Sights and Sounds of MIX09

I was coming out of a doze on the plane from Dallas to Las Vegas and the man next to me with a perfect good ol’ boy Texas drawl said to his friend: “My money has a better time in Vegas than I do; it stays and I have to leave!”

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Las Vegas, despite its hotels’ mimicry of Paris, New York, and Venice, is a place like no other on Earth . MIX is of course a conference like no other, so the combo is unstoppably surreal. The hotel room card keys mention Azure Services … and you guessed it….they are blue card keys.

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Monday, the first night I was here I managed to run into Scott Hanselman and walk around  these Italian plazas under what seemed like a blue summer sky – yet I knew it was about 9:30 at night. Seemingly all night and all day the gondolas are taking tourists around the Venetian Hotel….

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Tuesday things started hopping, with folks flowing into the registration booths and trying out the Microsoft Surface units inside the 3rd Place, a large lounge with snacks and couches and good conversation.

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I watched Jeff Atwood and Joel Spolsky of Stack Overflow  setup for their podcast. From duct-taping the equipment by Jeff….to attempts to get Joel to relax….

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..to  the sound check where I tried to confuse them by waving my arms a lot. That’s Joel below giving me The Look.

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I thought I’d have to miss  the actual recording, but  the nerd dinner with Scott Hanselman (of course at a Chipotle’s) broke up in time for me to catch the end of the show…

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which will be posted on http://blog.stackoverflow.com/ when they are done processing it.

Today, the first keynote day, was a mob scene. Imagine thousands of people murmuring for coffee  and code all at once, and you get the idea. :)

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As first speaker, Bill Buxton fairly danced back and forth across the stage, gesturing to make his point about the need for great design (and design firms) during bad economic times. The similarity between vanity Kodaks in the late 1920’s and the colors of the Apple ipods was eerie and comforting in affirming the timelessness of smart design decisions.  Developers too should learn design, he said, because it keeps you from coding unnecessary features.

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With Scott Guthrie, Silverlight was clearly the star of day one, though we had our own Live Search part of that story. What they haven’t told you in the official post is the Disco Scott Guthrie part of the keynote:

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Mostly however  we saw Scott wearing his traditional red shirt .

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And in a kind of podcast deja vu all over again, we got to see Joel Spolsky and Jeff Atwood of Stack Overflow talk about how they built search engine optimization, reputation, and community-love type features into stackoverflow.com, a startup that is part of the Microsoft BizSpark program (extremely low cost way to get your business going on Microsoft tech).

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Admittedly I have left out people – there were many – whom Scott introduced that did a lot of great demos related to the new advances in Silverlight, and the developer tools covered on the http://2009.visitmix.com site. I’m also teasing you out there on the Internets– there’s more good stuff to come by other people about MIX09 and you can download some great tools here

….but I have to get on a plane for home and get some actual work done shortly. :)

To get the continuing story of MIX09, please keep watching this blog space!

Betsy Aoki,  Program Manager, Live Search

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