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Category Archives: SQL Saturday

At the January oPASS meeting in Lake Mary, it was announced that the chapter would be creating a Board of Directors to help distribute some of the responsibility of running the chapter, and involve more people in the #SQLFamily. The board will also help in planning the Orlando SQL Saturday, held annually each fall. There were four Board positions available for the taking:

  • Program Director
  • Membership/Marketing Director
  • Webmaster/Communications Director
  • Treasurer

All four positions were filled, and I am quite pleased to announce that I volunteered for the Program Director position. Here is my new description within the Chapter:

  • Speakers
    • Seek out and invite potential speaker candidates
    • Review candidates abstracts for appropriateness and quality of training for user group
    • Confirm with selected speaker date availability
    • Provide selected speaker with all necessary information
      • Meeting  location
      • Directions
      • Hotel info
    • Create and collect speaker evals from attendees at each meeting
  • Meetings
    • Handle meeting space reservation
    • Arrange food order and pickup or delivery to arrive at meeting by 6:30

So without further ado; If you are a speaker, and will find yourself in the Orlando area over the course of the next twelve months, I would like to talk to you. We will be lining up speakers for a the upcoming oPASS chapter meetings, at a minimum of three months in advance.

We all have some really good ideas on where to take the Chapter in the future, and there are some exciting things coming down the pipeline. Stay tuned, 2012 is going to be a great year to be in oPASS, and the #SQLFamily!

I was looking for a topic to write my next blog post on, when I read Thomas LaRock’s (t|b|g+) post about helping the #SQLFamily give even more. Where should I begin?

The #SQLFamily to me, is what the Oracle (no pun intended) was to Neo in the Matrix. It is what Albus Dumbledore was to Harry Potter. It is… well, it is family.

I have run into the SQL brick wall, and summoned #sqlhelp – at seemingly all hours of the day or night – and there has been a response, a quick (witted at times), accurate response. I have visited AskSQLServerCentral to peruse the veritable KB of Q & A for ideas to add to my solutions. I have browsed the SQL forums and articles at Simple-Talk.com and SQLServerCentral.com and have found answers to some of the most obscure SQL Server questions and issues.

I have received a wealth of knowledge from the abundance of resources the SQL community has provided, and as many others before me, I have felt the desire to pay it forward. I have volunteered for PASS, ramping up for the annual PASS Summit in Seattle; I have volunteered for some of the various SQL Saturdays that have been held across Florida; I have answered some questions on Ask SQL Server Central, and I started this blog post – all in an effort to try and give back whatever I can to the community that has given so much.

I am rather fortunate to have met a number of the people that I interact with via the “interwebz”. Each and every one of the folks that I have met have been as authentic, and genuine as I could have imagined. Our conversations have been welcoming and informative, and I have gained friends in the process. I have shared thoughts, ideas, and barley with a lot of the folks, and the memories are true treasures.

The #SQLFamily to me, is priceless.

SQL Saturday 85 is in the record books. A great time was had by everyone that I spoke with, speakers, volunteers, and attendees alike. Shawn McGehee (t|g+|b), Karla Landrum (t|g+|b), Kendal Van Dyke (t|g+|b), and Bradley Ball (t|b) all did a fantastic job putting things together.

The planning committee tried something new this year in Orlando with room proctors to assist the speakers with eval forms, and a “five-minute warning” (not totally unlike the two-minute warning in the NFL, except maybe a little more subtle). All in an effort to assist the speakers, and get a better return on their eval forms which have been somewhat lacking in years prior. I would be interested in hearing from the speakers to see if they liked/disliked this approach, and what – if anything – they would like to see different next year.

Buck Woody (t|g+|b) and some of the folks from Pragmatic Works held Pre-Cons as a prelude to the day of immersion that was SQL Saturday 85. With seven tracks, and over forty speakers, along with no fewer than 23 sponsors, there was plenty of learning to be done, indeed! I tried to attend one session in each track, but the quality and quantity of offerings were so vast, making my decision was not as easy as I had hoped.

I spent the morning listening in on Buck’s session, titled “From Ground to Cloud”, and if there is anything I took away from that session, it was, “Don’t put your encrypted data in my cloud. Don’t even ask!” In reality, there were several good take-aways from his session, and I am looking forward to digging deeper into SQLAzure as it progresses through it’s life-cycle. Secondly, I paid a visit to my friend, Eric Wisdahl (t|g+|b) as he spoke about SSIS data flow buffers. Eric always has great content in his in-depth sessions, and I was especially interested in the performance gains in managing my data flow buffers more efficiently. For my third session, I stopped in to Rodney Landrum’s (t|b) “T-SQL Alphabet Soup”. As the name suggests, this was a fun one! Who knew there was a reserved word for every letter of the alphabet?! Not to mention, it makes for a great drinking game 🙂

Lunch was another new concept, with the speakers serving up some of the best BBQ in Orlando, catered by Keller’s BBQ. Here, the planning committee got a little creative and had some fun, too! The speakers all donned their aprons (some got a little confused and thought they were super-hero capes, but we didn’t tell them any different!) and suddenly they all became chefs. Jorge Segarra (t|g+|b) was the lone cannibal in the group serving up BBQ’d @SQLChicken to attendees, much to his chagrin, after he learned of his brethren’s fate 😮

Several vendors offered up mini-sessions during the latter-half of the lunch break, and the response I heard was that they were packed! This is great news, given the time and money our sponsors offer to help us hold these events. Being receptive and appreciative to them will almost guarantee a return visit!

Finally, after lunch, I stopped in to check out Bradley Schacht’s (t|g+|b) presentation on dynamic SSIS. (There was even a little slap-schtick comedy tossed into the mix with this one, how does that face feel, Jorge?!) This session was of particular interest to me, because I helped to develop an SSIS configuration database standard at a previous position, and any insight into how some of the best in the business are doing this is greatly welcomed. It was quite reassuring to know that we were in agreement on a vast majority of best practices with configurations in SSIS, and I learned that the fate of configurations in Denali will leave me a bit of a learning curve. I am quite OK with that, since I love to learn, and this career is one learning opportunity after another! In my final session of the day, I could not resist checking out Mike Davis (t|g+|b) and Adam Jorgensen’s (t|g+|b) SQL Smackdown (with @SQLBalls as the totally un-biased referee ;)) As is usual with the crew from Pragmatic Works, their session was as much entertainment as it was enlightenment. Jabs were thrown, pic were shown, and in the end, Adam’s T-SQL solution (even without being executed… un-biased, remember?) came out the victor! Not to be out done, Mike stormed off in disgust, and then laid a smack-down SSIS-style on the ref!

Andy Warren (t|b) stayed true to tradition, with his annual “book drop” at the conclusion of the event, and each of the sponsors had some really great raffle prizes to give away to a few lucky attendees. Noticeably absent, however,  was our good friend Jack Corbett (t|g+|b) who moved back up north earlier this year.

All-in-all, it was a great day of SQL learning. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, the lunch was the best I have ever had for $5, the speakers and sponsors were top-notch, and the venue was absolutely beautiful. There are plenty of pictures to peruse, so please, help yourself. See you at the next SQL Saturday!

(As a side note, this is my very first published blog post. There will certainly be more down the road, but I would like any constructive criticism that any readers would like to leave. I’m jumping in with both feet and not looking back!)