Ok so I rushed home to vote today, then disappeared down to a location between bank and moorgate stations for a geek dinner. Nice but difficult to find thai restaurant. Anyhow, turned up fashionable late in my brazil football shirt. Can hardly blame me, it was nice and warm in london today, even while I write this on my ipaq on the way home at 2300 its still warm enough not to wear a coat. Anyhow everyone else seemed quite dressed up in shirts, so I guess I was weirdly dressed. But it didn't matter everyone was very friendly. Anyhow it seemed about 66% of the people there were from Microsoft! I believe there were about 12-15 people eating in total. After dinner which was paid for by Microsoft, there was a free prize draw and everyone non-microsoft won something. Prizes ranged from One Note 2003 to a Samsung Personal media player. Yep guess what I won? Yep as you can see in my pictures, Official Windows XP Professional with sp2 included. Wow, I dont believe I have ever held a boxed version of XP Professional. And I certainly have never owned a copy.
After the dinner people started make there way home which was strange because usually people in London tend to stick around and have drinks or something. But it was good because I'm off on holiday tomorrow and needed to pack (but instead I'm blogging – whoops). I had some interesting chats with some people and swapped some business cards. I was assured that Internet Explorer 7 will have RSS support and that Longhorn may do (best I could do). There was lots of general talk about Languages and RSS at one point but we got stuck into the media centre version of xp before that. One of the guys working on Media Centre edition seemed a little surprised when I asked about the threat of the xbox media centre and hacked xboxes, he replyed with a usual Microsoft answer but admitted to that fact (it being a official answer, not being a threat) then moved the subject on to the media centre abilities which may be in Xbox 360 (yep he used that word not myself). I also had a very interesting talk with a lady from Microsoft about me thinking of swapping my tabletPC for a Apple Power book. She was shocked I would consider doing such a thing, and said I should consider getting a newer one which is lighter and without the keyboard.
Generally it was good night out and thanks to Microsoft for paying the dinner tab. Although most of this can be seen as suspect, I have to say all companies do this. I mean you only have to look at the way Apple went over the top on the tiger launch. You can also listen here. And honestly its good to see Microsoft trying to get down from its ivory towers and listening to the developers of the world (ok London at least). I'm looking forward to making this a regular monthly meal and I look forward to the next one.