I have spent my spare time this week getting ready for Microsoft Tech Ed 2006, in Boston June 11 – 16.  This is the ultimate conference for anyone who works in the Microsoft technology space — 6 days of 7AM – 10PM learning, where technologists can meet with Microsoft employees and industry experts, while networking with other individuals and companies.

Needless to say, Microsoft has a great online tool for scheduling your sessions.  I spent some time this morning finalizing my schedule and downloading it into Microsoft Outlook (of course you can download your schedule directly into Outlook; would you expect anything short of that from Microsoft?).  I got a kick out of my schedule (pictured to the right) after everything was in there.  I don’t think I’ve ever had so many appointments scheduled in one week!  And that only includes my scheduled events — not to mention the all-day events like Hands-On Labs.

This year, I am focusing on (1) The new features that have been added to SQL Server 2005, (2) The new technologies being introduced with WinFX (Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation, and Windows Workflow Foundation, and (3) The new technologies being introduced in SharePoint.  In regards to SharePoint, I am excited to learn about the new additions to version 3, including workflow.  I think that these additions will really help small businesses to easily build powerful and extendable information-driven applications.  The keynotes also look interesting!

I’m planning to blog from Tech Ed during the week of June 11 – 16 to share my thoughts on Microsoft’s direction over the next couple of years, and the potential for today’s new technologies to help small businesses be more competitive by developing powerful applications on small business budgets.