Monday, June 13, 2005

Welcome to PDC 2005

I dont think I slept more than 3 hours. Fortunately, my folks had pressed my clothes for me, for all three days. I put on my white INETA shirt, black trousers and a light jacket for the opening ceremony, where we would be presented something for the MVP award. I arrived at 7:25 am at the conference venue. The roads were almost without traffic and I was able to drive very fast, several times exceeding 100 km/h. I passed Adnan near PNS Karsaz and waved to them. Hammad and Sohaib (SSUET.NET User Group Leader) were with him in his car. The booths in the community lounge were all set up. We sat in the lobby for a while and then in the community lounge working on our demos, and then went to the ballroom for the opening ceremony and took the seats that were reserved for us.

Adnan had some promo videos copied on my laptop which were played before the opening ceremony. Rahat Kazmi was the MoC (Master of Ceremony), and did a very good job, as always, being witty and knowledgable. Me, Adnan and Hammad were given two shields each for being a speaker at the conference and being an MVP. Steve, Alex and others had gone out, perhaps to rest when there names for called for the shields. Later Steve came in and Rahat announced his award, Steve made some witty remarks about it all which cheered everyone up. Steve is a very nice fellow and always entertains and captivates his audience's attention. After the ceremony we went back to the community lounge while the other speakers went to the Emerald room to have tea/coffee. We had some people coming in and inquiring about the MVP program, INETA, Imagine Cup and Junior Developer Curriculum. It was nice.
At 2 pm, me and Adnan were speaking alongwith Lara Martini about Microsoft's community efforts. It was very encouraging to draw quite an audience considering that people like Stephen Forte were doing parallel sessions on technical topics. I talked about INETA, INETA Pakistan and its activities, and Adnan talked about what it is like to be an MVP. Towards the end, we had a very interactive session and then we did some questions and answers. After the session, we retired to the community lounge. We had requested if lunch could be brought to us to the community lounge, and the volunteer coordinator had agreed, but it never arrived. In the end, when we went to Emerald room, there was no lunch. We decided to go to KFC nearby, but Vaqar did not agree, and he ordered something for us at Grapevine in the lobby. It took ages for them to bring us our coffee, club sandwich and chicken basket. But the food was absolutely delicious.
We had a very relaxed environment at the community lounge and we joked and chatted a lot, and it seemed that the volunteers also liked that and appeared to like the opportunity to see us very approachable and free to communicate with at a personal level. Good for them!
At the question and answer session, there were some good questions and absolutely delightful answers from Steve and Arvindra. After that, we returned to the community lounge and worked on our demos until dinner time. We went to the Pakistani restaurant at Sheraton. The food was absolutely marvelous. Adnan talked to Nasser Ghazi. We took the gifts for the speakers and after dinner, we announced that we had some gifts for some of the speakers because we could not carry more, the rest of them would get them the next day. We gave gifts to Steve, Arvindra, Malek, Lara, Rafal. Everyone except Arvindra opened their gifts. Alex opened his first and they were all excited to see the gifts. Rafal couldnt get his out, but he was happy to know what was inside. Lara opened her box with an ease that surprised me. I had packed those gifts with my father and we had spent a lot of time on it. Lara's gift was packed a little more trickily owing to its spherical shape. But she opened it very well and got it out quickly. She liked it. We were very tired and went back to our places.
I once again worked till late to work on completing my demo. My presentation wasnt ready either. My demo was doing some string echo at that time, and that was not what I wanted to show the audience.
I quickly threw in some database access code in there and had some difficulties in the beginnig, but got it fixed. I decided to pack my camcorder to view the WSE webcast from MSDN which I had recorded on it earlier at the hotel to prepare my presentation, which I had still not worked on.
Adnan had given me the template for the presentation. I slept at around 2:30 am and set the alarm for 5 am.

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