SPCR's first WinHEC: Seattle, May '06

The Silent Front
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May 26, 2006 by Mike Chin

My first attendance at WinHEC came earlier this week with a 2.5 hour drive starting at daybreak from Vancouver, across the Canada / US border to Seattle, the seat of the Microsoft empire. It wasn't perfectly clear to me then what software developers mean by "hardware"; this is supposed to be the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference. By the time I left the Emerald City 48 hours later, I had strong the sense that even when they say they're talking about hardware, software guys really aren't. What they're referring to is only hard from their soft point of view.

At WinHEC, I spent nearly three hours at an extended song and dance (keynote presentations) by Bill Gates and some of his senior staff and partners, rubbed shoulder with some journalists who cover software almost exclusively, wandered through a smallish product display floor of products that mostly want to exploit various aspects of Windows Vista, played briefly with Vista Beta 2 in a demo workshop, and messed with an electric guitar at Gibson's very cool booth. This is a brief show and tell.

By the time I arrived, most of the participants were taking in the keynotes.
Architecturally, Seattle's Convention Center is an intricate marvel.

WinHEC keynote presentations: It may be difficult to tell, but those screens are at least 40 feet across.

Alienware AMD powered PCs await for the speeches to end and the shooting to begin.
Such competitions are standard fare at most tradeshow these days.

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