Summit 2013 – Part the First

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
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Published on: October 16, 2013

While not technically the first day of Summit since the official start is yet to come, here are my thoughts on Sunday and Monday of PASS Summit 2013.

For many of us the week began Sunday evening.  Many, the start was not until Tuesday.  Others still might have started Monday or Wedneday.  My first day of Summit 2013 was actually last week as I began my travels to the East coast the Friday preceding SQL Saturday in Charleston, SC.

So, I want to share those experiences as a prelude to the events in Charlotte, NC.

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The event in Charleston was a first time event in more than one way.  This was the first time that SQL Saturday had ever been presented in Charleston.  It was also the first time that the organizer had ever a) attended a SQL Saturday and b) organized a SQL Saturday.

The event was successful.  Some of that success can be attributed to many factors.  One factor I think was the quality of presenters that was selected.  Another big factor was the responsiveness of the venue and volunteers to help resolve issues big or small.  Another factor was the general help of the volunteers.  And finally, the attendees were FANTASTIC.

One big issue that we ran into affected all presenters in the afternoon for one of the rooms.  The projector died!  I just so happened to have my projector with me.  When it became apparent that nobody would be able to get the projector to work, we hooked up my projector.  Whether it was a Surface tablet or a normal laptop, we got it working.  We had different connectors and just made things work.

As an attendee, I took advantage to see sessions by Andy Warren, Laerte Junior, Grant Fritchey and David Klee

As a presenter, I thoroughly enjoyed presenting on compression.  Even with Andy Warren (who is a really really good presenter) sitting in the room trying to offer distractions.

I also enjoyed taking part in the two different QA panels in two different rooms as two of the three afternoon presenters no-showed.  The QA panels were a riot.  In one room we had Andy Warren and Shannon Lowder.  In the other room we had David Klee, Steve Jones, Mike Wells and Grant Fritchey.  I tried to split time between the two because they were different topics and questions in each.  The room with Grant, Steve et al ended up being largely entertaining as well as informative.  Yes, Grant is still preaching NO PANTS (even three days later).

From there, I rode with Wayne Sheffield back to Charlotte to start the actual events of Summit – with a few left hand detours on I-26.  You’ll have to tweet Wayne (blog | twitter) to get more details on the Charlotte motor speedway (I-26 and left hand turns).

Sunday was a slow day filled with mingling and talking to people who I haven’t seen in months or a year or so.  Combine that with the opportunity to network with people I have never met, and then those with whom I have only virtually met – and it was a good day overall.

Monday was the day to really start diving into the deep end of Summit 2013.  This is the day that I was supposed to get to “Color with Crayons” during the precon by Paul White. I am still waiting for my pack of crayons.  I know that was all just said in jest by Paul on twitter.  The session was an advanced look into the Optimizer and Execution Plans.  The session did not disappoint.  I have a lot of playing to do with the stuff learned from that precon event.

Monday evening was filled with a networking party where I met soooooo many of the SQLFamily with whom I have frequently chatted and talked.  That event was worth the price of admission and then some (cost of the meal ;) ).  That event was shortly followed by a quick jaunt to the Friends of RedGate gathering a few blocks up the street.  Which, was another fantastic opportunity to meet and greet with more SQLFamily.

Tuesday is a bit of a different story.  Some people continue on with the precons.  Some people had various meetings to attend.  I was in the latter group.  I had meetings about SQLSaturday, Volunteering, and a meeting for Chapter Leaders.

Tuesday was capped with the Quiz Bowl that seemed to be over before it even started.  I think a good majority didn’t even know it was happening when it happened or that it had completed when it did.  Many were busy socializing or in a different part of the Welcome Reception where you couldn’t hear the announcements.

After the welcome reception (where the Quiz Bowl happened), I spent my evening at a bowling alley called Strike City.  There was an event for volunteers and another party hosted by Linchpin People.  The evening was filled with great networking opportunities and was time well spent.

Carolina Whistle Stops

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Published on: October 10, 2013

The SQL Crazy train continues chugging along this month.  The next two whistle stops are back to back in the Carolinas.

The first stop is coming up in just a few short hours.  I will be stopping in for SQL Saturday in Charleston South Carolina.  I have been selected to present on the topic of Compression.

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The lineup is pretty rock solid for this event.  And nothing like extending a bit of training to encompass the SQL Saturday events if it just so happens you had intended to be in town for the next whistle stop – Summit 13.  I’ll talk about that in a bit.

