I recently received a cold-call / cold-email from a member of the Angelbeat team. Before getting the contact, I had never heard of angelbeat and had no idea what they did. It turns out they sponsor technical conferences with leaders from the industry such as Microsoft, Cisco, and Intel doing presentations. I checked out the website and the content actually looked pretty good. They had people talking about up-to-date topics such as data deduplication, virtualization, and Windows 7.
The conference was pretty good. They had breakfast and lunch provided and just as the emcee said, about 50% of the content was relevant / good. The conference was probably a little more focused toward the backend technical people that frontend (eg. towards system integrators not business application developers), but it was still pretty good. I learned a lot about the push for data duplication and the integration the benefits it provides in the context of virtualization.
Microsoft and Intel Presentations
The presentations that really interested me though were the Microsoft and Intel presentations. The Microsoft guy was showing Windows 7 and explaining a number of the new features. I registered for their beta and release candidates, but never downloaded it since my test platform is getting too old to test new technology. They had physical copies available at the end of the presentation, so I grabbed a 64 bit copy to try to entice myself to get a new version. I won't go into detail on 7, but there are a number of good new features specifically focused around the UI. There is a new taskbar that better allows you to manage your running applications, a show-desktop hover button, easier window management (tiling), and more. Better yet, they are now more tightly integrating Virtual PC and have even come out with "Windows XP mode" which allows you to run your legacy applications directly in Windows 7 like a normal window, but using a Virtual machine so you get full native rendering of applications. For more info on running Windows 7 on old hardware, check out my other blog post.