SharePoint Connections 2008, Day One

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SharePoint Connections 2008, Day One

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The SharePoint Connections 2008 conference kicked off today in Seattle. The day didn’t start so well for us, as bad weather in Dallas kept our plane on the ground for an extra hour and a half. By the time we made it to the conference center it was already late afternoon. Naturally, being at a conference on the west coast of the US, the first group of SharePointers I ran into were from the UK. My good friend and fellow MVP Ben Robb was there; turns out Ben got roped into presenting at the Mix event in Las Vegas as well, so he’s burning the candle on both ends to get everything ready (and come up with a Silverlight presentation somewhere in his spare time). Arpan Shah stopped by for a quick chat then, after nearly getting my spine crushed by Bob Fox, we were off to Andrew Connell’s WCM presentation.

At the end of the day Lawrence Liu and Bob Fox co-presented a breakout session on SharePoint User Groups. This is a subject near and dear to my heart – UG’s are one of the most important tools we have for connecting users within the overall SharePoint community. I’m on the advisory council for the Dallas/Ft. Worth SharePoint Community and the SharePoint UK User Group, so I was interested in seeing what other groups are doing and, more importantly, what Microsoft’s plans are for supporting UG creation and development. Lawrence gave us a rundown on tools like MySharePointCommunity and SharePointPedia. There were also representatives from Culminis who gave us information on the benefits of working through Culminis and INETA, especially with regards to relationship management. There were also some previews of things to come and under consideration for user groups, such as MSDN/TechNet subscriptions and new content being available on MS Connect. There is also a new set of solutions coming based on the CodeZone templates, including a speaker registry and other tools. All in all, it was a good discussion on shared challenges and gave folks some good ideas to take back and implement in their groups.

The evening’s entertainment consisted of dinner at Barolo’s for all the MVP’s. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough space for everyone so the UK contingent went out on their own which, naturally, included a swing by the closest Irish pub. No dinner would be complete without an alcohol-related incident and Jake Dan Attis was happy to oblige, spilling an entire glass of wine on Brendon Schwartz. As the evening progressed, Bob Fox outdid us all in alcohol consumption (I counted 19 pints but I may have missed a few) and treated us to an a capella version of Fields of Atherny – not once, not twice, but three separate times. We then proceeded to stumble along the streets of downtown Seattle to the Crown Plaza; upon the way Bob managed to accost some skateboarders and innocent bystanders. If anyone was looking for verification that Bob 1.0 had indeed returned, Day One left no doubt that he was back in form.

Tomorrow kicks off with a presentation from Adam Buenz on records management and information rights management. There are some good technical sessions throughout the day. Unfortunately, Microsoft chose not to have a WSS/MOSS booth this year so if you’re looking for me just find my hat in the crowd.