Tech Days 07

car-airport-plane-airport-plane-airport-taxi-conference centre-hotel

Well, that was my day. How about yours?

Some time back I got an email offering me a chance to speak at a student conference in Portugal. The date was a long way away, and I was pretty sure it was out of term time, my boss said it was OK,  so I agreed to go. What with the Imagine Cup effort at Hull, and my term dates being messed up, I very nearly didn't make it. But I'm glad I did. Even if it meant getting up at 4:00 am and a couple of flights to get here, Lisbon is worth the effort. I was expecting to speak to a room full of students.

Well, there was a room, and it was pretty full, but it was a bit more than I expected. Tech Days is essentially TechEd for Portugal only. I'm rather jealous. I wish there was something like this in the UK.

TechDays has everything that TechEd does, speakers shirts, timetable of interesting sessions, plush venue. And loads of keen delegates, including several hundred students who are given a day pass to the most interesting sessions. One of which was mine....

I was talking about XNA, the way that you can write games in C# for your XBOX 360. It is a subject that I like talking about, and the audience seemed happy to hear about it too. Even putting up with the jokes... I was a bit worried whether or not my particular brand of humour would go OK with a Portuguese audience. But in the end everyone seemed to have a good time, and a bunch of students even stayed behind at the end to hear the famous "Orange for a Head" joke. And then promptly wished they hadn't.

I would very much have liked to stay longer. I only managed to get to one session, about the Microsoft Robotics Studio. This is something I'd love to have more time to get to grips with. It is a fantastic way to start programming robots, with a proper simulated physics environment and an interface to lots of robot platforms, including the new Lego Mindstorms. Maybe when I get back I'll set aside an afternoon as robot playtime and see what we can make.

At the end of the day I staggered back to my room in a very nice hotel, and just flaked out.

Anyway, thanks very much to Microsoft Portugal for inviting me and making me so welcome, for the audience for making the trip worthwhile, and to KLM for actually finding me some seats on the plane with legroom. I've only been in Portugal for around 16 hours, I can promise that I will be back, and that next time it will be for a proper look round.