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I have to admit, when the first MIX was happening it confused me.  Yet another conference?  In my usual pessimistic self I tried to convince people that it was wrong, blah, blah.  But I was wrong.  MIX has become of of my favorite conferences to attend.  Not only for the announcements that likely happen, but for the networking with industry folks in an area I’m most passionate about.

Enough gushing though.  I’m going to MIX09.  Will you be there?  If you register before 13 Feb 2009, you’ll be able to get $400 off the registration fees!  Register on the MIX09 site with RSVP code MIX09offer and you’ll get the discount.  I realize that most organizations (and individuals) are feeling the crunch of the pressures of life and our world economy.  Forking out $1200 (or I suppose $800 with the discount code above) isn’t an easy sell during these types of times.  I’ll say this though: If you are doing web or rich internet application development, THIS is the conference you want to go toHere’s a few reasons why in my opinion:

  • Silverlight 3 sessions.  What?!  Yep, that’s right, several Silverlight 3 sessions have been announced.
  • Rick Barraza, Jose Fajardo.  These guys are design/innovation inspiration to me.  Aside from the fact that hanging out with Rick is just plain fun (haven’t had a chance to hang out with Jose yet, but I’m sure it is equally as great), the ideas that they come up with are really inspiration both from a design and innovation standpoint.  If you go, meet them.
  • Celso Gomes.  Again, meet him.  Celso is a designer at Microsoft and one of the best I’ve seen.  He’s one of the more wicked designers I’ve seen navigate around Blend…you’ll be amazed and inspired.
  • Mix 10K challenge – while not a part of the week conference, this contest is pretty cool.  What can you come up with only 10 kilobytes of space?  Check out the gallery.  It is this type of stuff that happens in the lounge areas.  One of my favorites is the Moustachr (hope to see Robby there as well).
  • Unsessions – Open Spaces @ MIX.  I helped out with this last year and it was cool to see people present some other topics in this free-form area within the conference.
  • MIX party – ok, I’ll be honest.  Cram a bunch of international geeks at one of the hottest clubs in Vegas (Tao) and what do you get?  A bunch of bouncers wondering where all the club people are :-).  If you’re the partying type, this is a great place.  If you aren’t, no sweat…there will be plenty of other geekier things for you to do (bloggers lounge anyone?).
  • Vegas.  Never been?  Here’s your excuse.  Want to feel like that poker pro you see on TV?  Well you can get beat on the river card just like the pros.  Other than that there are some great people-watching and photography in this town that never sleeps.  Mirage buffet is my favorite, Bellagio’s is overrated.

That’s just a few simple reasons.  Obviously I’m partial to the Silverlight content.  I’ve personally submitted 5 sessions (yet to hear if they’ll be accepted), but am looking forward to being there regardless.  I hope you’re able to make it and convince anyone you need that this would be training funds well spent!

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Well, I wish I was going to this event: ReMIX UK!  For one, it would be starting the day of my birthday and would be a great birthday treat!  Secondly, I would be able to meet up with my fellow escamoles chaps and maybe take in some local cuisine instead.

If you are in the UK, or for some reason really wanted to see the current value of the US dollar, make sure you head to ReMIX UK!  The lineup is pretty incredible when you look at it…here’s some Microsoft favorites:

I also saw on the agenda for the 2 day event that Tim Sneath and Jesse Liberty were listed, so it should be even richer (pun intented) content.  In addition it looks like some great stuff on the designer and creative strategy side of the business as well.  I’m sure there will be enough Silverlight stuff there to keep you going as well as WPF, ASP.NET and others!

By the way, I listed Dr. Neil above as one of my Microsoft favorites.  He’s actually one of our Regional Directors.  If you have never met Dr. Neil…do so.  He’s a great guy, very intelligent and fun to be around.  Ask him about how he manages developer teams and the ‘check-in’ metaphor for people, not just code.  Seriously, he would be a not miss either.

