aspConf was, overall, pretty damn outstanding. Even better, the presenters recorded their sessions and they're rapidly being made available so you can watch anything you missed and rewatch anything you didn't quite grok the first time.

The Good

Two days of presentations across a variety of topics, for free? Yes. Please! All of the presentations I attended live were great and hats off to every presenter that stepped up to deliver. Huge kudos and thank you!

Azure

And, something I didn't think I'd find myself saying... I'm honestly psyched about Azure now after ScottGu's keynote on day 1. My go-to position with anything from Redmond is that it's subpar and whatever else is out that has got to be better (eg, I like .net but not EF, linq to sql, Unity, etc). That was the case with Azure when it came out too, but not any longer Unfortunately, I can't use Azure for my day job until they figure out PCI compliance.

But, that doesn't mean I can't start using some of that coolness now for some personal projects!

SignalR

SignalR was probably the star of the show. It showed up in presentation after presentation and it powers, with aplomb, JabbR which was the go-to back channel for attendee interaction.

The Bad

Several presentations I joined had audio or video problems at some point. One had to be completely scrubbed and moved to the next morning. Unfortunately, I remember similar experiences last year. I know the organizers put a good amount of time and effort into doing dry runs with various configurations beforehand. But, well, things still weren't 100%. Either Live Meeting is a dog or video casts to groups is not a solved problem.

The Ugly

There were some sessions that weren't just about the latest and greatest from MS. That's good. That's huge. At an event held by Microsoft and sponsored by companies that make their money off of the Microsoft ecosystem, we had presenters running people through open source projects that provide solid alternatives to everything else being pushed.

However, there were still complaints that there didn't seem to be many alt stack presentations. It's hard to blame the organizers though; they accepted every single talk that was proposed. So, it's on us. If we want to extend the field of people that know about Nancy and Fubu and Service Stack then, by golly, it's up to us to do it. Big words for me, I didn't present, I didn't try and get others to present. But, there's always next year ;)

Final Thoughts

The conference was great and, at a grand sum of free, an incredible value. I'm going to hold off on any further judgements/observations until after I've had a chance to catch the rest of the presentations.