The second day of ReMix was a bit of a let down all round for me. I didn’t win the Ready Steady Talk event (not that I’d taken part to win, but it was a disappointment non the less) and the day’s talk agenda was poor. To cap it all off, the “sneak peeks” was totally devoid of any interesting previews of upcoming Microsoft technologies. The “sneak peeks” event was actually so bad, I left halfway through and went home. What possessed Microsoft to think I’d be interested in more tired old news about Silverlight, along with such things as an advert for an Xbox karaoke game, is beyond me.
The 20/20 talks were fun (these were a series of pecha kucha talks by some of the “community folk” and the conference presenters. This was the highlight of the day though. The low point was “Design with Microsoft Expression” by Arturo Toledo. As we all got a license for Expression Studio, I figured it would be sensible go along and watch a talk on how to use the tools. Arturo used some truly awful piece of software in place of slides, whereby the whole presentation was on a single “sheet” and he zoomed in and out and panned around the thing in a way that left me feeling near sea sick. On top of that, he showed us how to draw a mouse icon with fancy shading and how add a spaceship sprite to a game. Not exactly useful when 4/5ths of the room were developers. In fact I learned more about Expression Blend from Scott Guthrie’s Silverlight presentations.
The Ready Steady Talk event was terrifying and great fun at the same time. I’ve previously only presented talks to small groups of up to 20 work colleagues, so to go from that to talking to a hall full of hundreds of people (many of whom paid no attention as they were trying to eat their lunch) was an amazing experience. I’ve definitely got the presenter bug and – having had positive feedback from Simon Harriyott – I may even do a talk at a Brighton Geek Dinner in the future. Doing the talks also helped me with a problem I’d had at last year’s Mix:UK: it got me talking to people. The free Moo Cards provided a great way to swap details and I came away with around a dozen new contacts. Bizarrely, one of them was Andrew Shorten, an Adobe evangalist, whom I recognised due to him presenting the keynote at the London “AIR Tour” event.
I really enjoyed Mix:UK last year. I was far less impressed with ReMix. This isn’t a criticism of the event organisers though, as the venue was better and things were very well organised. My criticism is with the content. There was very little new information and it’s technical level was very basic. Last year, I knew little about a number of the technologies Microsoft presented and so I learned a lot. This year, many of the topics were the same, and almost all that was new since then had been covered by other Microsoft presentations. It’s a good event, but having been twice, I feel it’s an event that is only worth visiting once. I do not see myself returning to the Mix next year therefore.