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We asked Mike Hall, who works on the Windows Embedded team in Redmond. "If Windows Embedded was a sandwich, what sort of sandwich would it be?"
Richard Costall
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NxtGenUG Article
Richard Costall Sunday, December 03, 2006
Richard gives his view of DDD4 - Mince pies with Brandy Butter, Grok talks, and Cabbages as Swag! What could be going on?
The Article 
Yesterday was DDD4, and this community event just seems to get better and better.

DDD, or DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper, is run by the community, with speakers and sessions being picked by the community. The fact it also happens on a Saturday makes it accessible to developers without taking holiday from work. Saturday also means you have to 'want' to be there, and the result is over 300 enthusiastic developers and a great day.

DDD attendees arrive
The delgates start to arrive

Dave kicked of the track in Memphis with his excellent SQL/XML talk, Guy Smith Ferrier was covering MSBuild in Chicago2 and Ben Lamb had an interesting session on "How to write crap code in c#".

AT lunchtime DDD tried something new in "Grok talks". The purpose of these is to present a 10 minute presentation on, something cool, in a very relaxed atmosphere. I was slightly concerned that, being at luncthime, nobody would turn up - but I couldn't have been more wrong. 60+ people all sitting on the floor, munching on sandwiches, listening to John Price talking about media centre markup language - the atmosphere was electric, or a Benjamin Mitchell would say - it was smoking. Well done John - great presentation!

I was on next and demonstrated, something I think is really cool in Vista - speech recognition, but instead of a live demo I thought i'd try something new.I recorded a video of myself and 'talked' to myself over the video "hey, Rich" - "oh hi Rich, How you doing". The demo fitted in exactly 10 minutes and went down a treat - "no Way", "wow", were the comments, culminating in a big round of applause for my Hello World application created in speech alone - we also had a great laugh along the way - It was one of the most enjoyable presentations i've done.

I had some great feedback after my session, and that's what it's all about - it was buzzing.

I then had to head of to the Everest suite in building four for Dave McMahon and my session on "TechED review and Quiz". We wanted to do something different this time and I think we achieved it. Anybody who remembers Crackerjack (Crackerjack) from the television, will relate to taking people from the audience and loading them up with swag until the drop something. The questions came in the form of interviews with TechED speakers, such as Ingo Rammer, Anders Heljsberg, Jeffrey Snover and Mike Hall.

The curious arrive
The curious arrive for our session

For example we asked Mike Hall, who works on the Windows Embedded team in Redmond. "If Windows Embedded was a sandwich, what sort of sandwich would it be?". We also asked Anders "what is your favourite VB.NET keyword?

If the (4) contestants got the question correct, they won good swag, if they got it wrong the won the good swag plus some rubbish swag - including real Cabbages!. If they dropped something they were out. The competition ended with a guess how much excess baggage Dave had when we came back from TechED, which I can now reveal as a massive 17KG (pure swag). Here is the list of good swag which each contestant left with:

Speaker Shirt
Umbrella
USB Drive
Channel9 Guy
Teddy
K2Net Cap
Teched Developer Tshirt
Bag or Signed Shirt
Expression CD Beta 1
We also had tonnes (or 17 KG) of bad swag, loads of pens, inflatable Microphones, Mints, stress balls... etc etc..

Congratulations to Dave Hearn who won the tie break question and walked away with Uber-Swag : An MSDN Universal Subscription!!!!

Well done to the other contestants, inparticular Patrick who, was laiden with swag and was the real star of the show. We did say our session would not have much content, and that was the case - but everybody had a great laugh.

Cabbage Swag!
Patrick and Andrew - at the halfway point in the show

comment of the day was from Mike Taulty "Oh no, they have got Cabbages!"

We also did two interviews with the four chaps from Blighty - Two? Yes Two, Guy Smith-Ferrier didn't press record on the first one - Watch out for a new group forming - "The three chaps from Blighty". Mark Johnson also interviewed Dave and I for Channel9 so watch for that one too soon.

Thanks to the organisers, especially Craig Murphy, Ian Cooper, Jonathon for the web site, Zi for Grok talks and the geek dinner, the room monitors and, of course, Microsoft for providing the venue, excellent food; including Mince Pies and Cream/Brandy butter, Sausage and Egg cobs and Sandwiches and crisps at lunchtime.

What's happening here?
Sarah Blow and Barry Dorrans doing... err...

DDD just seems to get better and better, how we beat this one, well plans are afoot, but it's going to be tough - Here's looking forward to DDD5! some good news is Phil Winstanley has announced WebDD - a web focused DDD, and if Phil's behind it - it's going to be good so keep your eyes peeled for more details on that one.

About Richard
Richard Costall (MVP, MCSD.NET) has over 22 years development experience and works for 1st Software, a Microsoft Gold Partner, and the UK's leading software solution for Financial Adviser and Intermediaries, designing and implementing IFA applications in the financial services sector. Previously specializing in VB, XML/XSLT, COM, ASP and MSMQ, Richard now lives and breathes the awesome world of .Net and in particular ASP.NET and Silverlight 2.0. Richard spent 5 1/2 years as the Midlands regional coordinator for VBUG (Visual Basic User Group) before co-founding NxtGenUG, the innovative UK user group for Microsoft Technologies.

Richard has written articles for publications such as ASP.NET Pro and International Developer Magazines and also co-authered the Apress title Professional MSMQ. He speaks a local user groups, Microsoft Conferences/Product launches, TechED Europe and the hugely successful DeveloperDeveloperDeveloper Events.

When not in .Net land, Richard enjoys relaxing at home with his wife and two sons, playing on the XBOX 360 or ultimately jetting off to Walt Disney World, Florida, for a trip on the Tower of Terror.

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