During 30.08.2007 and 02.09.2007 I attended the 4th edition of Microsoft’s Comunity Bootcamp as a MSP wannabe. All members of the MSP and MVP programs from Microsoft were invited. In addition, several employees from Microsoft Romania were present there. The location for the event was the Fantanita Haiducului Inn (The Outlaw’s Fountain) near Sibiu. Myself, Cornel and Adi shared a car (Cornel’s) to get there.
We arrived 15 minutes before dinner, just enough time to check-in. The first thing we noticed was the excellent service from the hotel. At check-in, each of us received a gift bag from Microsoft containing a bootcamp T-shirt, a pc game from Microsoft Game Studios(Halo 2, Rise of Nations or Age of Empires 3), the Microsoft Academic Resource Kit, and the schedule for the 4 days spent there. During dinner we met some of the many people there(less than 5 out of about 80). We already knew the MSP’s from MAP (Microsoft Academic Program) center of our university and spent most of the time talking to them.
Friday from 08:00 to 13:00 I attended presentations held by members of Developer & Platform Evangelism team from MS Romania on marketing and strategy and a presentation on the status of the MSP program in Romania held by Todi.
Todi’s presentation really touched me. He showed that MSP members are just a big family that is passionate about technology, pursues its goals and has a lot of fun along the way. I then realized that I would not regret choosing to be a member of this family.
After lunch, the fun part of the day began. Paintball, bow and arrow and paintball gun target practice awaited us not too far from the hotel. Because there were many of us, we split into 2 big groups of people. Each group had about 2 hours for these activities.
Paintball was played in a death-match championship mode between the 3 teams created. I ended up in the blue team. You can probably guess how the championship ended… Long story short, I got owned by a head-shot in the first round, and shot ridiculously in the leg the second. Not to complain or anything, but I think the blue suits we wore had something to do with the outcome…
Paintball was heaps of fun for all: Ciprian Jichici got blasted by several rounds after making a screaming kamikaze run towards the enemy when he ran out of bullets, a member of the brown team got a real taste of the paint balls through the mask (guess I was lucky I only got hit in the visor).
Immediately after returning to the hotel I had to continue work on the demo for Saturday. This night was the longest I’ve had in many months. The project involved using LINQ to query .NET assemblies. I was responsible for the flashy WPF user interface, but just kept hitting walls in reaching my objective. After finally giving up for the night at 4:30 in the morning, I had 2 hours of sleep and then skipped the morning presentations on MS’s technology focus for 2007-2008 in order to continue the demo. I managed to finish the code 15 minutes before we were up for DemoThis!, short demos that got graded by the public to win the grand prize: an XBOX 360. I am proud to say that our project, RLINQ, got 3rd place out of 5. Second place was awarded to a demo on Microsoft Robotics Studio and first place went to a showcase of an Imagine Cup project on alternative user input using a motion sensor on the wrist. There were two more demo’s on .NET Framework internals and a dependency explorer for dlls. I will write a post about my project once I’m satisfied with the outcome (UI still not finished).
Sunday morning was the time for presentations on business opportunities. A few members of the MSP program presented their businesses and the Microsoft’s Global Technical Support Center presented its offer.
All in all the bootcamp was an unforgettable experience. I’ve met a lot of people that share my interests and had a lot of fun.