First Week of European Conference Tour

October 16, 2009
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One week into my European Conference tour and I thought it was time to send you lot a update. My first stop was Sofia, Bulgaria to join the great folks at DevReach. I got in a couple of days early so I could relax and get my time change down.

The first day I arrived I did the worst thing you can do when you are going to be away for five weeks: I broke my laptop screen. Yeah, I know.  Here’s a pic of it (click for bigger version):

Broken DV7T Screen

I could try and do my talks with my netbook, but that seemed pretty impossible. So I inquired around and found out that a block away was a computer superstore (kind of a Bulgarian BestBuy). So I figured I just needed to a mid-powered computer that I could use around the office when I get home. One thing that you might not be familiar with is that the Bulgarian language uses Cyrillic alphabet so its very difficult to make out signs and such. At my hotel, the concierge was spectacular. He drove me over (remember, I am still hobbling around on a broken foot) to the store, waited for me and translated inside the store. Just what I needed. I picked up a little Inspiron N1545. Two interesting things about buying this laptop:

  • Most of the laptops for sale did not come with Windows.  Either FreeDOS (yeah, DOS) or Linux (Ubuntu for the Dell).
  • The keyboard has Bulgarian alphabet superimposed:

Bulgarian Keyboard

The broken laptop just has a broken screen, so I was able to use the data on it. In case you don’t know it, I actually keep ISOs and installers to repave my entire machine on my harddrive since I pave my machine about every six weeks. It saves me a lot of time (and saved my butt big time in this case). I was able to get the laptop up and running in time to do my first talk at DevReach.

DevReach treats the speakers really well and is great about taking us out to traditional Bulgarian food.  Here’s one of the parties with a lot of the usual subjects:


The ever-shy Carl Franklin was able to be coaxed into serenading the entire hotel:


I was able to catch up with the brilliant Tim Huckaby, Richard Campbell, Steve Forte and Chris Sells at the event as well.  I also got to meet a number of great speakers that I hadn’t had the chance to run into before. Its been a lot of fun…except…

The last day of DevReach I came down with a pretty bad flu. I’ve spent most of the last couple of days in bed and had to cancel my attendance to the Poland Code Camp in Krakow. I was really disappointed.

But as of today I am feeling pretty good and looking forward to heading out to the Netherlands in the morning to attend and speak at the SDC conference. I’ll be speaking about Silverlight and Oslo, with a little Windows 7 talk thrown in. If you’ll be around, don’t be afraid to say hello!