I've spent Thursday and Friday at Remix '08 and I must say I had a great time, from the key note by Bill Buxton and Scott Guthrie to the excellent Swag Phrase events at the community stage during the intervals it was a excellent couple of days that were well worth attending.
Admittedly I had already learned a lot about some of the developer talks that were taking place by attending other community events I had attended over the year so I took the opportunity to go to a couple of the design flavoured talks by Bill Buxton and I must say it was well worth it, design certainly is not my strong point and anything I can do to try and improve my understanding of how it should be applied cannot be a bad thing, I managed to pick up of few key points about not trying to design the perfect product in one go and some cheeky little prototyping tricks such as using magnets to mimic working screen shots.
Certainly my highlight of the event was the Ready, Steady, Speak competition. It was my first opportunity to talk to about my chosen subject to a large number of people at a major UK event, I've done a couple of nuggets at NxtGenUG - Southampton from time to time but nothing on this kind of scale. My chosen topic was WatiN and arriving at Remix I was happy with the presentation I had put together. There were six competitors in total taking part in two heats on the Thursday with the top two going through to a final session on the Friday, topics from other competitors included ASP .NET MVC, OAuth, HSL (Hue/Saturation/Luminance), Rasta and using Silverlight to perform cross browser window communication.
In the first heats I was last on which gave me an opportunity to see all of the competition but also for the nerves to build up, and up and up :-). There were four panel judges who passed judgement on each of the presentations and gave some useful comments on how the presentations could be improved, after my first attempt I had a couple of comments about the colour of my hyperlinks and also the fact that I seemed to keep pacing forwards and then backwards which gave away how nervous I was. Thankfully I was voted through to the final and had an opportunity to improve the presentation over night.
The following day the final was at lunch time and I had to perform the same presentation again, I had changed the colour of my hyperlinks and was determined to make use of the entire stage as had been suggested by the judges from the previous heat, this surprisingly had the effect of taking my mind off of how nervous I was and I had a couple of comments from people who had said that my nerves didn't show through so that was could.
So all the presentations were over and it was up to the judges final decision, and they chose me...woo hoo cool! For all of my efforts I won an XBox 360 Elite with three games, nice!
John Mcloughlin and I did plenty of networking and made sure that we gave out as many NxtGen business cards as we could and also drummed up as much swag as possible, we also managed to secure a few sessions for the new year including the potential of a Microsoft Surface demo and talk after we had our own hands on experience of it.
All in all, I thought the Remix event was excellent and well worth attending (possibly slightly influenced by by winning a competition), special thanks goes out to Dave McMahon, Richard Costall and John Price (the NxtGenUG founders) for organising the Ready, Steady, Speak competition and allowing me to have this opportunity.