Microsoft Tech Days 2017 Amsterdam

The Tech Days started with a theater show by Jaap Godrie and Walter Breukers about language - in the broad sense- God, Masaccio,  Al-Chwarizmi, DNA, the future and AI - the singularity (and spoiler alert: the singularity denouncing humanity). Now, it might not have been the right audience, but the story itself was interesting. A nice line (paraphrased) was "we walk into the future backwards, we see the future, but only when it has happened). A nice contrast to the closing keynote a day later. But let’s not get ahead of myself.

This was my first time at a Tech Days event, though I have visited the tech summits before and that was quite similar. Presentations here, were 45 minutes each and there were lots of different subjects. If you were playing buzzword bingo, you'd yell “bingo” fast on these events. Subjects were about Azure, Blockchain, Graph, Git, Bots, Cognitive Services, Machine Learning, IoT, C#, Visual Studio Code and 2017, Entity Framework, but also on more soft skill subjects like creativity and presentation.

I think all (or most of) the presentations will be released on channel9 soon. And honestly the ones I saw, were all worth the time.

A few of the highlights

"Transform your data into intelligence" in which Vincent van Wingerden showed his PoC to transform data (his photos from his car journey from The Netherlands to Hongkong) to intelligence. By using MS Cognitive Services, location tags, a data storage and power BI. All for less than 5 euros.

The session on Visual Studio Code was a product demo, and it worked: Code looks like one of the best source editors out there.

The Hands-on Session Advanced Scenario for Entity Framework handled smoothly. Which walked me through the basics of code-created databases and the ease of using it.

A session that was a homage to old school point-and-click adventures, like Space Quest, Monkey Island, Days of the tentacle and (even though shown in PowerPoint - but not mentioned-) Leisure suit Larry.  Edwin van Wijk and Sander Molenkamp build a Game-a-Tron 3000TM game-engine to remake such adventure games with the Microsoft Bot Framework (... because they can). It could also do text adventure input - and as a bot would learn and understand intent, of course, the "Give apple" doesn't need to be exactly typed like that anymore (as opposed to "Give Apple to Eve"). Oh, you youngsters wouldn't understand, nor why they would spend time on graphing down the graphics :)

The closing keynote Shift happens by Ruud Veltenaar was interesting (and a tiny bit uncomfortable), he did make some predictions of the future and mentioned that for real shift to happen, we need crisis. Everyone should work on one of the sustainable development goals and (not so much a prediction, but more of an insider knowledge) MIT will open up all its courses for free in 2020. Let’s hope that the democratization of knowledge and everything will become a reality. Though I remember that electric grid was proposed in the 1930s already by Buckminster Fuller. The idea is great, but humanity... needs... crisis first, I suppose.

I can’t wait to try out some of the stuff I saw at the tech days (specifically editorconfig for visual studio 2017, cognitive services, Xamarin [it’s on my to-do list for so long], live unit testing and yes, the Game-A-Tron 3000TM :P ) and I will keep the blog posted with my findings.


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