SQLSaturday 200 Philly June 14, 2013
Sidelines no more! Speaking at the PASS Summit! May 28, 2013
SQLSaturday 211 Chicago – Finally A SQLSaturday Fix April 28, 2013
Hard to believe but this was my first SQLSaturday of the year! Lately I have done a decent amount of user group presentations which are great, but there’s something special about a SQLSaturday. Chicago’s was right after the PASS BA Conference so became an extension of some really great SQL goodness. I left straight from the last session to head over to Addison to get to the speaker dinner. The dinner was at La Hacienda so caught up with friends over margaritas and good food. We got a really nice, unique speaker gift: a solar powered phone charger. The tree hugging hippie in me loves that! Thank you again organizers!
Morning comes and I get to the venue at the DeVry campus just a hair before the first sessions start. I head over to the speaker room and chat for just a few minutes. Just then an attendee comes in to let us know that they had no speaker show up! Ross LoForte and Ted Krueger (blog|twitter) rush over to the room to save the day. Luke Jian (blog|twitter) and myself quickly follow to assist them. It turned into a really good discussion with the attendees over different aspects of being a DBA. The session evals were all very good so it worked out and very nice of everyone to jump in and assist.
From there I head to Erin Stellato’s (blog|twitter) session “Making the Leap from Profiler to Extended Events”. She is such a stellar speaker and this was a fantastic topic. I was a bit jealous of the topic that I didn’t think of it since it is a super common issue. Extended events is one of those features that are great but just is taking the masses a long time to come around to using. She did a good job showing it’s not such a beast anymore and some great things from Jonathan Keyhayias (blog|twitter) to make it even more helpful like his script to take a trace and convert to extended events. Bravo Erin!
After that I caught some lunch with a unicorn!
Next I caught Josh Fennessy’s (blog|twitter) “Demystifying BISM and Tabular Mode SSAS” session. I was caught off guard right away when he started as he said he had no slides. Say what now?! He did full session just talking and writing things out on the whiteboard. I was really surprised and impressed at how well it worked too. He had some of the best interaction with the audience I have seen maybe ever. I feel like I would flounder like a fish doing something like that unless I practiced it like a fiend. You rebel you, Mr. Fennessy!
For the next session I head to Neil Hambly’s (blog|twitter), “SQL Server 2012 Memory Management”. I am always surprised at how little presentations there are on memory within SQL Server, at least that I have seen. He did a good job though there were some quirks in demos. I knew talking to him earlier he had laptop issues plague him. Still was a great amount of info given and majority of demos went fine.
And last session of the day was when Ted and I gave our session on consulting. It is always fun to do this one! I was especially excited after hearing from someone who saw it in Minnesota a few months ago. He immediately went from our session to a consulting booth who had sponsored the event and began talking to them. They ended up hiring him and he’s enjoying the change. How cool is that?! Someone’s life was made better by a session I gave…there will never be better feedback than that! Session went really well and we had a lot of interaction. Always great too when other consultants come and participate. Thank you Allan Hirt (blog|twitter) and Rick Krueger (blog|twitter) for adding the perspective and experiences of a independent consultant! And thanks again Ted!
Thank you to the SQLSaturday Chicago team for having me as a speaker again and putting on a fantastic event! Thanks also to my friends and SQLfamily for just being splendiferously (make sure I get credit for that new word) wonderful!
Survived BA Conference With New Battle Scars April 22, 2013
Last week was a trip! I can say that now after some rest and reflection but was a bit of a different story while I was living it. I was selected to present at the very first PASS BA Conference. I was super excited as it was the first time I have presented at a conference of this level and not for lack of submitting. My nerves were a bit up to a level they haven’t been in a very long time giving a presentation. These elevated nerves kicked into sheer panic when the morning before my presentation I find…my laptop has died!! I begin frantically working on plans B, C, and D just to be safe (always the optimistic DBA). I am restoring databases on my drive to Chicago so you could say I was a bit rattled.
I get things functional and some odd kinks worked out in my demos in the morning but not early enough to catch the keynote unfortunately. I heard fantastic things about it though and Amir Netz is normally the highlight of PASS keynotes in my opinion. I had enough time though to catch my friends, Mark Vaillancourt (blog|twitter) and Doug Lane (blog|twitter) give their presentation “Hailing Frequencies: Analysis Services Terms and Concepts”. On my already frazzled nerves I sit there and watch as they start off with resolution issues which didn’t help the knot in my stomach. They handled it perfectly though. These guys are great and so funny. I love a presentation that has information and humor and they deliver there…big time!
After a little prep it’s time for my session. I get through it and demos went well but I couldn’t shake some of the nerves I had built up. And just like every session, I learn something. From now on I will set a timer to vibrate at 5 minutes before the end of the session. I was barely watching the clock, trying to concentrate on session and miscalculated time. I thought I was running long when I was actually short and wrapped up way too abruptly. I got some good feedback but I was kicking myself for a good long time for messing up on timing when in practice I had it nailed timing wise.
After the pressure is lifted a bit from my shoulders I take in Chuck Heinzleman (twitter), Gilad Elyashar, and David Magar’s session “Make Cloud BI Work for You”. I was afraid it was going to go super sales-y as some Azure sessions do but it didn’t. They give some good practical examples that didn’t have anything to do with bicycles.
