Next month, I'm currently scheduled to attend both the O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference and MIX '06. Given my current work load it is unlikely that I can afford to be away from work for almost two weeks next month. It's likely that I'll just attend one conference next month, in which case it will be ETech not MIX. I was talking to some folks at work about this recently and we talked about the difference between O'Reilly conferences and Microsoft conferences which led me to this decision.

Microsoft's conferences are about technology and often are pitched as training events. The pitch is usually some variation come spend three to five days learning about exciting Microsoft technologies. The MIX '06 website currently has the following on the front page

  • Learn how to deliver revolutionary media-rich Web content with the new Windows Presentation Foundation,
  • Explore Windows Live!, Microsoft's new consumer services strategy
  • Find out how to extend your content, media and services into the living room with Windows Media Center and Xbox 360™
  • etc

O'Reilly conferences are often about getting interesting people together. The pitch is usually some variation of come spend three to five days listening to and meeting exciting people in the technology industry. The O'Reilly Emerging Technology Conference has the following speakers highlighted on the front page

  • Ray Ozzie
  • Jon Udell
  • Joel Spolsky
  • Tim Bray
  • Mark Pilgrim
  • Danah Boyd
  • Sam Ruby
  • Kevin Lynch
  • Linda Stone
  • Clay Shirky
  • etc

If you were a Web geek and only had enough time to attend one conference, which one would you attend?


Saturday, February 4, 2006 8:53:04 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Thats quite a list! I agree, O'Reilly definitely has the edge.
Saturday, February 4, 2006 9:16:05 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
About the only confrences I've managed to attend are the last several Ruby confs. They are more focused on high-level talks and demos; you would likley not pick up many specific technical skills.

But the real fun is hanging around with smart geeks, and the impromptu hacking sessions. That's where the learning happens.

I prefer the O'Reilly approach. In the long run, I'd rather have my mindset turned around then learn some new tool or library. I can get that from books.
Sunday, February 5, 2006 10:08:49 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I am a web and WPF geek so it has to be Mix.
Monday, February 6, 2006 7:30:22 PM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
Definitely O'reilly.

A MIX conf is only necessary because Microsoft and SOAP make doing simple things so friggin difficult.
Tuesday, February 7, 2006 12:30:38 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
I'd pick ETech because you are going to be there.
Sunday, February 12, 2006 3:51:27 AM (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)
For a variety of reasons, I'm picking door number 3. The South By Southwest Interactive conference.

Microsoft event scheduling has gotten wierd in the last 6 months. I can't find anything interesting in the live events scheduled for Dallas, and even the usually progressive MSDN regional pony shows are getting repetitive. Why give up a half day to see the demos we got a year ago?

Mix06 seems to have crossed the marketing of the VS2005 launch events with the relevance of reworked PDC 2005 demos (plus some of that awsome Live action). I'd hate to think people are attending just to get a chance to win a customized bike or something.

Strangely, the active .NET user groups in this area have been delivering a fair amount of good material. Not that there aren't a few snoozer presentations, but that's OK.

Here's hoping that, whatever conferences y'all attend this year, they are all wonderfully productive and full of energy!
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