CodeRage III - Not a Good Start for Me

Posted by Kirby Turner on December 1, 2008

I attended CodeRage I and II. The sessions were insightful and I enjoyed the concept of attending a virtual conference. With the first two CodeRage conferences I had zero problems listening in on and viewing the conferences. But with CodeRage III is only minutes away from starting I can’t say the same thing about attending this latest conference.

For starters when you register for the conference you have select the sessions you want to attend. Of course the standard disclaimer appears on the session schedule page “Agenda is subject to change without notice” so I registered for all sessions. This caused a flood of emails to arrive in my Inbox. “Big deal” I thought. I know I registered so I deleted the emails. Today I learn I needed to save those emails. Those emails contain the “join now” links for each session. Unfortunately since I deleted the emails long ago they are now gone forever. Only solution? To re-registered for the conference, so that’s just want I did.

To re-register I had to use a different email address then the one used in my original registration. If you use the same email address you get a friendly message saying you have already registered for the event. No s#@t! Since the system already knows I’m registered it would have been nice to see an option that says something like “re-send confirmation emails”. But noooo, so I completed the registration form again this time using a different email address.

Now I have re-registered and the confirmation page says “Thank you for registering for this event. You will receive an e-mail that will let you know whether your registration is approved.” It’s been 30 minutes and still no emails. And the conference has officially kicked off as I type the CodeRage III rant. Luckily someone on Twitter has offered to forward the emails to me.

Next issue. CodeRage uses Live Meeting. Live Meeting was a great service a few years back. Heck, I even hosted an online session a time or two back 4 years ago. Problem with Live Meeting is that it only works with Windows. Guess what? Not everyone uses Windows.

I switched to the Mac last year and the experience has been so good that I never want to see Windows again. Unfortunately that won’t happen in the real world. For starter I have customers who depend on Windows and I sell products for the Windows desktop. So Windows will remain a part of my life for the unforeseeable future.

The solution to using Windows on my Mac is VMware Fusion. This great piece of software allows me to launch instances of Windows in virtual machines on my Mac. This is how I do all my Windows-based development.

So what does this have to do with CodeRage III? I’ll tell you. Because I use the Windows virtual machines to do programming I typically never configure an audio device. This means no audio will ever play from the Windows-based virtual machines I use. But to attend CodeRage III I need to use Windows. And since my only access to Windows is through a virtual machine, I now need to re-configure a Windows instance to have an audio device.

So to attend CodeRage III I need to have a Windows vm instance with an audio device. I need to install the Live Meeting component. And I need to re-register or ask someone else to send me the emails with the session links. Honestly this is just becoming too much trouble.

At this point it has been an hour since I started getting ready for CodeRage III and I’m so annoyed that I just have to move on. I might try again tomorrow (doubtful) or just want for the replays to be posted in the near future (more likely). Meanwhile, here are some suggestions for future CodeRage events.<ol>
<li>Use an online conferencing solution that is not tied to Windows only</li>
<li>Send a single email, not one for each registered session</li>
<li>Provide a web page to registered attendees with links to the sessions</li>
<li>Don’t expect me to save 20 or so emails (that are flagged as junk anyways)</li>
Hope you are listening CodeGear.

Update: I decided I want to listening on CodeRage III so I have configured audio in one of my Windows development vm. But now I’m searching though 20 different emails to find the link for today’s current session. This is just plain stupid. Yes I know. If I used Outlook it would have placed an appointment in my calendar but I don’t use Outlook. Big surprise I’m sure. Too annoyed. Will try again tomorrow when I’m in a better mood.

Update 2: It’s been more than 2 hours since I started trying to get my CodeRage on and everything is finally working. Still, the experience has not been very Mac friendly. For instance, here is what happened when the 20 emails came in.

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