First impression of convention center

Took a shuttle over to the Orlando Convention Center earlier tonight to check-in and register. The convention center is a very impressive facility. TechEd 1997 took place in the original convention center across from The Peabody and I thought that was huge at the time…but the new section of the convention center is absolutely humongous! You can easily get lost if you aren’t careful. Looking at the Keynote Hall, I felt as small as an ant.

The registration process was very quick and efficient. I was registered and received my conference bag (weighs more like an anvil carrier), baseball cap, and t-shirt within five minutes. Very well done, Microsoft! The conference bag this year is handle/shoulder-based as opposed to a backpack. Included in the bag is an RFID tag which will be used during the keynote demonstrations. A note accompanying the RFID tag explains that you can discard it if you don’t want to participate.

The Gaming Zone has about a dozen Xbox kiosks, but about a third of them were frozen and unusable–even though the consoles themselves are inaccessible. Too much Halo 2, I guess!

The TechEd Store has some cool attire and an excellent book selection. The clerk told me that they were swamped this morning, with lines out the door. They’ve already been cleaned out of some of the more popular shirts.

Can’t wait for the opening keynote. Steve Ballmer is a lot of fun to listen to. I can’t think of anyone who can ‘fire up’ a crowd more than he can.

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