I've got soul and I'm super bad! My time in New Orleans is coming to an end and with that are some mixed emotions. The experience I've had over the last week has been incredible and it's sure to be one that I'll remember for a long time.
If we look back at my first Lifehacker blog post I spoke about growing myself personally and professionally. The last week has certainly provided me opportunities to do that. I would never have seen myself visiting New Orleans, now having been here I'm so glad I had the opportunity of visiting this city and taking part in Microsoft's technology conference, TechEd North America 2013.
Over the weekend I spent most of my time rolling the streets of the French Quarter and visiting the Creole Tomato Festival. The festival itself is like most things in New Orleans: a celebration of food and music. Tomatoes are the focus as new crops have just come to fruition and are available throughout town. Cooking demonstrations, live music and eating competitions provide festival goers the chance to try some Creole tomato favorites like fried green tomatoes in a warm and vibrant atmosphere.
Apart from the Surface queue it's hard to fault any aspect of the Microsoft TechEd conference. This may be the fact that I don't have anything to compare it to as it's the first one I've attended but one thing's for sure: the size of the event is astounding and full credit to Microsoft and the staff for putting together something on such a large scale. There was always plenty of well-prepared food and the staff were always very friendly and polite. A few sessions sessions to some extent covered the same content but this can be expected so it pays to plan in advance and utilise the provided resources beforehand.
From a technology standpoint Microsoft's range of topics on its Azure cloud solution, the changes that are being witnessed in the mobility space and some of the new features in Windows Server 2012 have really stood out. The IT industry (both consumer and corporate) continues to evolve quickly and is always having to respond to user demand. If we throw in the security issues the industry is seeing today with data and identity theft it makes for what we could say is an interesting time. It's obvious Microsoft is having to play catchup in some areas but with some of the new service offerings available and the upcoming changes in Windows 8.1 things may start to make some positive inroads.
The TechEd closing party on the Thursday night, it's fair to say, went out with a bang! Part of this could be attributed to Tina Turner's guest appearance (and subsequent social media frenzy) in addition to having my a personality profile done and the chance later in the evening to sing some James Brown at a Bourbon St jazz club. As a new tourist it's always important to be cautious when vising a new city. There are some areas within New Orleans I didn't feel were safe at night. It always pays to be part of a group or attempt to meet some new people who you can travel with.
Thank you to the others on the Lifehacker team for sharing this experience and for providing the opportunity. For anyone else considering a TechEd event in the future for the first time, comfortable shoes are a must!