PowerPivot, Presentations, SQLSaturday, Uncategorized

SQLSaturday Philly – Another Great Event

Coming pretty quick off the heels of SQLSaturday Chicago, shifted my focus to Philly!  I was really pumped for this one.  There was a lot of folks I consider my SQLFamily presenting at this event, some I hadn’t seen since the Summit.  There were also a lot of people there I had never met before which was exciting too!  I also have one of my best friends, Amie, who lives just outside Philly so was going to be staying a day late and visit her while out there. So I pick up my trusty sales sidekick, Kandy, and we head east! We went out on Thursday night. We had a client meeting we tried to get going out there but it fell through so we had some time to relax before the festivities started. Thursday night we had chance to go to Flying Pig Saloon. Was a nice little place with a good beer menu. Then Friday during the day we put our uber tourist hats on and went to go get a cheesesteak from Pat’s. We also got our first taste of the lovely Philly traffic 🙂


After worries that traffic would make me late and some issues with Kandy’s iPhone navigation, I make it to the speaker dinner. It was at McKenzie Brewhouse. This was a great place for the event. It was great weather to be outside and they had us out on back patio. Food was good and the space was great for chatting with folks.

Speaker dinner

I had the first session of the day. I definitely like having a morning slot. I can get my game face on and then relax the rest of the day. So we get to the venue bright and early. This SQLSaturday was actually held at a Microsoft building in Malvern. It was a beautiful facility and things were going just fine with registration. They had just an army of volunteers helping which must have made things easier on organizers. I always go find my room first and I get there and it was like a sauna. The building wasn’t geared toward weekend activity and they didn’t have air conditioning going at first. I am normally one to try to buck stereotypes but I am very much the typical freezing woman complaining about how cold it is. For me to be just melting hot in a room, normal folks must be on the verge of heat stroke. It got better after folks got air going but seemed the upstairs rooms stayed pretty toasty all day. Another slight drawback to the venue was that wifi was a no go 😦


So then session time comes. I had a great group in for my session. Lots of good discussion and people telling about how they are implementing PowerPivot in their shops. I had a slight hiccup in one of my demos but I got it worked out and was only a bump instead of a disaster. We ended up doing Birkram PowerPivot but it was fun and made me appreciate my audience even more than I normally do.


I then caught up for just a few minutes with the so fun Josef Richberg (blog|twitter). I was bummed I missed his session and he had to leave early to get back for son’s baseball game. He was in the zone with someone from his session going over SSIS so I then snuck into Karen Lopez’s (blog|twitter) session “Career Management for Data Professionals”. There was a lot of great info in this session. If you have a chance to catch it you should. Things such as keeping metrics on what you support but don’t break any rules or NDAs at the same time. One thing I am definitely going to start doing in interviews is ask “who do you follow?”. I think that is just a great simple question that can tell me a lot of who that person is as a DBA/Developer.

Karen laying knowledge on the folks.
Then came the WIT session. It was a bit different than most as it was in an actual session slot. I was always worried about those that are set like this as they go up against technical sessions. We had a small gathering for the session but it really was one of the best WIT discussions that I have ever been involved. Joshua Lynn was there and had a lot of great insight into motivating next generation into STEM fields, boys and girls.  He works with kids in competitive robot events. I also liked Erin Stellato’s (blog|twitter) “Lean Into It” mantra she shared that she uses with her kids when handling challenges.
WIT discussion

Then I was finally able to catch a session from Christina Leo (blog|twitter) and I mean FINALLY! It had become a recurring thing at all the SQLSaturday events we were at together that we always had same session time so never got to see each other present. We did have one session at the same time at this event but she luckily had 2 sessions. So I caught her session on server side traces. She is such a warm person and it shows in her presentation style I think. She also is a perfectionist and that shows as well.

The lovely Christina Leo

Next up I had a title catch my eye and went to see John Sterrett’s (blog|twitter) session “Performance Tuning for Pirates”. Not being from east coast and also not a baseball fan I totally didn’t even consider that his reference was for the Pittsburgh Pirates. So I expected more “Arrghs” and eyepatches but didn’t receive any. It was a really good session though and there was a lot of good references to tools to assist folks such as PAL tool on Codeplex.

John Sterrett’s session – See no eyepatch.

The last session of the day I went to Adam Belebczuk’s (blog|twitter) session on Service Broker. I started following Adam on Twitter and knew he was fairly new to speaking. I was intrigued to see his style and skeelz. He didn’t disappoint and was a really good session. Very engaging with the audience and you could tell he knew the subject very well.

