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Matt McSpirit on Virtualisation, Management and Core Infrastructure

Vista: After Hours - Follow Up...

Vista: After Hours - Follow Up...

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VistaAfterHours Firstly, a MASSIVE thanks to everyone who came along to the 2 events that James and I put on last week in Leeds and Reading respectively - we had an absolute blast doing them, and from the feedback, many of you guys had a great time, and took a lot away from them - very much mission accomplished for us :-)

A few issues in TVP around the Microsoft domain network not liking James and I creating our own private networks for our media environment meant a few teething issues with connectivity between some of the devices and Home Server, but apart from that, we got through the event pretty much unscathed!  My cherished Sony Vaio did decide to (almost) pop it's clogs in the interval, after I rebooted with a bootable USB key in, realised, performed a hard reset and then...nothing!  No boot options, nothing.  A demo of a 'System Repair' followed - I've never loved that start-up sound so much :-)

OK, so, what am I writing about?  Well, firstly, to draw your attention to James's post on the content of the Vista After Hours event, should you wish to start writing that note to Santa, but also, to obtain a general consensus on the style of the event.

Those who have seen me present before will know, however much I love PowerPoint, I try to avoid it in my presentations and go with Demo Demo Demo.  It's a format that, in my eyes, just works.  I know James feels the same on this one - but what do you think?  Is a radical shake-up of how Microsoft delivers business events needed?  There should always be time for PowerPoint, but its the demo that ignites the imagination.  Would you consider attending more events if they were as light hearted, but still got the messaging across?  Can you remember a lot of the stuff we covered in the sessions compared with normal Microsoft sessions?  I think one of the key things that James and I found was to make the sessions personal.  Microsoft in the US does have a big say on the content we typically show in these events, but this was different - we sat down and spent a good few hours thinking 'What is cool in Vista' and more and more content kept coming - however, we also had to think of what is cool for everyone, not just us! - we then shaped it into a logical story and that is what you got - a personalised TechNet experience.  Your feedback on this could really help to shape the future direction of our event presentations.

Anyway, I'm going to be moving across to covering Longhorn Server and Virtualisation soon, and ramping down on the Vista stuff, which is a shame, because I could talk about it all day, but these other products are incredibly exciting, yet a bit more business oriented, but fear not, that most definitely does not mean I have to go back to just PowerPoint!  You will always get Demo Demo Demo from me!

I'm going to leave you with some of the feedback we've had - thanks so much to those who have emailed in and keep them coming - believe me when I say, it can make a difference.

"Definitely feel that the demo based approach is the way forward for these kind of events, really allowed the audience to get a feel for the technology."

"Hi Matt, great show you put on last night with James its a shame a couple of the demos didn't quite come together but it certainly gave an idea of what's possible and inspired me to try out a few more things with Vista - when pocket money allows (that, and a few more hours in the day!).  Well done and I look forward to your next "after hours" event."

"I went to the After Hours in Leeds and I really really enjoyed it. Good presenting and showed off some of the really cool features. Also was very interesting to see the Games For Windows - Live parts."

"Didn't realise what Vista could do straight out of the box (new Vista user) and having the time to explore is a luxury.  This session has given me all the signposts I need to get results, and now that I have seen Windows Home Server I am definitely going to install the beta I have downloaded."

"Good job tonight in Leeds, ever thought of stand up?" <- Love that one! :-)

"Thanks for the great event, I'll be checking out the Home Server"

"Very much enjoyed the event in Leeds the other night, and went home to learn more about home server"

"Just wanted to say I really enjoyed the first half of the event I even learnt a few things which I am pleased about."

"Matt – many thanks for an excellent evening, and the sandwiches were delicious!" <- Can't take credit for that one!

"Thanks to you and Matt for an enjoyable demonstration of Vista last night."

"I was writing to pass on my personal thanks for the excellent presentation you did on Thursday evening – the Vista after hours was most educational but particularly enjoyable which made it a great pleasure to attend.  Not only did I leave the event feeling confident with Microsoft’s direction with the Windows platform, I felt that my personal time could also be complimented with Microsoft products and look forward to the new releases of Home Server – and will try and get my hands on an Xbox 360 so I can ditch my old XBOX 1st gen!"

I really do appreciate all of the comments, however short - if this is a style of presentation that people like, we'll make sure we do it in the future.

Oh, and for all those who fancy yourselves as a bit of a gamer...bring it on!

Final word - James and I will be creating a series of short movies on the Digital Home Experience, covering Media Center (hopefully no Bridget Jones and Coyote Ugly this time, hey James?), Home Server and the Xbox 360 / Games for Windows Live.  Watch this space over the coming weeks.

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