I wish I could travel across the pond for this one, but I’ll be hopefully approximately 25 meters under water in some area of Mexico celebrating with friends.  Have fun though!

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Well, I have about 3 hours until I leave this little city called Mexico City.  Sarcasm of course, did you know there are roughly 25 million people in Mexico City.  I didn’t.  It is amazing.  Traffic, however, is something to be desired.  I’m told that a 3 mile trip at times could take 1hr, 30 minutes.  Maybe I should stop complaining about my commute when I do it?  No, it still sucks.

Anyway, on to business.  Yesterday I attended and spoke at the MIX Essentials Mexico conference.  These events are happening worldwide and if there is one coming up in your area, you should definitely check it out.  I was fortunate enough to kick off the day with the keynote session talking about building RIAs in Silverlight 2 and demonstrating some of the new capabilities that have been talked about for beta 2.  My second session was on accessing data within Silverlight 2 using web services, RSS/Atom, REST, etc.  I had a great time and hope that the attendees for the day enjoyed the discussions as well.  For myself it was quite interesting as myself and 3 others were the only ones who presented in English.  We had translators (I forgot to tell them thank you as they did a great job) who were doing their best to translate our American and English (UK) slang and language flaws.  Part of me felt a bit disconnected from the audience and it really motivated me to learn Spanish.  I live in Arizona so I’m near the border and we holiday there quite a bit…there is no excuse for me not to start understanding a bit more than “Donde esta el bano?”

I made the mistake of trying to look like I knew what I was doing when in the ride from the airport to the hotel (8 miles, 1hr).  I didn’t know how long it would be and asked the driver “Cuanto tiempo?” which roughly translates to “How long?” and he answered to me about 30 minutes (in Spanish of course, numbers I understand).  I must have had a really good accent, because later he received a phone call, paused, turned around and started saying things I had no idea what he was saying :-) -- we chuckled.

After the keynote, Una Walsh of Conchango did a wonderful presentation talking about *what* user experience is and how it is all around us, not just in technology.  She really knows here stuff and is one of the individuals directing the user experience group at her organization.  Her presentation showed some interesting things that Virgin American has been doing to advertise differently as well as create a unique flight experience that is driving loyalty and enthusiasm.  That’s right, loyalty and enthusiasm in an airline.  They are doing some really unique things to differentiate themselves and at the same time building excitement in a brand in their industry almost to the same level of ‘fanboy’ status.

Rich and FelixNext up was two others from Conchango, Rich Griffin and Felix Corke.  Rich is a developer and Felix a designer.  Together they presented ‘Beauty and the Geek’ discussing the workflow between a developer and a designer.  Both of these guys are really talented and have been working with XAML for a while.  We had some great discussions on what needs to be done to help bridge the gaps further.  I think they were also excited to see some of the things I showed them that is coming.  Rich also talked more in-depth later about XAML.

Una and AlexFresh off a 10 hour plane ride from Argentina, Alex Souza talked about creating web experiences with Expression Studio 2.  This was the first Spanish speaking session.  I sat in for most of this one and Alex really engaged the crowd and although I have no idea what he was saying, I saw a lot of nodding heads.  Alex really knows his stuff and was really confident about the platform.  He demonstrated building an experience using the various tools available to web designers and developers.

Also fresh from Argentina, Gabriel Corvera Ortiz from the Windows Live team, talked about the Windows Live platform.  He said this was the second time he’s been able to do this, but it didn’t show.  This guy is very confident and was able to answer some of the hard questions posed by the attendees.  He’s really smart and I was glad to have met him this weekend.

Arturo Vazquez wrapped up the final session talking about becoming a partner with Microsoft.  I stepped into this one late and although it was in Spanish I could tell there were a lot of questions around what organizations should be doing to get the various levels of partnerships.

