I’m “speaking“ at Tech-Ed, and while completing my registration today, I also signed up for Rio, which is a system that Tech-Ed attendees can use to find and set up meetings with people with similar interests or expertise in a certain area.
After registering, you are given the option of completing a Rio profile, where you can specify things such as your job title, company, location, products/technologies you’re interested in, even your hobbies. Then you can search for people with similar hobbies. Almost 1000 people have signed up so far, including several hundred folks who’ve indicated they are interested in Exchange, which is neat.
The point of this system is to make it easier for Tech-Ed attendees to connect with each other and with MS employees, if they so desire. If you search on Exchange, you’ll find my name in the list and you can use Rio to set up a meeting with me. But don’t do it on Monday mid-day, since I’ll be hosting a shindig for my MVPs. 🙂
 I’m doing a “lounge” session about “Where to get help with Exchange”. I’ll talk about the variety of resources you can use from Microsoft and others (including, of course, the community and all of the various Exchange blogs), feedback avenues for each of those resources, and hopefully I’ll be able to demo some neat technology that MS is developing that will make it far easier to find help online in the future. Time allowing, I’ll go through some of the top support issues we have for Exchange and what you can do if you find yourself in that situation. I’ll bring along some swag from the cafepress store, too, geek giveaways are always nice.
I gave an earlier incarnation of this talk at MEC 2002, although it had very low attendance (about 30 people in a room that could seat a few hundred). I blame this mostly on how the talk was moved in the middle of the conference to the last day, which is a double whammy – moving a talk automatically reduces the number of attendees since you’re not on the printed schedule, and the last day just naturally has lower attendance as folks leave early or just burn out. I suspect that most of the 30 people were just there because my PSS and MCS buddies grabbed them in the expo and promised them a free beer if they attended.
I’m not yet sure exactly how these lounge sessions work, but I think they’re intended to be more informal, a discussion rather than a presentation. I hope so, since this topic lends itself to that format.