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TechEd from a non-tech girl’s perspective

It’s no secret to anyone that TechEd is a mecca for geeks, mostly of the male variety. If you’re a geek, and you’re of the male variety, then the chances are that TechEd is right up your alley. But I’m a girl, and a non-geek girl at that, and I was right in amongst it at TechEd. Here’s how TechEd went from my perspective.

TechEd 2012 shaped up well – techies from all over New Zealand and the world came along, and with lots of new releases from Microsoft there was much to learn and show off. We we’re also the first in the world to see the launch of Windows Server 2012 – our Intergenites Andrew Kosmadakis and Bevan Sinclair helped showcase the demo (if you’re interested you can read their blog about What Windows Server 2012 means for business).

And if my version of events is too non-technical for your liking, let Bevan give you a run-down on the  launch of Windows Server 2012 at TechEd.




The hub was bustling with all sorts of interesting gadgets and toys to play with – from a robotic photographer, a giant touch screen and, of course, our very popular race cars that rarely had a chance for downtime. Most of my time was spent manning the Intergen race cars – I did get to jump on and have a go, must I add, without driving off the track.


Intergenites at TechEd 2012



What was cool in the hub

Playing fruit ninja on the largest touch screen in the world (Perceptive Pixel) was pretty fun. But with a hefty US$80,000 price tag, I would not want to be in charge of fixing it on the stand.


Playing Fruit Ninja on a Perceptive Pixel


There was also a robot photographer aka ‘Roborazzi’. Loke-Uei Tan, Senior Technical Product Manager from Microsoft’s robotics division developed this neat machine using a laptop, Kinect sensors and a Canon digital SLR. He wrote the software using Microsoft’s Robotics Developer Studio version 4.  For the technically inclined you can download it for free via www.microsoft.com/robotics.

I learnt how to play checkers on a Samsung SUR40 which kept me enthralled for a while.


Playing checkers on a Samsung SUR40


The Xbox Kinect games were really interactive and we’re entertaining to watch. I still can’t justify the quirky and sporadic movements they make you do though.



Luckily I got to pop into two (non-technical) sessions over the three days. They we’re both pretty interesting and refreshing. Mark Baxter, Director of Storyshed presented a session on how to turn complex information into stories. Reinforcing the importance of images, colours, hierarchy and keeping things focussed. He also showcased some sneaky PowerPoint tricks on how to create an infographic without the need of fancy design skills or programmes.

I also watched Neal Cross, Microsoft’s Financial Services industry Director for Asia, who talked about world class customer interaction. He showed us how banking and financial companies we’re using interactive retail displays and touchscreens to change the way we do business, this isn’t too far away, and before we know it, it will be part of our everyday retail experience. I guess the best way to sum this up was his depiction of the future of a fruit stall. Imagine picking up a piece of fruit, holding it in front of a mirror and it reflecting what it is, the cost and nutritional value.  


The best giveaways

Some of the best giveaways would have to be the ones from Microsoft including, training vouchers, Ultrabooks, Xbox Kinects and helicopters. Microsoft had one rule for the big prizes though - you had to dance for it. At one point the whole hub was swarmed with 70’s dance moves, head bangers and pirouettes. My all-time favourite was Veeam’s ball that changed shape when you flung it in the air.


Microsoft dance challenge



Last year I didn’t get to go to TechFest, so this was all new to me and with several warnings that I’d be the only girl there, I was quite surprised – the best thing about this was unlike most events the girls bathrooms were free all night.




Posted by: Rose Harris, Marketing Assistant | 17 September 2012


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