Great new speaker Adam Belebczuk

Then on to the after party which was hosted by Joey D’Antoni (blog|twitter) at his own house! I know right?! He and his lovely wife, Kelly, hosted a wonderful party at their house for the speakers. They were just superb hosts! I had a ball with everyone as I normally do. Then I had a bit of an odd event happen. My friend Amie I mentioned earlier, she came and hung out for a bit at the after party. She is a friend I have known since college but like most of my friends and family, they only know my career as that I do “computer stuff”. It was an odd crossing of the streams but I survived and was kind of cool to have her see that side of my world.

The after party host by Joey and Kelly D’Antoni

Thank you guys in Philly for throwing a really great event! Thanks for having me! Thank you to my SQLFamily for just continuing to show me how friggin amazing a set of people can be!

Look at great crowd! Thanks Philly!
Presentations, SQLSaturday, Uncategorized

SQLSaturday Chicago 2012 – Fan-tabulous Event Again!

Continuing with super amped up excitement from the Free-Con, moved on to SQLSaturday Chicago festivities.  I have been really looking forward to this one.  I had a blast last year and it really solidified my addiction and love for SQLSaturdays.  So we head from the Free-Con event downtown to the speaker dinner.  It was held at Dave & Busters.  It was a good location and the space allowed for movement which was nice for chatting with everyone.  They also had pool tables and duck pin bowling too which was fun.  Food was good too so definitely a win for the organizers on the speaker dinner.  I left a bit early so I could spend some time going through demos and slides.  Word on the street was that there was a unicorn pool party later on but I’ll put missing that event into the win column as well 🙂
Then Saturday rolls around.  Get a workout in, grab a coffee and bagel, then head over to DeVry.  It was the wrong DeVry campus of course but someone points me to the right place and I make it in plenty of time.  I skipped first session to get prepared for my presentation in the speaker room.  My session was the second of the day which was a pretty good slot.  I like getting the morning sessions so I can get presentation out of the way then relax and enjoy sessions for the rest.  Then show time arrives.  I had a really good crowd (probably around 35 people).  I was in the same time slot as Mr. Ozar which is always disheartening but I was doing a B.I. topic so bit different audience than his.  My presentation went pretty good.  I always sweat the small stuff but just part of my nature.  And I always want to make sure I am constantly improving so just part of the process.  I had some great B.I folks in the room too which was very helpful.  I would not consider myself a B.I person really but want to learn portions of it better.  I was very lacking on my SSIS so I picked up this session topic as a challenge to myself to learn.  I don’t think there is any better way to dig deep and learn something than to prepare a presentation on the topic.  So it helped to have some very heavy SSIS folks in the room to assist with questions.  Thanks Bill Fellows (blog|twitter) and Norm Kelm (blog|twitter).  I got some good constructive speaker feedback in the end that I am definitely going to incorporate into this session next time.
Right after my presentation was the WIT panel lunch discussion.  I always love these and was very happy to sit on the panel when Wendy (blog|twitter) asked.  Wendy moderated and I sat with Erin Stellato (blog|twitter) and Shelly Noll (blog|twitter) on the panel.  As always we had a lot of great back and forth with everyone.  There were a few topics that popped up such as competitive team members and technical vs management (very much something I struggle with).  One of the main topics of the session were if you have to be assertive to be heard.  We also talked about aggressive vs assertive.  Great discussion as always.  I apologize for making folks watch me eat during this, my fear of missing a meal trumped fear of looking like a yahoo.
View of crowd from WIT panel
Then I got to sit in on Tim Ford’s (blog|twitter) session “The Periodic Table of Dynamic Management Objects”.  I wasn’t sure if I had ever seen Tim present and was very glad checked out this one.  You could tell he put a lot of time and effort into this session.  Had a great visualization (actual period table laying out and grouping of the DMOs).  A lot of great information and he has a great presentation style.  Definitely can tell not his first rodeo and he is swell and that shows through for sure.
Tim Ford getting his DMO on!
Next up was Argenis Fernandez (blog|twitter) and his “Troubleshooting SQL Server with SysInternals Tools” presentation.  Argenis is a super great guy and a new MCM so was very interested to see his presentation style.  It was a very good presentation and I took away a lot.  I wasn’t familiar very much at all with the SysInternals tools he used.  I have to admit I was a bit freaked out with folks trying to do some of these things he showed but still good info.  For example he showed how he got into a locked out system where you lost sa password.
Argenis doing the damn thing on some SysInternals
Last session of the day was Erin Stelleto’s (blog|twitter) “DBCC Commands: The Quick and the Dangerous”.  This was I think my favorite presentation of the day.  She is super great and had a lot of great information on DBCC commands.  She showed some very helpful DBCC commands such as DBCC SQLPERF(logspace) but also a lot of focus on integrity checks and corruption.  She went through a few examples of corruption and what you can do to fix it.  I think that’s super helpful to have some practice runs with corruption for new DBAs.  I envision that session helping quite a few DBAs in those corruption-sky-is-falling situations.
Erin doing a great DBCC session
Then hoping to up my karma points I take my dear friend Argenis to the airport to head back to Seattle.  Then haul it back for my favorite part, the aftermath!  They had the afterparty at the Hampton Inn in one of the convention rooms.  They brought in a KJ for the phenomenon called SQL Karaoke.  They had food brought in for folks from Famous Daves which was super nice.  I didn’t have to worry about making a meal out of appetizers and I didn’t have to worry about driving or finding a designated driver.  Could sit back and relax and visit with everyone.  I got to meet some folks from Twitter such as the very popular SQLCheesecake (aka Dustin Mueller) (twitter).  I am still an innocent bystander in the way of karaoke.  No one should have to hear me sing but I’ll be damned if they don’t keep trying to get me to do it.  They failed again but they are a persistent bunch so maybe one of these days I’ll cave.  Jason brought out the disturbing and supposedly foul smelling unicorn mask (I took everyone’s word for it on the funk…I wasn’t that curious).  Mark Villiancourt (blog|twitter) kills me at SQL Karaoke.  An honorable mention for his Gilbert Godfrey doing Cyndi Lauper’s “True Colors” but of course my favorite is his “Star Wars Cantina” to the tune of “Copa Cabana”.  Jason Strate (blog|twitter) also did some songs in his so wrong it’s right kind of way.  Then there were some who were super ambitious and went out dancing.  I hung back with several others and stayed in the lobby just chatting.  I felt bad hijacking Rob Farley (blog|twitter) into talking so late that he was damn near dilirious.  There were a group of us that I think stayed up till 2:00 just chatting.  It was so great!  I so love having the opportunity to hear the stories of everyone and soak up any and all advice they give.
Disturbing isn’t it?

