My first Code Camp Oz was the best Microsoft event I've attended. It's basically a large user group meeting held over an entire weekend at Charles Stuart University in Wagga Wagga. Its a long way to travel but some cool people from the Australian .Net development community attend and it's a great opportunity to get to know them.
I found the meeting people aspect more interesting than the presentations which was the reason I came anyway, I can watch the Mix video anytime. I met an awesome group of guys from Albury outside a Silverlight 3 presentation. Due to lateness we spent the entire presentation outside chatting which was lots of fun. I didn't realize until I signed into Twitter one of the guys was Matt Hamilton who I knew of from his massive Stack Overflow reputation.
The Alt.Net presentation was one I'd penciled in as interesting before the event and was pleased find I shared common development values and principles with the Alt.Net community. I had a good chat with the presenter Liam McLennan and ended up hanging out with him a fair bit during the weekend.
Saturday night at the pub was good fun. I had an interesting chat about what was involved in becoming a Microsoft MVP and the value of vender certification. It turns out you don't need to have any Microsoft Certification to become an MVP which I think is good. For me personally I think there are other things I'd prefer to do to become a better developer.
An interesting aspect of the event was Twitter. I've never really got that into Twitter, but the constant background commentary and discussion really added to the experience. The informal way you can listen and contribute to conversation is great. It meant I didn't take any notes, but I can always search the #ccoz09 tags for quotes, links and photos from the event.
I think it would be really cool break from the power point presentations and maybe looking at some open source code like the ASP.NET MVC framework at this type of event. I could see this working with a series of presenters reviewing the architecture and highlighting certain areas of code for discussion. I'm not sure if this would actually work, but I think it could be really fun and interesting.
I was a little concerned my return train departed Wagga at 3am Monday morning and arrived in Melbourne at 8am, but I met a couple of guys to who gave me a lift back to Melbourne on Sunday and happily abandoned my 3am train.
Overall it was a really well organized and attended event. I extend my gratitude to Mitch Denny and all the people involved in making it happen.
Hopefully I'll see you all at Code Camp Oz 2010.