I’m back from Redmond and the MVP Summit. It ended Saturday and you may be wondering where I’ve been. Which brings me to my first memory:
The guy behind me on the Phoenix-Omaha leg was hacking up a lung for about two hours and ten minutes. It was as annoying a flight as I’ve ever had. Whatever he had, I now have. It started with a little tickle in the back of my throat and it’s finally to the point where I can go to work. In addition to Hacky McSick behind me, the teenage girl in the middle seat next to me was under the impression that her ticket included exclusive access to the shared arm rest. It was quite a battle there for a while, but she made the rookie mistake of falling asleep. The moral is that I need to start flying first class or not at all.
It was another good time at the summit, flight home notwithstanding. We spent some time in my favorite Seattle bar, the Rock Bottom, and various other bars including one night at Zeek’s, a hole-in-the-wall pizza place. Good pie, though. I got to see a lot of old friends from around the world and met some new ones. Hanging out with the other Excel MVPs is definitely the highlight of the summit.
I met Nick Hodge for the first time. He and Colo made the late-night trek to the IHOP, thereby helping to extend a fine summit tradition. I also met Bob Phillips, who is the only person I’ve met that knows more worthless classic rock trivia than me. He admitted that he was there (London, late ’60s) when it happened, so that may give him a leg up.
I picked up a copy of Bob Umlas’ new book, This isn’t Excel, it’s Magic. I was honestly surprised at how much of that book I didn’t already know. Bob really knows how to push Excel to the limits. Mr. Excel signed a copy of The Spreadsheet at 25 for me. It’s an interesting little coffee table book that is an enjoyable read for techies and non-techies alike. I had him make the inscription out to my cousin, eBay, so it’s worth far too much to be sitting on my coffee table.
I packed the wife’s T22 hoping to get some work done during the down times/boring presentations. Well, there weren’t many boring presentations, but that’s not what kept me from being semi-productive. Microsoft didn’t have any wireless access points available. You would think they would set some up just for the summit. With 1500 geeks in your conference center, one or two might want to check their email.
And finally, we got to see a whole bunch of Excel12. I don’t know much about the other Office apps, but I think MS really hit a home run with this version of Excel. They’re going to get people like me (still using XL2000) to upgrade. There is a ton of really good stuff. It’s not all sunshine and lollipops, though. And as soon as certain new features, or lack thereof, are public information, you can be sure I will be panning them here. Until then, mums the word.