SQL Saturday #15 – Recap

Dinner, Hotels, Conference Set-Up

So, it really seemed like this SQL Saturday gave me some mixed
feelings.  I really enjoyed my talk on
SSIS – A beginning framework.  I enjoyed
the SSIS – a beginner’s walkthrough much less.

Well, this one started with me showing up in Jacksonville the evening
before to try to make it to the speaker’s dinner on time.  I went to check in to the hotel, and low and
behold, the place was not to nice.  I was
expecting this as I was only paying $40 bucks for the room.  No big deal. 
After checking in, I was able to relax for about 15 or 20 minutes before
having to head out to find the restaurant where we were meeting.

This is the first time that I had made one of the dinners as
I usually just drive in to town in the morning.   I would have to say that it was very
pleasant.  I met some interesting people
and had quite a few interesting conversations. 
This felt much more like a “community” event than even the conferences
have at times.

After the dinner, returned back to the hotel and tried to
make an early night of it. 
Unfortunately, the walls were very thin and the people next door were
watching some bad t.v. and talking.  Nothing
overly loud, just normal conversational… So, it was a little later than I would
have liked by the time I finally fell asleep. 
I woke up the next morning with no problems and was out the door early
to help with setting up (I had volunteered for the conference as well as
speaking).  I did get a little lost
getting to the site, but nothing too bad. 
Luckily I had the organizer’s phone number and was able to get that
sorted out early enough that I was still there on time (7 am).  I helped haul in the various folding banquet
tables, drinks, coffee, doughnuts, etc for about an hour; we were able to get
everything up and running before 8 am which was the start time for conference
check in.

I spent the next hour during check in making sure that my
laptop was up and running, that it could communicate with the projector,
grabbing some food and soda, etc.  Then 9
am rolled around and it was time to start.

SSIS – A beginner’s walkthrough (Eric Wisdahl)

This session was strange for me.  I really expected to get some good audience
participation, but instead I just kind of kept rambling (as I am known to do).  I think that I gave some good information,
but I really am not sure.  It is a
presentation that I don’t know if I would like to do again.

I guess that the main problem is that one hour is not really
enough time to fully cover the tool.  I
tried to give an overview of what SSIS was, what it looked like as you were
developing, what the differences were between the control flow, data flow and
event handlers, what the most common tasks and components were, etc.  One of the people who attended my session
later told me that he didn’t care for it because it was more like and
introduction to the interface rather than showing what the tool was capable
of.  Another person stated that they
would have like to have seen more working examples.  If I were to do a session like this again, I
suppose that I will have to write a better abstract to more accurately describe
what I was trying to accomplish.  As is,
I also had a few people state that they really liked the presentation.  Someone even offered to buy me a drink for it!

Performance Tuning and Query Optimization (Plamen Ratchev)

This presentation seemed pretty well put together.  It had information that is relevant for the
topic and appeared to be similar in nature to many of the other sessions of
this category that I have taken in the past. 
Plamen was a good presenter and I enjoyed his style.  One of the oddities was that he was doing
multiple sessions, but it appeared that they were both based off of the same
slides; so we kept flipping past some and he seemed to lose his place once or
twice.  All in all, I would still
recommend the session. 

SSIS – A Beginning Framework (Eric Wisdahl)

This was my second session of the day.  I enjoyed it thoroughly and it appeared that
most of the audience did as well.  The
topic took me the whole hour, talking about as quickly as I could while still
explaining things as I went along.  I did
cut out some of the information, such as what exactly went in to the meta data
tables, but this extra information was provided here on the blog and I pointed
that out.  I have no clue if anyone will
use the framework as I presented it, but if nothing else they will see that
this type of process is possible and it will give them ideas for the future.

One mistake that I made was forgetting to remind people to
fill out the evaluations, so I am not positive what people actually thought of
the topic.

Things Go Wrong (Kent Waldrop)

This session was somewhat odd.  Kent talked about some situations
which he has been through where things have gone wrong, either in his personal
life or in a professional environment, and how it is that you can try to make
it through these bad times.  I didn’t
know what to expect going in, and I’m still not quite sure what I got out of it
after I was done.  I do feel like there
was some good information here; mostly life lessons, etc. 

Tips and Tricks for Dynamic Reporting in Reporting Services
(Pam Shaw)

Pam discussed a series of reports from her personal life
collection and from a former client.  She
interlaced tales of how her personal reports (all dealing with her family’s movie
collection) got to be the way they are via intermittent “requirements” from her
husband.  The session was helpful in a
way of dusting off what little reporting services skills I have.  It is always my intent to keep track of the
full B.I. stack when I go to a conference and this at least covered the SSRS
side of things, although I didn’t make it to an SSAS session this time.  My only complaint with this session was the
pacing.  It seemed to drag a little.  However, it was insightful and I would
recommend it for anyone looking to learn SSRS.

RESTful Data (Chris Eargle)

I don’t know exactly what it was that I was expecting from
this session.  I suppose that it was a
good overview of the REST architecture, and it had been awhile since I’d really
delved in to the .Net development world and that of the service architecture.  There were a few problems during the
presentation (such as the projector going out) and Chris had not had time to
run through his presentation before hand so there were a few glitches, but by
the end we did have a working demo.

SWAG and After Party

Finally, the conference drew to an end and it was time to
gather together for the SWAG giveaways. 
Unfortunately, I didn’t get anything… There were far fewer items to be
given away this time.  However, some of
the items seemed really quite nice (pass conference dvd set, training, sql
monitoring software, etc).

After the conference was over it was time to head to the
mixer.  I had a few good conversations
here, played some pool, had some finger food and was able to mingle for a bit
before having to head out (I had to drive home yet.).  I had a good time and am looking forward to next month when I’ll be doing another presentation in Pensacola!

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