How NOT to Demo CS2007 (and gain TechEd Infamy)

I figured this would be good for a laugh – especially as I had 90+ in attendance when it happened yesterday – which happened to be THE WORST public speaking experience of my life.

While presenting DEV234 at TechEd Europe Developers here in Barcelona Spain, I was most definitely struck twice by lighting from the demo gods – and received the lowest speaker scores of my entire life. This was the exact same presentation and demonstration I had used at TechEd US in Boston, MA in June 2006 and received the highest speaker scores of my life.

First, slide timings somehow got inserted into my PowerPoint deck. So, throughout the presentation I was constantly having to hit the Back button as my slides advanced automagically before me – and before I was ready for the next slide.

Second, and far worse, was the demo. During the first part – it was unbearably slow. I could not imagine why. It had worked great on the five or so previous run-throughs.

During the second part of the demo, the VPC rebooted right before my eyes – killing the entire remainder of the demonstration.

Why, might you ask? The answer was unfortunately all too simple. Have you ever seen those 3AM Automatic Update default dialogs when installing your system? It just so happens that 3AM Pacific Time equalled 12PM in Barcelona, Spain – in the middle of my presentation. Yes, Windows Update had taken control of my machine, installed a plethora of updates, and rebooted the VPC – right in the middle of my demonstration.

I have now added two must-do checks to my pre-presentation checklist. And I am feeling infinitely more secure, albeit embarassed.

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