I’ve been traveling a lot the last month (the main reason why I haven’t posted much). I could tell you some interesting travel stories, but lets just say the airlines tried diligently to thwart my travel plans.
Back in January I began scheduling my ‘WPF – Microsoft’s Magnificent New Graphics Engine” talk with user groups all over the US. Each group I’ve visited has been receptive and curious. The group leaders have been great hosts. It’s been a nice tour so far. Let me tell you about two nights that stand out in my mind.
The night started out wrong for me. I programmed the wrong street into my Hertz rental car ‘NeverLost’ GPS system. I wound up on S. Sam Houston Pkwy E instead of S. Sam Houston Pkwy W. This was about ten miles from where I was suppose to be. When I got to the wrong address I knew something was wrong, all I could see were a couple dusty and drab warehouses. I pulled out my Motorola Q phone and found that I’d made a typo when entering the address. Lucky for me, I always like to get to these events early so I still had time to get to the real site. I made it to the Microsoft building with plenty of time to spare.
There were about twenty people in the room when I arrived. One of the user group board members told me (he was kidding) that he was expecting only a few more people to show up. I turns out he wasn’t serious but I didn’t know that at the time. The meeting was in a big room with three screens. Only two screens were working as they weren’t expecting a full house.
A few minutes after I arrived people started pouring in. There were so many people showing up that the group ran out of pizza. We had to scramble to figure out how to get the third screen working with my laptop before the meeting started. The flow of people was unstoppable, they keep coming until the room was jammed. Every chair was occupied, there were people standing in the hallway and packed shoulder to shoulder at the back of the room.
I was very pleased with my talk. The audience was very lively, laughing at my travel stories and asking great questions. A very good night.
I arrived in St. Louis in the late afternoon. My American Airlines plane, which was supposed to have arrived the previous day, is still broken and flightless in Seattle with no planned departure time. Thanks to a good travel agent and Southwest Airlines I managed to book another flight into town.
I called Scott Spradlin, my host for the evening, to let him know that I was in town. We met at the Microsoft building and I setup in the main event room. The room had chairs for ~sixty attendees. Scott told me that he’d had a lot of inquiries about the event and he was expecting a full house. He was right!
About 20 minutes before the scheduled start time the room was full, there were no more places to sit and people were still coming. Luckily for us, there was a folding divider door that opened into another room for extra seating. They ended up with double the expected numbers (~125).
What a crowd. There was one point in my talk, about halfway through, where I felt completely connected to everyone in the room. To use a cliche: ‘you could have heard a pin drop’. Everyone was focused and engaged. Even though I had a two hour drive ahead of me I left the meeting brimming with energy and excited about the evening.
After each talk there have been insightful questions, and lots of discussion about WPF. I had a great time at each meeting. So what do I think about WPF adoption in the .NET community? I think the .NET developer community is ready for a new UI creation technology. I think many companies are envisioning interesting ways to interact with their customers and WPF is a prime tool for doing so.
I’ve got more talks scheduled in the next couple months. I’ll post the details later. If you want to schedule a talk with your user group let me know If I’m in your city later this year I try and schedule a talk.