Another fantastic experience at SQLSaturday Chicago!  All you guys who organized this did just a fantastic job!  It seemed to go really smoothly but I know that is because you guys made it appear that way.  I hope I can take some of that into ours coming up in Indy.  Thanks for having me again!

Presentations, SQLSaturday

SQLSaturday Chicago!!!

Time is flying by and it’s getting really close to SQLSaturday Chicago (#sqlsat119).  If you are anywhere remotely close on May 19 you do not want to miss this one!  Go here and register.  I got much love for this particular SQLSaturday.  This one really solidified my love for these events.  It was the second SQLSaturday that I had presented at ever after my first one in Nashville.  I had such a great time and met so many great folks.  I ate up every minute of it…all of them till 4:00AM in fact.  Everyone continued to encourage me and welcome me into this lovely, wonderful sqlfamily…I was just blown away!  So go…go now and sign up!  There’s even a session from Eddie Wuerch (blog|twitter) titled “Join Us! Getting Started as a Technical Speaker”.  Go and catch the bug like I did then make sure to come speak at my hometown SQLSaturday in July in Indianapolis (#sqlsat126).  Shameless…I know 🙂

Presentations, SQLSaturday, Uncategorized

SQLSaturday Atlanta – Karen Lopez Got Me in Trouble

Grabs your attention doesn’t it?  Not completely a shameless driver of traffic to my blog but definitely needs more explanation.  I’ll get to that portion in a bit.  I was super excited to get picked up to present at the SQLSaturday in Atlanta.  I don’t know for sure but Atlanta has got to be up there in number of attendees for SQLSaturdays.  Not only that but there were plenty of big names who submitted presentations.  And to top it off, it was to be my first SQLSaturday of this year.  Seems most of the ones my company picked to send me to go to last year were in the spring/summer so I was coming out of a SQLSaturday drought.

I had the first session of the day which was very nice.  I had never had that slot before but was great.  I was able get in early and make sure could get the projector working without pestering previous presenter. Plus getting it over and being able to relax and get my learn on the rest of the day was fabulous.  My presentation went pretty well.  Had a great engaged audience who gave input during and didn’t seem to glaze over.  I get to the end though and realize I was 10 minutes early.  Caught me off guard as I gave this one couple times and was before trying to cram it all in with no time to spare.  I was really kind of pissed at myself and was determined to figure out what I missed.  I did and put that info into my last blog so the demons were exorcised and I feel like I learned a lesson presenting too.  I need to make sure I really think about the audience perspective.  I was afraid I was getting too deep into each task in my SSIS package.  I wrote the package so it’s old hat to me and I understand the thing inside and out.  They have never seen it before so I need to make sure to explain it well so folks aren’t lost.

