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This is Peter and Maureen Scargill's Spanish website. We live in Galera in Andalusia (for clarity, that is the English spelling - Mid-Spain they spell it Andalucia and pronounce it "And-a-loo-thee-a").

We've had a home in Spain for more than 14 years and it is now our permanent base though we retain a small home in the UK.

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The Spanish Technical Connection

It seems like a lifetime since I was last in Spain (actually it’s a couple of weeks) – after coming back to pretty decent weather in the UK last week, for 5 minutes…. then the rain started and hasn’t really stopped since…  I spent the first week back in a meeting-fest (which makes it hard to actually achieve anything) and I have to tell you  -the following weekend was not been something I care to remember – HOWEVER…. here I am in Barcelona at Microsoft’s TechEd.

This time it’s not a personal trip – it’s a business trip – Microsoft’s annual extravaganza at the end of VIA DIAGONAL in Barcelona is a massive affair with thousands of attendees – indeed thousands of British attendees for that matter,  in which we learn all about their latest and greatest. For the first time I’m not alone, attending with my FSB colleague Simon.

The flight was GREAT  – got my SPEEDY BOARDING and so the first seat on the front left of the plane  -spent the 3 hours chatting to a nice couple who similarly travel a lot – and got off the plane in Barcelona to brilliant sunshine – and Sunday afternoon was the last I saw of it.

After a brief cleanup at the “Barcelo Hotel Atenea Mar” – which turns out to be the WRONG hotel, the best part of a mile away from the venue (not to mention the absence of broadband which leaves me using my £8 a day flat rate Internet dongle for communications) I went off to the venue to collect my Microsoft bag of goodies – which this year consists of a t-shirt that’s too small and a bunch of papers which immediately went in the bin – a sign of things to come with a distinct air of cutting back.   On Sunday I took the opportunity to walk to the venue and in the process divert via the large shopping area just off DIAGONAL MAR. Despite what you hear about Spain and siestas –  open all day Sunday.  My colleague turned up late in the evening and thankfully the hotel did dinner till 11pm (a lesson to be learned there perhaps) and so we had a nice, quite intro to our week in Spain.

The keynote speech was pretty undramatic and there are way more technical sessions than I can handle. I intend to learn about new technical management techniques, software “as a service”, Windows 7 and the new language F# (pronounced F sharp) – I’ve already scoured the bookstore (30% off) having realised my current book on Javascript was written in 2002 – which in IT terms makes it an absolute antique and bought a cracking book on Ajax programming.

The problem is…. emails – they’re coming in faster than I can handle and today (Tuesday) I saw very little of the venue. I intend to shut the computer off tomorrow and get some training in.  Tonight could be a trip into town – I’m pretty partial to a walk up “La Rambla” though having missed lunch I’m not sure I’ll last that long without food! The photo above of the auditorium doesn’t even start to convey the size of the thing – many thousands of people there. So much to learn, so little time. Last night (Monday) they opened the exhibition and of course we all came away with pens and flashing lights but the key attraction was endless food and drink – which is a good start.

I’ve mapped out a pretty heavy set of sessions for the next couple of days, already learned a lot about the forthcoming Internet Explorer 8 – which considering the changes is knowledge worth it’s weight in gold.

Update 16th November: Some of the sessions went by the by in favour of non-stop emails and phone calls. We’ve been updating the www.fsb.org.uk website – well, updating is perhaps not strong enough – gutting and redesigning is a better description – and with 2,000+ pages redesigned I should have expected lots of calls.  We did however get our chance to get out at night as you’ll see in one of the photos herein – “La Rambla” at night is a very long street with a thriving market and endless restaurants and so we ended up in November sitting outside – lovely.

Some of the architecture in Barcelona is fascinating and you really need a few days to travel around and enjoy the best the city has to offer. This then was my third visit to Teched in Barcelona and most likely the last as I understand they are planning to change venue. A constant police presence reminds one that this city has it’s share of crime and clearly that message has had it’s effects on the organisers. Personally I was just glad of a few days respite from the really horrible weather we’ve been having in the UK and a chance to get into the latest technologies.  Windows 7 is just around the corner (yes, it looks like Vista was just a stop-gap after all) and Internet Explorer 8 has far more under the hood than at first glance –  though the current BETA kills my Exchange server 2003 webmail absolutely every time!!

My next trip to Spain will be with Maureen in Spain when we’re back to “Bedrock” armed with our new slate sign and hopefully some replacement gear for the webcam which appears to have given up the ghost – no doubt due to concrete dust in the laptop fan!

2 Responses to “The Spanish Technical Connection”

  • Peter Scargill:

    I would if I could remember his details – but by all means email Maureen (maureen@scargill.org) and ask her for the builder’s details.

  • Anonymous:

    Many thanks for sharing your blog. As we've just bought a cave in Baza, I'll be having a good look through when I've stopped panicking about the actual logistics of our build and move.

    I was wondering whether you would recommend your builder? We're looking for a cave builder but are having a bit of difficulty with finding one. We'd really appreciate any recommendations you can give. Many thnaks

    Jo & Jason