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Highlights of Microsoft TechEd New Zealand 2013 (Part II)

Last week we brought you part one of our highlights from TechEd. Here’s the second instalment of TechEd’s best bits according to some of the more than 30 Intergenites at this year’s event. We’ll be back tomorrow with our third – and final – highlights post.

Intergen stand at TechEd New Zealand 2013 

Intergen at Microsoft TechEd New Zealand 2013


Kyle Muir

TechEd was an amazing experience – the TechFest was a real eye opener, wall to wall decorations, bull whips (including a certain Intergenite managing to whip themselves in the face), mechanical bulls, Tex Mex food, photo booths and live music to boot. Definitely a night to remember.

TechEd is also an awesome networking experience and allowed me to meet people who live and breathe the technologies we use on a daily basis and to pick the brains of leading Microsoft (and industry) people. Getting answers to those questions I’ve always wondered and to see all the exciting new things coming up – especially for the web!

Key takeaways for me were the Web API 2.0 features that will be releasing soon and finally getting to ask Amy Palamountain about her JavaScript CI approach. I’m really looking forward to trying the latter to see how that works and whether or not we can leverage it in our projects.

Amy Palamountain at TechEd New Zealand 2013

Amy Palamountain at Microsoft TechEd New Zealand 2013 

Michelle Peacock

The key topics that stood out to me were Windows 8.1 and Azure.  I learnt the three main features to Windows 8.1 – the user experience has been enhanced via small but important tweaks (e.g. new search bar within apps), the developer experience is simplified – e.g. new XAML layouts such as the “hub” layout make it much easier to create apps to the design standards, and it expands across to devices – there is now comprehensive support for bluetooth, proximity, NFC and socket devices. My favourite session of the conference was about integrating peripherals and devices into Windows 8 – run by Lewis Benge using examples shown with a Robotic Arm and USB Missile Launcher. I am excited that the development of apps in 8.1 is now a lot simpler, and now I know how to program a missile launcher to shoot people from my desk!

What I learnt about Azure was that there is now further integration in Visual Studio 2013 – e.g. you can now create Azure Websites from within Visual Studio without having to access the Azure Portal. There was also an interesting and fun session by Brady Gaster using a Gadgeteer kit and Azure to record and monitor the Gadgeteer device sensors in real-time. Useful if you want to build your own home sprinkler or security system!

I enjoyed the sessions that were different and a little fun – the Innovation streams were particularly interesting – including the “mosquitoes hate laser beams” session – shooting laser beams at mosquitos to prevent malaria, and a session on the Microsoft Smart Campus (energy-efficient building systems).

I very much enjoyed my time at TechEd – I learnt a lot and it was well worth going!


Linda Pettigrew

I found the most impressive thing about TechEd was seeing Microsoft in action with presentations, parties, displays, people and giveaways. They sure know how to put on a great conference.

Key topics for this year centred around Windows Azure and Windows 8.1. Agile methodologies also featured in the program, with sessions devoted to agile estimations and making agile methodologies work. The key takeaway from the latter session was that agile methodologies need not be followed to the rule book anymore and often a hybrid approach is the best option for a project. Kanban, XP and Scrum can be Frankensteined together, taking the most suitable parts of each methodology depending on the needs of the project and team. I can’t wait to get a chance to try out my own hybrid methodology.

For those who missed out on Tech Ed this year, I’d strongly recommend going next year. In the meantime you can content yourself by ripping into some Pluralsight courses, including a few that are outside your area of expertise.

Posted by: Katy Sweetman, Marketing Director, Empired Group | 23 September 2013

Tags: TechEd, Microsoft

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