March 2010 - Posts

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This past weekend I got to fly to Denver and present at the Rocky Mountain Tech Trifecta v2.  It was a lot of fun!  I can see why people get addicted to code camp!

My presentation was on Silverlight 4 and some of the new features in this release.  There were so many new features that I couldn't possibly cover them all, but I did hit quite a few.

Here is the screen cast.

I got to Denver in on Friday afternoon and rented a car.  The car rental place was a mistake…I could see that from almost the get-go.  I saw a shuttle for every other rental care place before I saw one for E-Z Rent-a-car.  I waited only about 20 min’s and I was on my way there.  When I got there, I passed big shiny car lots, and then at the end of the big long line was a run-down looking building where my car was waiting!  Yay!  Good thing I found a place that was $5 cheaper than the rest.  Undeterred – I’ll do almost anything for a good deal – I went in and got my car.  It felt more like a used car dealer than a rental car place.  The guy at the counter said that I should note any damage on a piece of paper and then he ripped it off and took the half they keep so I didn’t really get a chance to inspect the car. There seemed to be a lot of pressure to buy the rental insurance (even though your insurance carrier covers you for liability).

The car had other problems too.  It was, by my reckoning, a couple of years old and was in pretty good condition for that age, but the dash board said that there was a tire pressure gauge fault and I couldn't see my mileage or trip meter.  That is really useful when you’re following directions that have a mileage.  It also made some pretty ugly noises at freeway speeds.  This was not the last of the car issues, but more on that later.

I stayed at the Comfort Inn about 10 miles from down town.  It was pretty nice.  It was a bit on the small side, the desk chair was uncomfortable, but the bed was VERY comfortable and the bedding was very clean and fresh. 

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One funny thing was the flagpole outside my window.  Check this out!

IMG_0199[1] Notice a flag missing?  Notice that thing in the tree?  That’s right.  The flag for the great state of Colorado is stuck in a tree!  I also had bunnies outside of my window so it wasn’t all bad.

There was a party the night before the event for the presenters.  it was lots of fun!


The Tech Trifecta is huge!  Almost 4 times as large at the Utah Code Camp.  It was a bit annoying that there wasn’t enough room for the Silverlight birds of a feather and there wasn’t enough room in the keynote.  The only other complaint I had was that it seemed like Session 4 had a bunch of the Microsoft technologies bunched together so you had to pick and choose between ones that you only kind of wanted to see for earlier sessions and between ones you really wanted to see on the later ones.

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Right after I finished my presentation I had to head to the airport.  The rental car place will charge you $5 per gal of gas so you need to bring it in full!  I figured I would take an exit or two before the airport and fill it up there.  I took the exit before the airport and drove over 10 miles before I saw a gas station!  No Kidding!  I was starting to think that maybe cars in Denver were powered by batteries or something!  Needless to say it was an unplanned detour that added 20 min’s to my trip to the airport.  It was only then that I saw there was a gas station right next to the airport.  Live & Learn!

Here is where things get really fun!  I returned the car to the rental place where they inspected the car post haste.  The lady handed me the inspection slip and I went inside.  That's where I was told that somehow I must have scratched the rear bumper!  I was VERY ANGRY!!  There was no way that I damaged that car even a little bit!  I guess that's what you get when you don’t buy the all-but-mandatory insurance.  It took me another 20 min’s to put up enough of a fight that they waved the damage charges.  I now had less than 1 hour to get to the airport.  The shuttle driver sure took his sweet time and then dropped me off in the wrong wing.

I go to check in with Delta and it wouldn't let me check in (because my flight was within 45 min’s) so I had to wait at the ticket counter.  The lady was going to reschedule my flight as it was leaving in just 30 min’s and I was departing from the C-gate.  She eventually agreed to give me the boarding pass and told me to RUN to the gate.  The rest of the passengers had already boarded.  I ran to get through security and picked the shortest of the 6 screening lines.  It wasn’t really one of those thing where you could jump to a different lines.  The person in front of me took EVERYTHING for carry on including a cheesecake!  Apparently it’s impossible to tell the difference between cheesecake and explosives?  Yum, C4 with graham cracker crust and cream cheese frosting.  After getting through security I only had 10 min’s to make it to the C-gate.  I hopped on the tram, got to the C-gate, and they plan took off almost immediately after I boarded!












I hope to be able to go next year but perhaps I’ll drive up instead.