Impatient and lacking in funds, I got real resourceful at finding deals. Many items were of their previous generation; new enough to work for me but often heavily discounted. Ebay was, unsurprisingly, a great place to shop. So was Pricewatch.
Last year it was thrilling enough that we even had this sort of event in Fort Worth; everyone in tech in DFW knows Addison, Irving, Frisco, Plano, Richardson and North Dallas are where you go for software and related events. It’s a circle of cities that has held tightly to this honor for years, and facilitated a self-fulfilling situation. Developers go because that’s where the events are, and the events are held there because developers go. Breaking into that cycle, even for a single occasion, was special in and of itself.