3 player and a toaster). The problem is that it would have taken about 3000 years to get up enough boiled water in order to mix the glucose together. In the end we just used the hot water from the tap which was pretty hot. Yeah, not entirely scientific but it’s not like we’re growing ebola here (well, time will tell).

The bacteria is alive!

Next was the actual mixture. Being the typical developers we are, we didn’t RTFM so we tossed a small packet of glucose mixture (btw, this would have never got past the dogs at the airport) into a small glass of hot water. It seemed to turn out thick. Very thick. Thicker than the Boston accent here. After realizing that we were only supposed to use 1/4 of the packet, the water began to flow. And flow. And flow. And flow.

About a half hour later, we had some kind of base that we could add bacteria to. It’s been about 4 hours since creating the base so now I’ve added the actual bacteria to the petri dishes, as per the very helpful instructions. They say to go find bacteria in various places like dog fur and sheeps bladders, however I just don’t have any of those in Boston (if anyone knows of a handy place to get sheeps bladders let me know). So I filled the dishes with various things around the room. Here’s the rundown on our Bacteria Farm:

  • Petri 1 (top left) – My mouth
  • Petri 2 (top right) – My left shoe after walking around TechEd and Boston Harbor all day (and some kind of goo that I wiped off of Hanselman)
  • Petri 3 (middle) – The base of the toilet at the Lenox
  • Petri 4 (bottom left) – Inside the sink drain at the Lenox
  • Petri 5 (bottom right) – The window sill outside our room at the Lenox

God. So much news to report and so little time (in a very Willy Wonka like fashion). Scoble is leaving Microsoft which is being touted as the biggest mistake Microsoft made (although some wonder if he did anything to improve it). I had dinner with John Lam, Scott Hanselman, Bill Evjen, and others and we talked about everything (mostly the type of planes that were roaring over our heads). John has put the Ruby seed in my head (curse you John!) and I’m going to give it a shot. Who knows? Ruby? SharePoint? Might make for an interesting (and perhaps powerful) combo.

Scott and Bill

The morning was spent at an MVP Event with our good friend Sean O’Drisco (the head of the MVP program) and just talking about the evolution of things. Fun and informative. Again it was great seeing new and old MVPs and I got a chance to talk to the InfoPath guy (sorry, can’t remember your name) and how SharePoint 2007 and InfoPath were going to rule the world. I’ll pass on a great tip later after I check it out in my VM which he told me about.

Sean gives us the business

A brief lunch, and I headed off to register at the event and get some orientation for tommorow. I’m spending the majority of TechEd at the Office Technical Learning Center. This is like an uber Ask the Experts booth, but with Hands on Labs, chalk talks, white boards, comfy couches, and small (20–25 people) theatre presentations. All great stuff and I hope to demo and talk about lots of 2007 stuff. Drop by and say hi if you’re down here as I’ll be pimping the MS warez with AC, Woody, and others.

Technical Learning Center

I’ll be back later with news from the floor on TechEd and what’s going on, TechEd swag (or is it schwag? what’s the official term?), and other goodies. I’ll also be posting my TechEd schedule, my BOF session on Thursday, and whatever else I can spit out between now and tommorow.

Nothing like living vicariously through a silly MVP at TechEd huh?

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