Despite my initial reservations it seems getting up in time for breakfast at 7.30am was easier than I thought. Due to the timezone difference I actually awoke at about 4am and then had trouble getting back to sleep. Luckily there was free WIFI at the hotel so I spent a few hours checking up what was happening in the rest of the world.
The first job for the day after breakfast was to head over to the Microsoft Redmond Campus. A short coach ride and we were there. I knew the campus was big but didn’t quite realise how big until I was really there.
Our first visit stop was Building 35 which is the home of SQL Server. After getting our security passes organised we where escorted upstairs to a meeting room where we were introduced to Ted Kummert and Nigel Ellis where an overview of the history of SQL Server was given and also some discussion on SQL Azure.
The expected question soon arose of which I am sure Microsoft cringe every time someone asks it… that being “When we there be a *nix version of the SQL Server driver“. Much discussion ensued about the many reasons the open-source community and some commercial companies wanted it and the many reasons it wasn’t yet available from Microsoft. I sure hope that one day it will be available but at this moment in time I am not expecting anything to be done about it in the near future.
Next up we had chance to visit the Microsoft store and Visitor centre where we had chance to see some of the many different products that Microsoft had worked on over the years. After some shopping and playing with the Xbox Kinect it was time to head back to the hotel for some lunch before the afternoons activities.
The first thing up in the afternoon was a surprise session of which we knew nothing about and involved us drumming and playing various musical instruments (and there was even some bad dancing at one-point). The idea being to try and get us to understand how different people working together can contribute in harmony even if the tools they are using are different.
Once we were all loosened up it was time to crack out the laptops and get down to the real reason we were all there… coding!
The first challenge was to work on porting our various applications to either the sqlsvr (native) driver or the PDO_SQLSVR driver. This was obviously easier for some projects that had abstraction layers in place already, for osCommerce however it was a little bit more work so progress was initially slow.
Towards the end of the afternoon my brain was getting pretty fried, the timezone difference and lack of sleep was certainly taking its toll. Luckily the evening didn’t involve going too far with dinner in the hotel and then some xbox gaming.
Along with the rest of the hotel the food they provided was always excellent, I think I ate so much I thought I was going to burst! It certainly hindered me for the next part of the evening. Harald’s flight had also landed by this time so I was looking forward to catching up with him again.
So onto the gamimg… In one of the various rooms in the hotel had been setup 2 Xbox 360′s with the new Kinect controller after spending some time getting them calibrated the game was on.. the winner was to get to take a Kinect controller home with them. As you can imagine there was some frantic competition and the game settled on was “Ralleyball” which is part of the Kinect adventures game.
This short video should give you an idea of the game
After numerous rounds and also numerous beers the eventual winner was none other than Paul Reinheimer by the end I was totally exhausted from all the cheering (and drinking) so it was time to hit the hay and try and do a better job and sleeping through the timezone differences, ready for what was install for Day 3!