It was a really great day and I received a lot of good questions and met some great people.  I had a chance to talk with Alfredo Ceballos and Christian Strevel which were both good conversations about doing fun and interesting things and hopefully soon with Silverlight 2!

For my sessions if you are interested in more, I recommend checking out the Learn section of the Silverlight community site.  Most of what I covered is also available in videos and downloadable code for you to work with.  We’ll be updating this site with examples and content for beta 2 once released so be sure to subscribe to my blog and keep your eyes on the Silverlight site for the best resources!

The event was over and we could all relax a bit.  There were a lot of pictures taken so if you have any be sure to tag them with mixessentialsmx or something like that so we can all see or leave a comment here to the URLs.  You can view my photos on Flickr.


Our gracious hosts for the event (in addition to the agency who helped put everything together…their staff was AWESOME—thank you Rossana and others!) were Eduardo Nava Malagon and Mauricio Angulo.  These guys were the most gracious hosts we could have had.  After the event they took us to Paxia, which was incredible.  The service and food was amazing.  I had a filet with chorizo that was oh so good.  The highlight of the night however was learning all about tequila.  While I don’t drink…the table sure did ;-).  There were many La Loteria being ordered (which essentially is a sampler of 4 fine tequilas).  Felix had to ask about worms, to then the mezcal started coming out.  Mauricio was very much enjoying himself and was so kind to us the entire night.  That was until he decided to let us try some ‘local’ cuisine.  After an exchange with the restaurant host, a plate of guacamole and something else came out (that’s a picture of it here).  Escamoles.  Click the link, then come back.  That’s right…we ate those.  I’ve told myself I’ll try anything once, and I did.  There will probably be no more esacmoles in my future.  You can see a brief video of Felix and Una prepping their tortillas here.

About 15 or 20 la loterias later, we ended dinner and great conversation about culture, language and other things.  I really enjoyed myself in Mexico City (the hotel I was at as well was phenominal, extremely comfortable and would every hotel should be) and am grateful to have been invited.  I hope the attendees to MIX Essentials had fun, learned a little and are excited to create the next great experiences on the web.

Muchas gracias a mis nuevos amigos en la oficina de Microsoft en Mexico City.

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I'm Speaking at Mix Essentials - La Esencia de la Web - 5 de junio, 2008, México, D.F. This week I’ll be traveling to Mexico City to meet developers and designers at the local MIX Essentials (English translation here – funny that RIA gets translated to LAUGHS) event.  I’ll be presenting two sessions there this week.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to kick-off the conference talking about building RIAs with Silverlight 2.  I’m particularly excited about this as I have some things to show that haven’t really been shown broadly yet.  I will also be speaking on working with data in Silverlight 2 later in the day.  This session will cover working with services, servers, sockets and LINQ as a part of Silverlight development.

I hope that all those near Mexico City and around will be able to join us at this event.  If you are planning on being there, I look forward to meeting you and getting feedback on Silverlight as well as seeing what really interesting things are being developed in Mexico.  See you soon!

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Je viens en Belgique pour MIX!

MIX Essentials Logo In one of my previous posts I made reference to the MIX Essentials event happening in Belgium later this month (24 APR).  Well, it turns out that I will be there!  I'll be speaking on Silverlight 2 and creating rich applications and am joining the company of Gil Cleeren and Catherine Heller...oh yeah and Ballmer (I tried to catch a ride with him, but couldn't cash in my frequent flyer miles).  My session will provide an overview of everything new in Silverlight 2 and how you can start building your applications using it today.  I'm hoping you all that will be attending will bring some great questions and not throw anything at me (unless it is euros, those are fine). 

I've only had one other trip to Europe ever (to Italy) and am looking forward to going to Belgium.  Everything I know about Belgium is from a recent show on Food TV, so I'm looking forward to some education :-)!  So I'm taking some travel tips from Scott Hanselman and getting things in order (already have the monster cable thanks to my peep Jason Mauer and I, too, highly recommend that one).  I look forward to seeing you there!