Well, the first full day at the MVP conference is finally at a close. I have to say this program is VERY cool. One thing I figured out today is that like any other group that comes from the general population you have a share of ALL types of personalities in the Windows Server MVPs.
Today started out with a keynote talking about the general future of Windows Server technology through the next version or so along with a few hands on demos showing the new stuff actually working. To give you an idea of how cool these demos were (and remember we are talking geeks though) the presenters had people cheering, no I mean it, literally cheering.
After the main keynote we (Brian and I) slipped into a couple of specific sessions going over the future of things like SUS, Directory Services, MS Clustering, and automated user and error feedback, etc, etc. The technologies and features shown were very cool and I would tell you all about them but “If I told ya, I’d have to kill ya”. Well, maybe not death for you, but after 20 pages of NDAs my lawyer would send his kids to college on my fees.
One thing I have to say is how VERY cool this program is. I mean besides MS flipping the bill for our rooms, food, free conference stuff and free Windows Server jackets we got to not only look at new technology but were begged for our feedback and suggestions. Within a few hours time this morning I had already met with two people from the Terminal Services product team, talked about and saw some future features, and was being told that we (MVPs) would be given the ability to have internal MS e-mail accounts that would allow us to interact with the developers and support people in their internal lists. I mean HOW COOL IS THIS?!
Ok, back to the personality thing. The first thing we saw was that all of the SBS guys grouped together like a school of mackerel. These guys seemed to love to pontificate (in the middle of a session and to the whole crowd) about their interaction with MS PSS and product teams and how on one weekend they saved the world from certain destruction by releasing a work around for a bad CA that effected SharePoint services on SBS in the course of 4 short days. WOW! I mean these guys think that a 3 server environment is big. Needless to say I was happy to see them go off into their own sessions.
The next interesting thing we noticed was how certain MVPs wanted to do nothing but brow beat the presenters so they got noticed. One guy in particular continued to ask the SUS guys why they didn’t offer this, or that, why they used a web interface instead of an MMC, or why weren’t they more like Norton, or whatever. It got so bad that when he opened his mouth one time a collective sigh went up from the entire room since he was waiting all of our time. I mean here is some guy talking and acting angry at the people flipping the bill and questioning a product they are trying to give away for free with questions that were irrelevant. Now this wasn’t so bad by itself. What was bad was how in the next session (a session on clustering) he waited until the end and started asking the program manager of clustering why MS didn’t have an ISCSI target?... Huh. Then he started pontificating (there was a lot of that) about how MS should make their storage server an ISCSI target and then he could not use the Clustering MNS technology and instead use regular clustering with ISCSI over a WAN! Completely ridiculous and had nothing to do with anything, but he just kept badgering these two guys with questions they can’t answer (because he had no logic). I was so frustrated I was leaving the room and told him (and everyone else it seems) that it didn’t matter because unless he had a 100MB WAN link that was not utilized very much you wouldn’t even TRY ISCSI because its crazy. I then stormed out like the baby that I am. Well maybe not stormed, but he shot me dirty looks later that night at dinner and a couple of others thought I was the bomb so I think I made my point.
Finally on the personality side of things; I think I can now say I have seen it all. So there we were in the clustering session I mentioned before, listening to the product manager talk about DR scenarios and geographically separated clusters etc etc when I notice an older lady sitting a couple of rows up. Actually Brian noticed her and when he pointed her out I almost fell out of my chair. Brian pokes me and says something like “Is that a Server MVP?” As I look up I notice an older woman (probably in her 60’s) with gray/white hair sitting straight up in her seat and knitting. That’s right knitting. Right there in the clustering session she was making a sweater for her French poodle or something. I almost died. But I guess it takes all kinds and really shows that it is possible to teach my grandpa to use his e-mail and stop forwarding me every message he gets.