If you’ve ever worked in a Microsoft environment as an administrator or support person, you may have been to one or a few TechNet events in your career thus far. I used to go to a great deal of them before I worked at Silhouette (my last job) and I always liked the experiences. They had great breakfasts, the presenters were usually excellent, the information was always handy and they usually gave away some neat gifts at the end.
Yesterday I went to a TechNet briefing in Princeton which is a stone’s throw from where I live. This one was at a local movie theatre of all places and it wasn’t half bad. Of course the breakfast wasn’t as good as they used to be. When I used to go to these briefings, it was during the dot-com boom, so tasty treats like various danishes, freshly-baked muffins, toasty warm croissants and such were always available as well as freshly squeezed orange juice in carafes everywhere you looked. This time around, it was a smaller selection of stale bagels, plain donuts, store bought muffins and bottles of various drinks which I didn’t really mind. Hey, free food is free food right? 🙂
The topic of yesterday’s discussion was Active Directory and it was meant as an introduction to the behemoth service for people migrating from NT. We’re using AD at my current job, but going to a refresher course on some of the underlying technology is always handy. Most of the stuff was pretty basic, but there were a few things I learned which made me realize why the network was originally installed the way it was before I came in to my current position. What surprised me the most was the amount of people attending from local businesses who were still strictly on NT networks. I truly feel sorry for those folks when they have to upgrade to 2003… Granted it’s “supposed” to be a somewhat “smooth” upgrade, it’s a completely different beast that I am not sure the old-school NT admins can’t handle if they do not want to get up to speed.
Either way, I really enjoyed listening to the presenter and he gave some excellent advice and direction to those professionals in the audience looking to upgrade to Micro$oft’s newest OS. We’re using it on several servers at work and I really do like it a lot and I feel that it’s definitely a good step up from 2000. Heck, even IIS6 is pretty nifty to work with! Of course, I would still choose Apache on Linux if I really needed a secure and reliable web server, but IIS is definitely heading in the right direction now with regards to security and reliability.
Luckily, I’m also headed off to NY next month for a TechNet Security Summit which I am pretty stoked about. I always loved going to the conferences in New York because they were always nice and swanky. Plus, afterwards instead of trolling off to the trains to head back home, you could always hang out and check out the scenery. If you’ve never been to one of the Microsoft conferences, you really should if your boss will allow you. Or if you’re unemployed and looking for a good place to network with people in corporations, it’s a great place to be. A few of my work buddies got some really kick ass positions in top companies just by showing up at these conferences and chattin’ it up with vendors or professionals attending.
Heck, if you attend, look for me. I’ll be the geek in the grey suit trying to find an access point on my PDA. 🙂