So today, I had a free day of training thanks to Microsoft, complete with lunch, and a stack of freebie loot too!
When I heard about the event, although it meant giving up a Saturday, I thought it was definitely worth the effort, as did a number of other people from work (nine from SSE in total), and also Phil and Catherine came along for part of the day too.
It was the first time I’d been onto the Microsoft Campus, having seen it for a number of years alongside the railway going into and out of Reading, and very nice it is too, complete with a lake, ducks, and even what looks like a picnic area.
There was a broad range of sessions, and to some extent I stuck to sessions I thought would be beneficial work wise, covering data access, .NET attributes, code refactoring, test driven development, .NET debugging and Pocket PC development. In between all of that we had a good lunch – a barbeque, and plenty of opportunity for chatting.
None of the presenters were actual Microsoft employees, although there were a number around helping run the event. All were good, although perhaps the most memorable was Jim Cooper, an Australian with a beer obsession. Every example application either reminded us to buy him beer, or revolved around beer in some way! He also seemed to get slightly obsessed with Catherine at one point in the attributes session, although I don’t think he realised her husband was sat next to her!
On top of all of that, everybody got a copy of the latest Visual Studio 2005 Beta, a CD wallet and keyring, plus various people got spot prizes varying from books to complete software packages.
All in all, a very worthwhile way to spend a Saturday – the kind of training day that usually would cost the best part of Â£1000 per participant. Something I’d definitely do again if the opportunity arose.