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Lurching Out Of Las Vegas

Monday, May 16, 2005

The day after VSLive! wrapped up I stood outside the casino waiting for a shuttle bus to the airport. Unfortunately, the bus drivers seemed mostly grumpy that day and unwilling to cooperate, so another guest and I decided to split the cost of a cab.

The cab driver, a tall man with a cowboy hat, lifted our bags into the trunk while the other gentleman and I exchanged the typical pleasantries: where we were from, where we were going, and why we were in Las Vegas.

When the cab driver heard I was in software development he asked me if I ever developed any websites. “Yes”, I replied, “I’ve done a few websites”. Then the driver asked what database I had the most experience with. “Mostly Microsoft SQL Server”, I replied, “although some Oracle, too”. The next question was: “What technology do you use to write your web sites?” “Visual Studio and ASP.NET”, I say. “Really?” he says, “I like .NET”.

By this time I’m beginning to suspect I’m being driven by a software developer moonlighting as a cab driver, but before I get to ask he drops a loaded question: “What language do you use – C# or VB.NET?”

Now, my co-fare had no idea where the conversation was going – he was in town for some kitchen appliance convention, but I shot him a glance that said – “I hope you got my back – because this may get ugly”. We all know discussions about language preference are rarely civilized.

“C#”, I announced.

C# was an OK answer I guess, because we went on to talk about host headers, tablet PCs, and smart phones with 3GB hard drives inside. It turns out this fellow was a taxi driver who wants to start a website with forms for other drivers.

This would have been one of the best conversations I’ve ever had in a cab, except the automatic transmission was about one shift away from puking out gears and engine parts onto the road. Each time the car went to shift, there was breathless second of hesitation, followed by a head snapping lurch forward.

When it came time to pay up, I gave the driver a pretty good tip. I told him to download Visual Web Developer Express and jump into development with version 2.0!