Thursday 13th March saw the NxtGenUG - Southampton pre-launch Install Fest take place at St. Andrews Hall in Southampton and what a great event it was.
We had a cracking turn out of 35 attendees many of whom brought lap tops and some desktops even made it through the door all ready to install their free copy of VS2008 standard together with a years free trial of Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 CTP with a voucher for a free year trial when SQL Server is finally released later this year.
The evening started a little later than expected due to excessive traffic, something that we try not to do too often but we had specifically told people to come at 18:30 preparing for a 19:00 start. Whilst we were waiting we had a little practice on guitar hero and I must say I was completely rubbish so its probably a good job I couldn't have won anything anyway.
I introduced my WPF stop watch application with lovely glass effect (see left..beautiful) that would keep us all on track and started the timer. My first session was on Multitargeting and went pretty smoothly although just missed the end of my five minute slot, doh! I'd implemented the timer to start the theme from the Countdown TV show when there was 30 seconds left just to put the pressure on a little more.
Finally, Neil joined the demo clan by giving us a tour of SQL Server 2008, once more the stop watch took its victim with no remorse and the session overran - lessons were learned by us all after the first five minute sets and it was soon my turn again.
A quick breeze through C# 3.0 features including Lambda expressions, Automatic Properties and Extensions Methods saw my next slot out and so the pattern continued, Myself, John, Neil etc. My next couple of sessions thankfully ran to time with a small hiccup in my LINQ to SQL session but other than that I was pretty happy with the way things went.
I must say a big thank you to both Neil and John for putting the time and effort into those presentations, I know from my own experience that it was quite nerve wracking and took a lot of effort to put them together even though each segment only lasted 5 minutes.
Now, the reason why our launch event was slightly earlier than the "real launch event" was because my wife and I are expecting our first child on Saturday 22nd March, we figured that anything closer than Thursday 13th may have been pushing our luck a little and would almost definitely have meant that I couldn't take part. So I explained to everyone that I had my phone on just in case I got "the call" and I may have to leave unexpectedly, what I hadn't banked on was the pizza guy phoning me and for a moment my heart was in my mouth.
After the sessions ended it was pizza, beer, install and guitar hero time. Those with laptops and desktops started installing whilst others starting drinking and eating pizza. The guitar hero competition consisted of attendees pairing up together to gain their highest possible score on the two guitar hero pods that Microsoft had kindly loaned us for the evening. The winners of this won Windows Server 2008 Enterprise Edition, SQL Server 2008 CTP5 and not for resale Enterprise Edition redeemable voucher when SQL 2008 is released as well as a copy of VS 2008.
All in all I think every one that came enjoyed the event, I know I certainly did. So many thanks to everyone that made it such a great evening and look forward to seeing you at our next event - Mike Taulty on the Entity Framework, should be a good one!
P.S. If you did attend the event any feedback you have would be greatly appreciated, please go here to fill out your comments.