So it seems I might have had better luck choosing courses than my colleague. Both of us are experienced programmers looking for info on new technologies. Here’s what seems to work when choosing a course:
Go for specific over general. Dejan Sarka’s talk on temporal data in SQL server, and Dominick Baier’s talk in WebAPI authentication patterns were very targeted — in Sarka’s case, to just one C# class and the way it could be used. Both were excellent, and full of ‘real’ information on exactly the type of code you might want to write tomorrow. My colleague has been going to more general talks, with names matching the regex /design pattern|unit testing|principles/, and those seem to be targeted to more of a beginner audience, or to someone who hasn’t been so actively following the industry.