There are a lot of speakers for this single day event that I would really like to see.  Looking at the schedule, I don’t know how I am going to pick which session to attend.  Every single time slot has at least two sessions that I would like to attend.  There are only 3 tracks!  At least this will give me practice in selecting which sessions to attend for Summit.

The next whistle stop is in Charlotte North Carolina.  Charlotte is the home of PASS Summit 2013.

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Even better is that this year, the summit really does have a train – of sorts.

(Image is a link to the actual source at SQL Sentry – the sponsors of the trolley.)

SQL Sentry has been kind enough to sponsor the SQL Sentry Shuttle to help Summit attendees get around and see some of Charlotte while in town.  You can read all about it here.

Yeah – I will be boarding that train/trolley.

I have a busy schedule coming up at Summit 2013.  But, I am looking forward to meeting people and talking about whatever may come up.

Will you be at any of these whistle stops?  If see, say Hi.

Most Interesting People…

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
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Published on: November 21, 2012

Here are the most interesting people I met at PASS Summit 2012

 

Mickey Stuewe (sqlmickey)

Neil Hambly (neil_hambly)

Bob Hovious

Gail Shaw (sqlinthewild)

Ed Watson (SQLGator)

 

 

 

 

 

This is the short list of the many many many people I met while at Summit 2012 (the list is too long).  I appreciate the opportunity I had to meet each person whether mentioned in this post or not from the past week (Karla and Rodney Landrum, Tony Davis, Rob Farley, Jason Strate, Robert Davis, Wes Brown, Jes Borland, Martin Catherall, Tim Ford, Jim Murphy, Mike Fal, Louis Davidson, Kevin Kline, Jorge Segarra, etc, etc) .  This short list happens to be a list of people that I had a good amount of time to sit down around a table and chat for long periods throughout the week.  Some of them I even had the opportunity to chat multiple times.  They are all interesting for different reasons.  And some I have known for a fair bit longer than just this last week at Summit through online interactions and so forth – but I never actually met them until this last week.

Why are these the most interesting five?

I found them interesting for different reasons.  You should have your own list of most interesting people you met.  Here are my reasons for them being the most interesting in the order I met them at Summit.

Neil Hambly

I met Neil briefly for the first time at the MCM study group Sunday evening.  Two things that stood out immediately was his accent and that he was blunt and to the point.  Neil strikes me as a person that pulls no punches and tells it straight.  I like that.

Neil is very personable and very funny.

Ed Watson

Ed has an easy going southern kind of charm.  I met him Sunday evening as a bunch of us gathered at The Cheesecake Factory for dinner.  We sat and joked all evening.  We talked about amusement parks for a bit and mostly talked about a lot of stuff that was inconsequential.  Like myself, Ed has no problem having Cheesecake as a meal.  I frequently prefer to have my desert first, so thought this was cool that somebody else was willing to go against the grain.

I ran into Ed several times throughout Summit and we had several opportunities to chat.  I enjoyed meeting him and having so many opportunities to just chat and joke.

Gail Shaw

I have known Gail longer than any of the others on this list.  But I had never actually met her in person.  Like Neil, Gail will tell it to you straight.  She too has a thick accent being from South Africa.

With being busy at Summit, Gail was still finding time throughout the day frequently to continue to help people online.  That stood out to me quite a bit.  There are some very good reasons for why she was doing it too.  But in the true sense of giving of her time, she was making time to continually try and help people.  She was even asked last minute to fill in and present.

If you have the chance to get to know Gail, you will appreciate the opportunity.

Mickey Stuewe

The timeline for meeting Mickey gets a little grey here.  I actually ran into her the first time at the Exceptional DBA awards party.  We didn’t actually sit down and do a lot of chatting until Friday evening though.

Friday evening, a bunch of us met at the Crab Pot.  The food was really good and really too much!  There were about 12 of us in the group and Mickey and I were sitting across from each other.  We had a good long conversation about things from health to Summit to volunteering to performance tuning.

Mickey laughed a lot.  She also happened to be wearing her own design of SQL jewelry. Should you get the chance to meet her, you will probably find her laughing.  If she isn’t laughing – you should probably be able to make her laugh.

Bob Hovious

Bob (known as the Dixie Flatline on SQLServerCentral) is a grey haired gentleman with a lot of insight, good stories and deep knowledge.  Bob is a former lawyer and is a hoot. I enjoyed him prodding at Gail from time to time for a reaction.  Gail just played along – but it was fun.

