I'm not in anyway formally associated Microsoft other than that I've been primarily using their tools to develop software for the over the last few years, so I was a little excited I was invited to Liberation Day in Sydney after placing 2nd in DevSta. I thought it would be great to see Steve Ballmer, infamous for this famous clip and this. He is, of course, also the Microsoft CEO and was going to announce Azure the new Microsoft cloud computing platform. He was sure to be entertaining anyway.

As I'd never been to Sydney I decided I could spend a couple of days on Bondi Beach with my girlfriend and drop into the conference and while I was there. I'm expecting to be looking for a new job from next year, probably not in Sydney, but I thought it would also be good to see who was there and meet a few people anyway. I was expecting there would be a couple of DevSta judges there too.

There were heaps of people at the event, I wouldn't be surprised if there actually was the 1000 developers the flyer claimed there would be. It was cool, I can't image an event with that many developers in Melbourne. It was streamed live and can be replayed on the Power To Developers site. I watched Steve get up and do his thing, and it was fun, not rock'n'roll, but fun. Unfortunately I wasn't feeling very well, almost feverish, and I had to duck out to find a chemist.

Gianpaolo Carraro's presentation attempted to demonstrate how easy developing cloud solutions for the Azure was with Visual Studios 2008. I thought it was pretty cool despite most of his demos failing in ways he couldn't have imagined. The Azure platform sounded pretty awesome, basically allowing custom .Net assemblies to be uploaded and invoked on Microsoft servers. He also managed to successfully demonstrate the cloud emulator for locally running and debugging cloud applications. I also really like the idea of being able to a write LINQ query joining two data tables from a SQL Server Service in the cloud.

Mike Culver presented the Amazon Web Services cloud solutions to the Vic.NET user group about a year ago and I think he sold their technology and the possibilities better. He showed the architecture of a video compression service that used a message queue service to queue requests and a controller application that can automatically rent, build and deploy servers capable of processing the requests. I thought it was pretty cool. I think Microsoft are a long way behind, but we'll see what the software giant is capable of. I'm certainly keen to get in and give it a go.

I still wasn't feeling well and missed most of Tim Sneath which was a shame, Brodie had seen him in London years ago but said he "knew his stuff". At the networking drinks I chatted with Michael Kordahi which was kind of fun, he'd judged my entry and he is a Silverlight guy. He introduced me to a couple of people, one of which was Jeremi Kelaher who does Strange Devices Podcasts. I also ran into Tatham Oddie on the way out who I'd seen present MVC stuff at REMIX and Vic.NET. I would have liked to have chatted with Andrew Coates who is a great presenter and was also a DevSta judge, but I didn't end up seeing him this time.