SQL Saturday #74 Recap and SQL Rally

SQLRally.ImAttending

Only one post this week as I am extremely busy at the moment.  I’ll do a quick recap SQL Saturday #74 and give some exciting news.  Unfortunately, my camera died sometime right before lunch.  Oh well: First up, the quick hits…

SQL Saturday #74

Night Before – Speaker Dinner

We met this year at Sneakers off of Baymeadow.  I’d say that I really liked this location for the speaker party as it had a lot of room to spread out and talk and it seemed that it wasn’t too loud to have a decent conversation.  I had a great time catching up with the pragmatic works crew and then settling in for some great conversation with John Welch, Andy Warren, Tim Radney and others.  I think it’s important to really step back and think about how the community interacts, how we can help others, where we plan on going on what the roles of the various organizations with which we participate should be in all of it.  I really enjoyed the night, even though I cut it a little shorter than usual to meet one of my good friends from Tallahassee who was coming in to stay with me and attend the conference.

By the by, I really liked the speaker shirts compared to previous versions.  I also thought that the attendee shirts were somewhat humorous, although I didn’t end up with one of those. 

Check in / Snacks / Vendors

DSCN1055The check in process, although sheathed in construction scaffolding, went extremely smoothly.  I was through the line within a minute or two and never really saw anyone waiting around too long.  There was doughnuts, coffee, sodas, water, etc waiting when I got there.  Also, there were plenty of vendors around, including a strong showing from the local community.  Lots of recruiters who were very eager to talk to people… which should DSCN1053be a good sign for those who are looking for jobs.  However, stretched across all of the fun stuff like twinkies, yoohoo, nerds and light up pens, my favorite vendor had to be t-shirt bordello.  Apparently they are a local company who does nerd humor t-shirts.  I loved their zombie stuff and am now proudly displaying the zombie survival guide poster in the office.  Not your usual tech conference vendor, but I think it worked well.  I sure hope that it ends up working out for them as I’d love to see similar vendors take part in these events.

Building a Professional Development Plan (Andy Warren)

Andy, bucking the trend and going hawaian shirtsThis session was a good introduction for how you should begin to put together a professional development plan.  The topic has come up several times in conversation with Andy and I think he and I see eye to eye on most of the points.  About the only thing that I have to say is that I have been in what he classifies as “hyper-learning” for several years now.  As a matter of fact, I’m pretty sure I have put in more than his limit of what we should do in a year so far in the first four plus months.  But, I see most of the things I do as more than professional development.  It blends in to the realm of self-actualization, so I don’t know if it is really in the same vein or not.  In any case, the presentation was well thought out and well presented.  I would certainly recommend it if you get the opportunity to attend.

Tuning Analysis Services (John Welch)

John Welch talks with his hands!I attended this session as a means to touch up on my SSAS skills.  As I haven’t really played around with the material since getting my BI MCTS Certification I feel like it was a good choice.  John walked through several methods for diagnosing and optimizing processing your analysis services cubes. 

Lunch

We had an early lunch with Pizza with the lines being slightly chaotic.  At lunch I was able to catch up with Josh as well as meeting a few new faces before heading out to mingle some.  Overall quite enjoyable.

What is this Cache and why is it so big? (Douglas Brendle)

I switched the sessions I was attending and instead caught this session on the effects which different query styles can have on your plan cache.  This was the first presentation I had seen Mr. Brendle give and I’d say that overall he did a pretty good job.  There was lots of good information on where it is that we might get into trouble based on the way that we submit queries to the database and how you can attempt to minimize these effects.

SSIS – Data Flow Buffer Breakdown (Me)

Ugh, Time for the gymMy session went relatively well.  I had somewhere between ten and fifteen people in the room.  This number seems rather low compared to the average I think, but I was happy with the interaction I had with the members who attended.  About the only thing that I have to say is that I definitely ran out of time before showing everything which I wanted.  But, it seemed like everyone liked what they saw well enough and I got a few compliments later in the evening from attendees.

Skipped Session

I was going to hit Devin’s MDX session but got caught up chatting with Sean McGeehee instead.  It was a pleasant surprise to see him at the event as I thought he was skipping out on it.  I also spent some time talking with Kendal Van Dyke, Andy Warren, and others who were taking the session off and relaxing near the soda station.

Iron Chef Jacksonville BI Edition (Pragmatic Works Staff)

A great way to end the day.  Jackassery to the nth degree with a bit of showmanship thrown in to spice things up.  Oh yeah, and some educational information as well.  I appreciated the switch of the content to peel away from the usual ETL / quick cube / report format to the differences between power pivot / share point / Reporting Services vs traditional SSAS / Share Point / SSRS.  I also really liked the throw in that the “contestants” couldn’t type themselves and that they needed to use people whom they didn’t know from the audience. 

After Party

I really enjoyed the evening spending time with friends, some of whom I hadn’t seen in several years, and new acquaintances.  The location, Seven Bridges, was really good this time around (the last time we were here they double booked the porch area and it was a bit unpleasant).  I’d say somewhere in the region of forty or so people showed up, which is a decent showing at these after events.  I’m still curious how we could potentially get this number up some since I believe that the after events and the corresponding networking can be one of the most valuable take aways from these conferences. 

SQL Rally

SQLRally.ImSpeakingAnd finally, I received information that I will in fact be presenting at SQL Rally next weekend.  There was apparently a last minute cancellation and my alternate session, SSIS Data Flow Buffer Breakdown was chosen in its’ place.  So, now I’m even more excited than I was about the conference! Hope to see you in Orlando.

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