I really enjoyed many of the stories that Bob shared.  Bob and I shared a lot in common and that is a big reason as to why we talked a lot.  Bob is a personable man with plenty of southern charm.  Bob is a good person and it seems to me that he likes giving back to the community.

Who are the five most memorable people you met at Summit?

Part of going to Summit is the huge opportunity to network with others.  If you are reading this, think about the people with whom you socialized during Summit week.  Who are the most interesting people you met?

T-SQL Tuesday #36 SQL Community

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
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Published on: November 12, 2012

Community – What is it?

Community is something that is improperly defined with words alone.  Community is best defined through first person experience.  Community is a feeling and a sense more than it is a definition in “pick your dictionary here.”

So how do you experience this thing we call the SQL Community (or SQLFamily as we have dubbed it)?

Let’s examine that question next…

Experience the SQLFamily

The SQLFamily has been really good about putting itself out there and helping others.  If you use twitter you may have become acquainted with the #sqlhelp hashtag.  If you use twitter and participate in some of the discussions streaming nonstop from various corners of the family, you can see how quickly you might have been adopted into the family.

Still with the twitter theme, you might also see on frequent occasion something posted to the #sqlfamily hashtag.  Personal news might be posted to this hashtag from time to time.  In times of personal duress, the family comes together to show some strength.  Though not as tough as what others may have posted, I saw this first hand last year when away from the family on business and my daughter had an almond experience of the third kind.  You can read about that here.

Outside of twitter, the SQLFamily has been very progressive in getting more training out to the masses.  This training comes in the form of SQL Saturday and PASS Summit.  PASS Summit just wrapped up on November 9 and was a rather large family gathering.

At Summit, you may run into some princesses, some kilts, and maybe even some red lights along with all of those really big names that you see on twitter, the intertubes and so forth.  Here is a bit of what I mean (all pictures used with permission by Pat Wright (twitter) and can also be found on his flickr stream here).

From the Princess (Rumor has it she will be starting a blog soon.  This Princess has a name and it is Andrea Allred (twitter) ).

To a PASS Tradition – yes those are kilts.

Maybe even some flashing red lights (this might have been after SQL Karaoke)

And rounding it out with the Community Zone (I blogged about that here).  You might recognize some of the SQLFamily here (Tim Ford (twitter), Sarah Strate (twitter), Allen Kinsel (twitter), Louis Davidson (twitter) in far background to name some of them).

And this was all from the Emerald City of Seattle.  We will miss you next year Seattle as we visit Charlotte.

Community in the SQL world is not always about straight laced SQL and nerdery about the product we dearly love.  But it is about relaxing and having a good time with your friends too.  And when you are in this family – there are many friends.  The family is very open and accepting.  When they greet you, don’t be surprised if they attempt to hug you – it’s family.

Conclusion

Thanks to Chris Yates for hosting the TSQL Tuesday party this month.  You can read the original invitation here.  The rules for participation are in the invite.  Check it out along with anybody else that may have submitted an entry this month.

Summit 2012 Community Zone

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Published on: November 2, 2012

 

 

 

 

Will you be at Summit 2012?

I will be. I will even be pretty easy to find on multiple occasions.  If you haven’t seen my schedule already – you can check it out here. You’ll probably notice that there are a few times where I will be in a very public spot helping at a booth of some sort (like the Apress booth with my book).

There are two times that you will find me as a volunteer with PASS helping out in the Community Zone. What is the Community Zone you ask? Well, it is mostly a place were you can just sack out on the bean bags (I hope they are LoveSacs – they are sooo comfy!). Not just kidding – though you could relax on the bean bags if you wanted.

From the PASS Summit Community Zone page, the CZ is a place to help you stay involved.

Want to stay involved in the SQL Server community year-round? Check out the Community Zone at PASS Summit 2012 and talk with PASS Community Evangelists, user group leaders, SQLSaturday organizers, and other SQL Server community groups about how you can participate.

The CZ is also a place where you can get some swag or get your game card to have a chance at some cool prizes.

