I've really seen a quite few conferences so far - from small INETA events at local pubs to large-scale Microsoft conference like the PDC in Los Angeles.
But every year I visit the Microsoft WinDays conference  in Croatia I'm really impressed.
Why I am impressed, you ask?
- ... because of the fact that a country with ~ 4.5 million residents organizes a 5-day Microsoft conference with 8 (and at some points 10 parallel tracks) and attracts more attendees than we usually have here in Germany (and the conference is mostly held in Croatian).
- ... it's held in Opatija  where other people (mostly older people, to be honest) go on vacation. Maybe that's the reason why WinDays attracts many international, well-known and top-ranked speakers like Rafal Lukawiecki , Damir Tomicic  and my Thinktecture fellow Christian Weyer .
- ... WinDays is probably the only Microsoft conference world wide which offers two warm meals every day to its attendees. First around 1 pm, and later at 7 pm.
- ... that there is a official Microsoft Party every day, accompanied by one or two sponsor parties (you would have loved the HP girls) and the famous Heming Way  pub down in the harbor right next to the see where you could find mostly all technicians and Microsoft officials until late in the night (and greet them at the conference at 8 am next morning).
- ... or was it "just" the conference bag? Indeed, the topic of conference bags doesn't sound too exciting. It has developed to a common for conferences to hand them out, so today a conference without it is unimaginable, but the contents is mostly very boring. Well, not at WinDays!
The conference bag
Yes, that's not the "usual conference crap", but an original, high-quality Samsonite laptop bag! The past two years I had one (got at WinDays 2005 obviously) and I'm very happy with it since it's very robust.
Contents of this year's conference bag
Some highlights (besides the amount of party invitations) include:
- Webcam & Headset
- 4 port USB hub with cup warmer
- sun cream (very important since the venue, Opatija, is located directly at the Adriatic see and we had sunny 24 °C)
- Survival Kit (containing coffee and juice)
- ... and more.
The speaker's gift
And the speakers got a handy USB Powered Vacuum cleaner:
The conference shirt
The shirt showing this year's WinDays motive (it's the 7th WinDays).
Summing it up, WinDays 2007 continues the tradition and will certainly remain exceptional: this conference is really different!
Thanks to Luka Abrus  & the rest of the WinDays team for organizing it and making it that different.