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01 August 2007


IT Convention UTM: An MSP's Perpective
Wednesday 1st August 2007

25th July to the 28th marked an IT Convention at UTM as never done before (at least in UTM, ;) ). It was organized by Kolej Tun Hussein Onn (KTHO) with Microsoft as the coorganizer.

There were several key events during the four days, manning the Microsoft Windows Vista booth was the prevailing one for all four days. And even in the hecticness of coorganizing the whole event, we had to plan and execute some sub-events which gives and exposure to Vista (especially) and other Microsoft products.

The simplest activity we did was called Explorace Windows Vista, or more passionately knownto the committee members as 7 Wows. What we did was to place 7 laptops at 7 locations with 7 attendants where each told of one of 7 highlighted features in Windows Vista.

It was a cool experience. From my perspective as an MSP, I had to tutor the whole group of attendants to understand the features they were supposed to demo/explain about. The guys were very compliant and passionate that they stayed up until three o'clock just to listen to me babble on about Vista. It's been quite some time since I've seen that kind of passion.

I then had to demo Vista and Office 2007 on Friday afternoon. Two half-hour sessions with quite some time for clarification on features and questions. There weren't as much response as we hoped for. I guess many were more interested in activities such as teh 7 Wows rather than listening to demos and talks. But anyhow, those that came generated quite an amount of interesting questions, thus it became quite the event just for the interactivity.

The next sub-event that took energy and and a LOT of preparation was the Vista Gadgets Workshop planned for Saturday 28th. The plan was to give away Vista Business (under the MSDN AA of course), but requiring the students to learn something before they acquire their copy of Vista Business. We targetted 120 Computer Science students, in 2 days of active marketting. We also targetted to accomodate all 120 students in 6 half-hour sessions ranging from 10am to 1.20pm. The students may choose their own time.

The active marketing we did was for one and a half days. Almost the whole of Thurday, and pretty much all of Friday morning. The excitement was quite something to behold. Fellow students came in groups just to know what it's all about. They even asked their friends to come along, putting the names down even over the phone. Nice experience.

The end response? It was so good that eventually we had to turn down people just because of limited seats! We couldn't accommodate too many due to limited computers and time for the hands-on. This is also due to the fact that we had to accommodate for the Vista Launch that happened on the same day, only later in the afternoon.

There were some setbacks however early on. Due to some constraints and limits, the computers just weren't ready by the 10 o'clock deadline. There were even computers that had to be put aside because of the limits in supplying power. The setbacks were overcome nontheless, although we did have to resort to some unorthodox methods of rearranging the workshop venue. :)

The workshop experience was also cool. I don't think I ever did 6 back to back half-hour sessions in one go! Man... It was tiring. You can guess how sore my throat was by the end. But then again, the fatigue only adds to the sweetness of actually being able to pull it off albeit with some setbacks early on.

The Vista Launch was done in the afternoon of Saturday 28th. At about 3 o'clock. The speeches aside, there were some cool gimmicks that the event committe did. They utilized a UTM Robocon robot to pass a hammer to the Dato' (oh by the way, the officiator of the Vista Launch was Dato' Dr Alias Mohd Noor, the TNC HEP of UTM), who then used the hammer to get rid of the ice surrounding a mock Vista DVD. The TNC then put the DVD into a CPU placed on stage. Then the Vista Launch video was played. By the end of that, balloons were dropped from above revealing "Wow of Vista" spelled out on the balcony of the hall.

Overall, the whole event was an experience to be remembered. There were a whole bunch of new people to meet. There were cool and passionate committee members to help us out. There was also a hectic atmosphere before and during the event. All of which adds spice to an event that creates memories and impact for the participants and organizers alike.

I guess that's all for now. Maybe the next time will be more interesting. :) I sure hope so...

'Umayr Sayfurrahman bin Ainullotfi
UTM Skudai Microsoft Student Partner.

"It was We Who created man, and We know what dark suggestions his soul makes to him: for We are nearer to him than (his) jugular vein." Qur'an [Qaaf:16]

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