The game card is for a networking game that involves you talking to and meeting other people at Summit.  Here is the full description in the email sent to me:

Networking Game:  We will start handing out the cards at the CZ when it opens on Wednesday. The game is actually two parts.

a.       Meet 10 people from outside of the country where you live and learn something interesting about their country. They will be required to write these individuals names down, along with what they learned, and what country they are from. We will have “icebreakers” and networking tips listed on the back of the game card to help them out. Once they have all 10, their card will go into the raffle drawing, which will be held right before the BoF lunch in the Exhibitors Hall (our drawings will be immediately after the Exhibitor raffles are done)

b.      Part two, the spin-off game from the above involves pics. The attendee who manages to get the most pictures taken of themselves with the people they meet, will win top prize. If we have several who get all 10, then we will of course do a drawing. We want to encourage folks to bring their pics by often, so we can copy off and possibly use in slides before the keynote Thursday, but also so we can get them up to flicker. Social Media will also be doing some picture contests, as well as several other fun social media games. The Community Zone will also be on FourSquare among other HOT Summit spots!

c.       Now the prize details:

For the completed networking game card drawing, the first winner drawn will get their choice between a Surface tablet or a $250 Amex Gift Card. We will draw a second person for this first game, they will win a MSFT Arc Mouse.  For the picture contest portion of this, the first drawn winner will receive whatever the first winner didn’t select (either the tablet or the gift card).  And we’ll do a runner up to this game as well, who will also receive a MSFT Arc Mouse. Great prizes, don’t you think!

I don’t know about you, but that sounds like some pretty good stuff to win just for talking to a few people.

If that kind of networking game isn’t your cup of tea, there is still the opportunity to get some daily swag. Each day there will be various new activities tweeted or written on the boards in the CZ.  Go do that activity and you can get some swag.  Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy – right?

So where is this Community Zone?  Glad you asked.  The CZ will be near the SQLClinic, Bookstore, Exhibit Hall and the Lunch Hall.  It is in the Skybridge on the 4th floor. Directly across from the CZ you will find the PASS kiosks.  I hope you are able to find it and come visit!

*PASS Summit logo is hosted by the PASS Servers and is merely present via a link to the PASS website.

Summit 2012

Categories: News, Professional, SSC, SSSOLV
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Published on: November 1, 2012

In case you have been living under a rock (I know it’s not under my rock), here is your notice that Summit 2012 is just a few days away at this point.

I will soon be boarding a jet bound for Seattle for a week full of all things SQL.  When I say all things SQL – there isn’t much exaggeration to it.

During my week at summit, I will be busy from pre-dawn to post-dusk every day.  That is  not an atypical experience for Summit – but the reality hit me firmly as I finalized my daily schedule for next week.

Since I put it together, I decided to share it so others may see all that may be available to them.

I arrive Sunday.  That evening after getting settled in, I plan to join the MCM study group (and maybe have the Sunday night NFL game on in the background).

Monday is a free day of learning hosted by Red Gate and their SQL in the City series. You can see the agenda here. After the event there is the after event social party.  That party overlaps with the Networking Dinner hosted by Andy Warren (twitter) and Steve Jones (twitter) at Gordon Biersch.  This dinner is a pre-registration event (as is SQL in the City).  You can register here (if they have slots available).

Tuesday is a big day.  Tuesday I will be taking the MCM Lab exam in the morning.  Upon completion I hope to decompress for a few hours prior to the evening events.  In the evening we have the Welcome reception/Quiz Bowl sponsored by SQL Sentry.  Immediately following that, there are two events at the same time.  The first is the Speaker/Volunteer party.  The other is another Red Gate event – The Exceptional DBA Awards and SQLServerCentral party. For those from the US, this is also Election Tuesday.  I hope for those from out of town you voted early or are sending in an absentee ballot.

Wednesday we jump into the sessions that I planned on attending (XE, SQLOS and Perf Tuning on my docket).  But in addition to those sessions, I will be at the Apress booth (booth 342) from 12:30 – 1:00 and Wayne Sheffield (twitter) representing our book. And before anything even gets going Wednesday, I will also be at the Summit Community Zone from 7AM to 8AM.  In the evening there is the Exhibitor Reception.  And for anybody into Karaoke – you can do either of the two Karaoke events at about 9PM that evening.  Don’t forget to wear your SQL Saturday shirt(s) on Wednesday.

Thursday I will be at the Community Zone again from 7AM to 8AM.  If you have a kilt – wear it Thursday.  I plan on attending the Query Tuning Mastery, Transaction Isolation Levels, and Recovering Lost Data sessions on Thursday. That brings us to the evening when we have the Community Appreciation Party that runs from 7PM to 10PM.