I then went first to fulfill some booth duties with Kandy (sales gal from Perpetual Technologies) but was distracted by conversations with old and new friends.  She has been to SQL events with me and knew how I get at these.  She ended up turning me loose.  It was like trying to keep the kid in candy store tethered with one of those backpack leashes.  Next time anyone catches her at an event, make sure to sing her praises and compliment her out the wazoo (she’s the beautiful tall blond).  Then I caught lunch out in the Georgia sunshine with more great sqlpeeps.

The rest of the day I caught every session I could.  Up first I caught a bit of the sales pitch lunch for Red Gate from Grant Fritchey (blog|twitter) just for fun just because he’s swell.  Then I just HAD to go catch a PowerShell session and who better to do that than Mr. Scripting Guy himself, Ed Wilson.  I have read his site forever but never attended a presentation.  He was super fun to watch and was a good session.  Up next after that was Julie Smith (blog|twitter) and Rob Volk’s (blog|twitter) joint presentation.  I seen Julie on her blog and really enjoyed some of her work on SSIS so really wanted to see her present.  They both have a great sense of humor and it came through in this session.  After that I caught Stuart Ainsworth’s (blog|twitter) session on “biggish data”.  After he mentioned that he had been bleeped in sessions before I knew it would be an enjoyable presentation and it was.

Then came the after party at Season 52 Restaurant and Brewery.  The after parties are my favorite parts.  I love a good beer and SQL peeps so those combined is like chocolate covered loveliness wrapped in rainbow.  I began the night meeting some really great PowerShell folks such as Jim Christopher (blog|twitter) and Jon Boulineau (blog|twitter).  I was so impressed that Atlanta had a full track on PowerShell.  I still don’t get it but PowerShell for some reason gets no love from some.  Was great to get to meet and chat with Adam Mechanic (blog|twitter).  I got some really good info on planning for the event from Aaron Nelson (blog|twitter) to take back home for SQLSaturday Indy (#sqlsat126).  I got some of Stacia Misner’s (blog|twitter) journey that brought her into IT and the SQL world.  So many great folks I met or old friends that caught up with that night.  All the while my sales gal Kandy was letting me do my networking thing but sat at the bar and waited on me to make sure I had a ride.  Later in the night I was especially excited to be able to chat with Karen Lopez (blog|twitter).  I had been at events where she was but hadn’t gotten to talk to her fully yet.  I’ve mentioned my “intellectual crushes” in previous blog posts.  She is definitely super high on that list.  In fact, I’m not sure she ever responded to me fully on if I get to carry the boom box in her entourage but I’m still hopeful.  Around this time folks began heading back to hotel so she said I could catch a ride with her and Denny Cherry (blog|twitter).  Without a hesitation in the world I said “Ok” and may have giggled like a school girl.  Now I mentioned the beer earlier and that of course didn’t help my star struck situation but I completely forgot about Kandy.  I was rightfully very in the doghouse with her but being the lovely person she is, forgave me later and even traveled back to Indy without punching me at all.  I am still waiting on a mafioso style favor to be asked at some point but totally will be deserved.

I had an over the moon blast at SQLSaturday Atlanta!  A few of the lessons learned are below:

1.  Never ever leave your wingman!

2.  Don’t over think your presentations and talk yourself out of giving enough information.

3.  Make sure to keep your food to beer ratio at good levels for a small Asian girl, not a lumberjack.

4.  Christina Leo (blog|twitter) was not kidding and does keep kettlebells in her car at all times.

5.  The SQL Server community is friggin awesome!

Presentations, SSIS

Performance Tuning 2012 SSIS Data Loads Slides, Scripts, and Missing Atlanta Info

Had another chance to give my new SSIS 2012 presentation this weekend for the fine folks in Atlanta.  Everything went pretty well but was surprised when I ended it a bit earlier than I had been when giving it to groups before.  Aggravated at myself I was determined to figure out what I was missing.  I had been mulling over if I was going over a bit overboard with the portion stepping through tasks in my SSIS packages.  I think I had that in the back of my mind giving it as I explained the data flows a bit more loosely than I had been.  By doing that I missed the portion allowed me to talk about a couple super lovely new SSIS expression functions: TOKEN and TOKENCOUNT.  In order for my conscience to rest I explain them a bit below.

