I attended the Vista Launch event at Moscone Center in SF on Tuesday. It was a large event but nothing compared to the Visual Studio 2005 launch that was here back in November 2005.
The first debacle of the day was that the event details and announcements all pointed you to Moscone West (same building where the VS launch was held) but it turned out the doors were locked and not even one poster was on the wall inside. I was standing around with a few other scratching heads thinking "Where's the 'Wow'?" Finally a guard came to the window and told us the event was taking place in Moscone North. So all morning you had large groups of nerds walking across 4th street over to the Moscone North entrance.
The main launch for Vista was in New York City and looked huge but in SF they still had both Moscone North and South halls dedicated to three separate IT Pro tracks, one Developer track and one Decision Maker track. I helped out with the Ask the Experts area and in between that I popped into a couple sessions on the Developer track.
SF wasn't cool enough to get BillG or Balmer for the keynote, instead it was done by Jeff Raikes, President Microsoft Business Division. He presented a lot of business cases for moving to Vista and had people demo the new OS as well as Office 2007 showcasing the new task oriented interfaces. My personal high point of the keynote was when he introduced the CEO of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company to discuss how Vista has made his QA department more productive (so that they can drink more beer, of course).
Among the local developer evangelists and Microsoft presenters, Juval Lowy, Deborah Kurata, Scott Stanfield also presented the new technologies in Fx 3.0, giving demos on Windows Presentation Foundation, Windows Communication Foundation and Windows Workflow Foundation. I also caught Nima Dilmaghani (local evangelist and all around nice guy) presenting on the new SharePoint integration. All in all it was an informative track for developers to get a taste of what is possible with Windows Vista and Office 2007. I assume it was equally beneficial for the IT pros (comments anyone?). I recommend attending a launch in your area. [UPDATE: I forgot to mention for filling out session evaluations, attendees received a free copy of Office 2007. So if anything else, it's worth it to attend just for that.]