After that things begin to catch up with me and decide that a nap is too good to pass up before the community appreciation party at the Lucky Strike bowling alley. On the way there I meet Greg Kramer (twitter) and we begin chatting. I was very excited to hear he’s getting ready to give his very first presentation soon for MADPASS. Then after stuffing myself silly with some of the great food I bowl it up with Neil Hambly (blog|twitter), Wendy (blog|twitter), Doug, and others. I should have stuck with bowling but from time to time I have the urge to see if I have spontaneously become a pool shark. Surprisingly that didn’t happen. Doug Lane said it best when he said I was more of a pool sea cucumber than a shark.
I was extremely glad I got up in time to catch the keynote from Steven Levitt (site) of Freakanomics fame. This was one of my favorite keynotes, well ever. I had read the back cover of Freakanomics and was intrigued but never actually read the book. Steven was very entertaining with his stories over the gathering of data for the book. You could tell the folks on Twitter approved too and those guys are a hard lot to impress. I definitely want to read the book now.
They always say at these conferences that some of the best material is to be found when you aren’t in a session at all. This proved true for the conversation I had over breakfast after the keynote with James Serra (blog|twitter) and Ted Krueger (blog|twitter). We were talking consulting gathering material for the session Ted and I give that covers different aspects of consulting. I don’t have any independent consulting experience and Ted’s is a bit dated so was great to talk with James and get his insight. Thank you again James…really appreciate the information. I continue getting info from James by catching his session after breakfast. He gave a lot of great information on data warehouse concepts and had a good conversational style.
At lunch I went to the PASS Community Zone for the drawing for a tablet. As I stood there complaining to Josh that I never win anything, Karla (blog|twitter) calls my name! I won a Surface! How cool was that?! So then I joyfully float over with cartoon birds following me to go catch the lovely Julie Koesmarno (blog|twitter) and Josh Fennessy (blog|twitter) session ” The Essential 8: Narrative Reporting Techniques”. Josh is a good friend so I’m a bit biased but they both did a great job. They both seemed very at ease and had great demos. Good information on snazzifying your reports.
I was so excited for the next session I caught which was Rob Collie’s (blog|twitter) ” Dark Matter: Domain Experts & Nextgen Spreadsheets Are Our Future”. I have been using and learning about PowerPivot since it first came out. I feel like majority of what I know about it came from Rob. I had never seen a live presentation of his but his blog was pivotal (oh yeah I went there) in teaching me and getting me through what I wanted to accomplish within PowerPivot. His blog always has a great entertainment value to them and his live session delivered in that aspect as well. I think this was probably my favorite session. I wanted to meet him but he had a large crowd gather at the end and I was anxious to hit the road for Addison for the speaker dinner for SQLSaturday. So if I had met you Rob I would have said thank you for teaching me PowerPivot and doing it in a non boring fashion.
Thank you PASS for having me speak and for putting on quite the shindig. I was anxious to see how this conference was going to go since it was the first one and was targeted at different folks than those of the Summit. I don’t know if you reached the audience you wanted or hit any other metrics to equate a successful event. I do know this gal came away feeling it was a success and I had a great time. And no it wasn’t just because I won a tablet but that didn’t hurt by any means!
Spatial Data: Cooler Than You’d Think Slides/Scripts March 21, 2013
Last night the SALSSA user group of San Antonio were kind enough to let me speak for them. I had a great time! Here are the slides and demo script.
The other night I had the great pleasure to present this session for the CACTUSS Austin SQL Server user group. I had a great time and really appreciate you guys having me out. Here are the slides and DAX functions.
My First MVP Summit March 2, 2013
I’m a little later than normal getting this blog post written as I caught the Black Death coming home from Seattle. Ok it was really the flu but probably fairly close in misery involved. This year was the first I was able to partake in the MVP Summit. I had heard a lot of stories from my MVP friends and was out of my mind excited! I had a little heart attack when I was finding out the timing of the Summit. I had a trip to Cancun planned with the husband for February very early on and thought was going to overlap with Summit. It didn’t but the trips were back to back though. So the week before MVP Summit, I spent lounging in the sun drinking fruity cocktails, I know a super sad story. So I left Cancun Sunday and traveled directly to Seattle. By the time I got there it was midnight Indiana time so I was exhausted. Got to the hotel in Bellevue and rested up for the next day.
I wake up bright and early since I’m still on Cancun (CST) time. I am able to catch up a bit more with my wonderful roommate, Audrey Hammonds. Then head down for breakfast and then get registered. I was so excited to see they gave us jackets! I always get excited at events to get something other than a men’s small polo. They are really nice jackets, thank you Microsoft! From there I head over to the first session. This is where I go quiet. There are strict NDA restrictions in place and you won’t see a peep from me on them. I will say that this was some of the best and exciting technical content I have ever had witness to see. It also helped me to solve the mystery as to the speed/depth people have content available after a release. It was also an honor to be a part of a group that had the privilege to give input and ask questions of the teams working on these products.
That just leaves the parties then. Every night was a welcome or appreciation party of some sort. I couldn’t help but to think about the costs that were involved in putting together such shindigs, let alone the work of dedicated folks to put it all together. The appreciation was not lost on me and felt throughout the MVP Summit. It seemed the theme of all the nights were eat, drink, be merry, and network. I am amazed at how many great people I meet at every single event. And of course, I got to be with some of the greatest people again, my SQL Family! I only get to see some once or twice a year so it was a great SQL family reunion. I had an absolute blast! The last night for me was at the appreciation party at CenturyLink Field. It was a very impressive affair! I wish I would have not gotten such an early flight but had been gone so long from my kids.
Thank you everyone who put effort into the MVP Summit! It was a wonderful experience that I will never forget! Thank you Seattle/Bellevue for having many great local beers. And thank you to all my MVP friends who continue to share with me their knowledge, drive, passion, and friendship.