Syntax:  TOKENCOUNT(character_expression, delimiter_string)
Example:  TOKENCOUNT("John,Paul,George,Ringo", ",")

TOKENCOUNT then gives you the number of items that are broken up by your delimiters. The same example above passed to TOKENCOUNT will give you 4…totally helpful to determine how many Beatles you have.

Syntax:  TOKEN(character_expression, delimiter_string, occurrence)
Example:  TOKEN("John,Paul,George,Ringo", ",", 1)

In this example above it will give you “John”. And it’s TOKEN that breaks up the Beatles this time, not Yoko. (So sorry but I couldn’t pass up a joke that cheesy.)

These functions can definitely help out in scenarios where you are breaking out fields in delimited files instead of the FINDSTRING/SUBSTRING ugly gymnastics you normally have to do prior to 2012. Sorry Atlanta for short changing you out of the information.

My slides are available here.  The script is available here.

I will be getting out more on the experience of the fan-tabulous event very soon.

PowerShell, Presentations, Uncategorized

IndyPass Presentation (May 2011) – What Can’t PowerShell Do?

I had a great time presenting at IndyPass tonight.  I finally got to do a presentation on one of my favorite topics…PowerShell.  The presentation overall went well I think.  I had a lot of good engaging questions and some good feedback on it right away…good signs in my book anyway.  It was the first time I had done this particular presentation so a few minor things I will work on but I will put this one in the win column.  I had some folks who were anxious too for me to get info up on my blog so here I am doing just that.  If any of you guys who were there have any suggestions to make it, as I said tonight “moe betta” please let me know.  It appears I can only upload certain files so I put all the scripts into a combined word document.  Here are scripts and the slide deck.  I hope these are helpful and get everyone going down the road of using PowerShell.  It’s a great tool to have in your admin arsenal.


SQL Saturday Olympia Recap

  • That weekend was a bit of a whirlwind adventure but good stuff all the same!  I left Friday morning to head over to Olympia Washington for the SQL Saturday to do a presentation. Was excited to get over that way for a SQL event (hopefully another one in October as well but that’s a work in progress).  There were a lot of folks I hadn’t met yet so was pumped.  We got out there in time to catch the speaker dinner which was really nice.  Got to meet some really nice folks like Rick Morelan twitter | blog.
  • Then comes the event.  The hard part is always having to choose which sessions to attend.  I caught Greg Larsen’s nice one with an Alice in Wonderland back story.  Then came one of my favorite topics…PowerShell.  You can’t tell from my lack of blogness about it but highly addicted to Powershell.  I guess my only tech blogs so far are ones devoted to it so guess that’s at least saying something.  So I was excited to catch Nicholas Cain’s twitter | blog session on it and was bummed missed it the other week in Chicago.  Mr. Joe Cool Smooth was not fazed by demo VM issues with licenses.  Very good stuff and some nice nuggets I am going to try out soon.  Up next was my presentation right after lunch.  It was nice to have the time at lunch to get setup.  I’m always sweating bullets until the slides come up on the overhead 🙂  It came up so had that going for me but was a bit bummed.  There was one question I am kicking myself I wasn’t able to answer.  My new theory to help me exorcise those demons is to blog on them later.  Thank you to Scott Stauffer twitter | blog for helping me out during one of those moments I started to get flustered.  Its always nice to have those friendly presenter faces in the audience to help.  After my session the shoulders relax and can get on with grabbing sessions of others for the rest of the day.  My next one I attended was Buck Woody twitter | blog.  This was the first time I had gotten to see one of his in person so was very excited for that one.  Very good stuff on Azure but was really impressed by his style and presentation.  Some folks just have this presenting stuff down.  Then wrapped up the day with Ron Talmage (link) session on his experiences with data warehousing.  Love to hear folks actual working experiences so was a nice one.
  • Then comes my favorite part of these events…the aftermath.  I LOVE the networking that goes on after the events.  This one was held at The Office Bar and Grill.  So got to hangout with SQL folks, enjoyed a burger, and got to try a nice local brew called Mac & Jack (good stuff).  Got to put faces to twitter handles like Argenis Fernandez twitter | blog.  One of my favorite conversations of the night though was when I got to meet and talk with Mike Decuir twitter | blog.  He hasn’t done a presentation yet but is working toward it.  I’m still a very big newbie to the game but was very excited to try to pay forward some of the encouragement I had picked up a long my way and pass it on to him.  Go Mike! 🙂
  • The journey on the red eye back was like an epic struggle with layovers and odd ball issues but would do it again in a heartbeat.  SQL Saturday Olympia was a great event….thank you to all who organized it!  Is it possible to get addicted to SQL Saturdays?  Not sure but I may be on my way!
  • Here are my slides too for folks looking for them.