My first (bloggers) geek dinner and the sequelae, at Orlando TechEd 2005

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2005/06/07 12:50 -04:00, original URI: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/michkap/archive/2005/06/07/426290.aspx


I have of course had many a dinner with geeks before, but this is the first one I had that was set up in blogs by bloggers. I found it through blogs that I read (the blogs of Josh and Gretchen Ledgard!), and as I scooted over to Bahama Breeze I got to have those initial scary feelings of not knowing the name the table would be under and hoping I would be able to find everyone!

I just told myself if I never did then I would tell everyone I was unable to make it. :-)

But I did find them and it worked out really, really well. It was actually better than the normal set of geek conversations -- it felt like a good balance between geeky topics and social topics for normal human beings (Gretchen confirmed this at the end when she said that the dinner was better than average for that very reason!). We had a bunch of Microsoft people and a few non-MSFTers, and if anyone violated an NDA or a corporate guideline than I did not hear it (though I think someone did point out that people should try to be more responsible in that area than they sometimes are -- maybe that reminded everybody and that's why we were so good!).

And the Ahi was awesome, I highly recommend it!

When it was finally done I headed back towards the hotel and on the way ran into (well, not literally!) Mike Hernandez, who was on his way to the traditional TechEd Jam Session (tm). It sounded exciting, but I decided I should get back. He promised to tell me how it went....

We parted and I made it back to the hotel. And I wondered if I should have gone with Mike. I assumed that I was done for the evening....

But as it turns out the evening was not over!

Back at the Peabody I saw Stephen Forte (whose GrokTalk I will try and see today) and Richard Campbell in the hotel bar and decided to go say hello. There I finally met Kimberly Tripp though it took me a minute to realize who it was since Steve introduced her only as Kim and she kept looking at me like she knew the name but could not place from where. Then when I realized who she was I re-introduced myself -- I am a huge fan of her SQL work. And my Friday talk builds on some very interesting parts of her indexing talk that just happened yesterday and adds how to make sure that international support does not break the plan to provide and use database indexes. :-)

I also finally got to see Scott Hanselman for long enough to have an actual converation and I explained why Invariant was the wrong thing to use in that comparison to fix his Turkish dasBlog bug. I explained about OrdinalIgnoreCase -- what it was like, why it was there, and why he should be using it for his 'identity' comparison case.

I think we are going to have to do more to communicate the New String Guidelines, because he said he read them and was having trouble seeing how it definitely applied (and why Invariant was not good enough). I will talk to people about that when I get back to Redmond -- if Scott does not see it then other, less talented developers will not see it either! And I will answer any questions people have this week in the Dr. International Clinic (the image of the customer lying on a couch while I ask them to tell me about their server's mother is inescapable! Maybe I will try to do an add-on for a GrokTalk!).

Anyway, Scott and I talked about other things concentrially out from there, and we had a Turkish developer (whose name I have misplaced for the moment, sorry!), who talked to us about the Turkish I and both what it was like that it has never worked in the OS and what it was like when it finally started woking in databases an in .NET -- which was a fascinating topic I will talk about more another time. We also talked about other markets like Amharic (he is actually am Amharic speaker!), and Tigrinia. And I told him about the shift in the language policy that made inclusion of languages in Windows much easier to imagine happening in the future (think ELKs, think Longhorn, think all the stuff I have been talking about here). We moved outward to other African languges like Arabic in Morocco (and the hacks they do for their calendar!) and Zulu, and it was a fascinating viewpoint to have a chance to hear about. A great conversation, and I am sure there will be many more, Scott is one of the Smart Guys (tm)!

So then Stephen caught me up on his life and what he has been doing -- a ton of work with developers in emerging markets -- in Africa, in Pakistan, and elsewhere. I realized that if I was not where I was then I might actually want to be where he is, and I'll mention that to him today, just so he knows (and in case I ever need to do that!).

So finally the evening was over, and I had both social and good work-related conversations, talked to colleagues and customers about issues both trivial and important. I walked away with lots of "to do" items and things to think about. And I remembered why I need to be able to go to these conferences from tiame to time -- because important connections seem to happen here a lot more often than I ever would have guessed!


# Matt Gerlach on 7 Jun 2005 11:50 AM:

How is a Geek Dinner?

I wanted to go to one in NYC, where Scoble was having one, but could not make it.

Also, how do you like Bahama Breeze? I was there in March when I went to Junior Nationals Championships (Swimming) at the Orlando YMCA.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 7 Jun 2005 12:50 PM:

I had a wonderful time, but then we had a great group and alcohol. I am sure every one of them is different.

And the food at the dinner was great!

# Stephen Forte on 8 Jun 2005 3:15 PM:

Goksin Bakir is the Turkish dude's name.

# Michael S. Kaplan on 8 Jun 2005 11:38 PM:

Thanks, dude. I remembered his first name later but his full name will make him easier to find.... :-)

referenced by

2013/04/04 You need to dot every İ, not dot any I, dot every i, not dot any ı, and cross every t in Turkish

2007/11/12 Apple 3, Microsoft 0 (aka Sorting Mac and Windows all Out)

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