Everyone knows that budgets are slashed and the opportunity to attend big and expensive conferences so you can stay up to date is probably gone. Well there is a more economic way to stay up to date.
Mark Minasi (well known TechEd/WinConnections speaker, Windows IT Pro journalist, Mastering Windows Server 2008 R2 author) will once again be hosting a conference in his home town of Virginia Beach, VA, USA. It’s a low cost, non-profit event that is aimed squarely at the IT Pro. The registration cost is a measly $450 which is around €330. It’s 3 days full of techie talk, including Windows Server/Desktop, virtualisation, SBS/EBS, Exchange, SharePoint, PowerShell, Active Directory, security/certificate services, SQL, and a whole lot of fun.
This is not WinConnections or TechEd. It’s a whole lot smaller and all of the speakers are techies. Because this event is smaller, everyone is approachable and they’ll try to answer any question. Every session is very interactive, and most of the speakers can usually be found afterwards in the bar, at breakfast/lunch, or at the party.
It’s not only sessions or classes here. Intercontinental friendships, both personal and professional, are formed here every year. Delegates look forward to meeting up with friends again, and with figuring out problems with other delegates. The opportunity to network is unmatched … everyone is made welcome, we pretty much all have breakfast and lunch together. And whether you want to party or just hang out for a quiet evening, you’ll have some company.
The speakers include authors, journalists, consultants, administrators, MVP’s, and people respected on the Internet for the experience and willingness to help. Something quite original was tried last year and it’s being repeated this year. Mark likes to encourage people to develop their skills, be it technical or otherwise. Many of the speakers at the conference really only started doing this stuff here. Most people would run at the thought of speaking for 75 minutes. So last year we tried running mini-sessions where attendees could talk for 15 minutes about stuff they had done that might be interesting, e.g. a first time delegate spoke about how to build a PC at home for running VMware ESXi. It was a success and it’s being repeated this year.
We also push outside the usual topics to boost personal development. A few years ago Mark did a session on how to do technical presentations. It was a hit and provided great information, some of which I try to use. This year Eric Rux (an editor with Windows IT Pro) is talking about how to get into writing. With Mark Minasi, and a bunch of other writers (book and magazine) in the audience also taking part, there’ll be a lot of information.
Previous attendees will know that each conference is pretty much formed the year before based on feedback. It really is a conference that is “owned” by the delegates. A perfect example is PKI/certificate services. Last year it seemed to be mentioned in half of the sessions and most delegates had no knowledge or experience in dealing with this technology. A Q&A session on content pretty much steered the speaker recruiting. So this year we have Roger Grimes (MS security architect) in to talk about it. Take a peek at the below schedule and you’ll see how much interaction there is: panel sessions, Q&A sessions, etc. Check it out and see if you’ve got a time slot in May to attend. Here’s the schedule for 2010:
Sunday – May 2nd 2010
- Pre-Conference event with Todd Lammle
- 08:30 – 12:30
- 12:00 PM – Conference Registration Begins
- 1 PM – Opening Session led by Mark Minasi
- 2 PM – Session 1: Mark Minasi – 10 (or more) things that you don’t know about Windows Server 2008 R2
- 3:15 – Break
- 3:30 – Eric Rux – “So, you want to be a writer, eh?: Tips, tricks and other thoughts on getting into the writing game – with open discussion with the other authors in the audience”
- 4:00 – Mini Session – TBC
- 4:30 – Break
- 4:45 – Roger Grimes – Fighting off Malware, the latest attacks and ways to resist them!
- 6:00 – Welcome Reception in the Hunt Room
Monday – May 3rd 2010
- 9:00 – Ultan Kinahan – Disaster Recovery With VMware SRM
- 10:15 – Laura E. Hunter – Active Directory Federation Services
- 11:30 – Break
- 11:45 – Aidan Finn – Using Virtual Machine Manager 2008 R2: How to manage Hyper-V
- 1:00 – Lunch (Provided)
- 1:45 – Claus Neilsen – Digging into PowerShell V2
- 3:00 – Mark Minasi – The Active Directory recycle bin.
- 4:15 – Break
- 4:30 – Expert Panel: Project Planning, Design and Documentation (Bring Your Own Questions)
- 5:45 – Offsite Dinner Organized with Transportation
Tuesday – May 4th 2010
- 9:00 – Eric Rux – Using Windows in your Home! – “More fun with Windows Home Server: How to use this versatile product for small business and home entertainment”
- 10:30 – Mini Session – TBC
- 11:00 – Roger Grimes – Server 2008 PKI – Certificates are becoming increasing critical – learn how to use them!
- 12:30 – Lunch (Provided)
- 1:00 – Nathan Winters – Protection and Compliance with Exchange 2010
- 2:15 – Break
- 2:30 – Michael B. Smith – Part 1 – Migrating from 2003 AD and Exchange to 2010 Exchange and 2008 R2 AD – Hands on Demonstration
- 3:45 – Break
- 4:00 – Michael B. Smith – Part 2 – Migrating from 2003 AD and Exchange to 2010 Exchange and 2008 R2 AD – Hands on Demonstration
- 5:30 – Dinner (on your own) at a local restaurant. Last chance to rub elbows.
Wednesday – May 5th 2010
- 9:00 – Stacy Hein – SQL Server troubleshooting
- 10:15 – Short Session
- 10:45 – Break
- 11:00 – Joe McGlynn – A look at SBS and EBS – Doing IT right for the SME
- 12:15 – Closing and Lunch
- 1:30 – Unofficial Round Table