Friday we are on our last leg wrapping things up and hoping to not be overloaded by this point.  The session I am most looking forward to is the last one of the day by Paul White (twitter). I mean who wouldn’t want to end summit by attending a deep dive session into the Query Optimizer.  In fact I know Wayne Sheffield is presenting during the same time and he was hoping nobody would come to his session so he could attend Paul’s session instead.  Of course he said that in jest, because he wants to do his presentation.  But at the same time he really wants to get to Paul’s session. At the conclusion of this session, my agenda is concluded leaving Friday night my only open night.

I am looking forward to meeting you and chatting. If you see me, say hi. But please don’t try to interrupt my exam. ;)

Summit 2011

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Published on: August 11, 2011

Call me a slacker.  I have been postponing registering for Summit 2011.  I wanted to be sure that I had the week available in order to attend.

I finally did it!  I registered for Summit 2011.  I was stoked about it too.  Then I got the schedule for my sons’ cross country season.  I started worrying about missing region championships and had to come back and recheck the schedule.  Then I took another look at the season schedule.  I did this a few times because I didn’t want it to be true.  Region Championships are that very week – (Oct 12).  Now start the major dilemma.  I sure hope he will be running in the championships.

For now, I am registered for the Summit.  Come October, my plans may change relative to my sons performance and whether or not he will be competing at Region.

So, I hope to be seeing many of you at Summit.  If I am not there – you know why.

PASS Subcommittee

Categories: News, Professional, SSC
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Published on: March 31, 2011

In February I posted this post about the need for Volunteers for SUMMIT 2011.  I submitted my application to volunteer.  This past week I got word back concerning that application.  I am pretty happy that I have the opportunity once again to serve on a subcommittee for the upcoming SUMMIT.

What does this mean?  Well, I am really looking forward to participating and helping with the event in any way I can.  It also means that I will not be submitting any abstracts this year.  I have a goal in the back of my mind to some day submit an abstract for Summit as well as simply speak at more and more events where possible / feasible.

The restriction on submitting an abstract comes from the subcommittee on which I will be serving.  I foresee this as being an exciting assignment as well as an opportunity to get to know many people a little better.

Here’s looking forward to an Exceptional Summit in 2011.

PASS Summit Volunteers Needed

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Comments: 4 Comments
Published on: February 16, 2011

Well, we are coming around into a new year.  With this new year there is once again PASS Summit preparations that are well under way.  Time has come again for people to volunteer to help with PASS Summit.  The call has gone out!!  Allen Kinsel has blogged about it here.

For those that haven’t volunteered or helped in the past, it doesn’t require too much and there are many ways in which you can help.  Assistance is needed from abstract review to speaker ratings to some database work to being an usher during the Summit.  PASS has put together a little survey to help you in volunteering for the Summit 2011.  You can find the survey here.

So what do you get by volunteering to help at PASS?  You get a sense of accomplishment for having helped, in whatever miniscule way, to put on a pretty big Conference for the best Community out there – the SQL Server Community.  I liked helping out last year and have volunteered again.  I hope to be selected and wouldn’t mind doing something different this year.  On the flip-side, I wouldn’t mind doing the same things I did last year.

I know, this wasn’t much of a motivational speech.  Hopefully this works better for you – JUST DO IT.

Leaving on a Jet Plane

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Published on: January 17, 2010

Ok, so it’s not until November – but I am leaving on a Jet Plane nonetheless.  It will have been four years since the last time I attended PASS Summit.  This year, my ticket is already punched.

Missing this Conference each of the last few years has stung quite a bit.  I really enjoyed the Summit I was able to attend, and I learned a lot.  Getting to Summit 2010 has not been an easy task.  It took a lot of persuasion, negotiating, and begging (sort of).

Attending PASS Summit is an expense worth the effort to attend, and the effort to get the employer to help foot the bill.  Not only will the attendee benefit from this conference, but the employer stands to gain substantially from it as well.  The 2009 Summit published an ROI chart to help explain some of the benefits (2010 ROI is here).

There are quite a few people I look forward to meeting (Steve Jones, Grant Fritchey, Gail Shaw, Jeff Moden, Paul Randall, Bob Hovious and other SSCites to name a few).  I hope that they will be in attendance.  There is a great deal that can be learned from these people and this conference.

Between now and then, I will be watching for the schedule and speaker lineup.  I want to get a feel for the topics that will be presented and have my seminar preferences nailed down well in advance.

After the Summit, I hope to be able to share enough knowledge at work to prove the ROI.  I also intend to take what I will learn back to my local PASS User Group, so they would be able to benefit from it as well.

I hope to see you there (at PASS Summit 2010).

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