A few weekends ago I had the pleasure of participating in another SQL Saturday event. This time in Pensacola FL. Fortunately for me, my wife was able to make the trip and we were able to stay in a hotel the night before and explore the city a little bit. For having a somewhat small population (~55k) it seemed like a fairly large place with a pretty nice downtown district near the marina. I stayed at one of the few hotels that would let us have both of our dogs (A hotel 8 near the free way) and the only complaint that I had was that the wi-fi wasn’t working even though I had to pay an extra 3 bucks for it.
The next morning I woke up pretty early to do some volunteer work, helping out with the sign-ins. One of the only hang-ups of the event was the fact that the school where the event was being held was still locked when we showed up in the morning. Fortunately, we were able to get everything straightened out by 8 a.m. when sign-ins were supposed to start. I was given the stack of blank paper / nametags / etc to help with people who either hadn’t signed up or who had signed up but after the list had been sent to the printer. Overall it wasn’t a bad task and I got to talk to quite a few interesting people.
Unfortunately, as I was helping people sign in I was only able to catch the later half of the first session. I ended up going to the DBA 101: Best Practices Every DBA Should Know by Brad McGehee. It seemed like a good session for a DBA without much formal training (I have no formal DBA training myself). Next up there was a bit of a mix up as one of the instructors couldn’t make it and I was asked to fill in for him. As I was going to do so I talked to the instructor who was in the classroom prior, he had done a .net presentation and it was a .net presentation that had been canceled. As such, when he offered to do another .net oriented presentation I told him to go for it… but I was again late for the next session and decided to just sit one out.
The next session was one on "building the modern resume" by Steve Jones of SQLServerCentral. I don’t know how much I agree with some of the tactics; but as I don’t really know much about the subject I am going to attempt to try some of them out. Some of the tips included setting up at least on "Professional" point of contact on a social networking site – LinkedIn or Facebook were the recommendations. As Andy Warren has also been writing some posts on the benefit of networking, and his adventures with linked in, I have decided to set up a profile on LinkedIn.
Another of the recommendations was to create a professional or technical blog and try to post to it regularly. Try to keep most personal items out. As such, I will be trying to post less about personal items and more about tech stuff. I will also try to post about once ever week or every other week.
Next up was lunch. This was pretty good fare consisting of a roast beef sub, some potato chips and giant cookie. The food was good and there appeared to be enough of it to go around.
During lunch there were a number of presentations going on put on by the sponsors. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend any of these as I was sitting in waiting for the "It’s All about the Tools" show that was being put on as one of the presentations. I am not sure how I felt about this presentation. It felt a little forced. Some of the information presented was pretty neat, but they flipped through most of it as just a kind of highlight show. Good for what it was, but not really what I like to get out of a presentation.
Afterwards I attended another of Brad McGehee’s sessions; this time "Getting the most out of SQL Profiler". In a strange coincidence, I had just won his book dealing with the same subject perhaps half an hour earlier. A lot of the information that he went through was interesting, but I will have to look at the book in more detail as I am sure that I will use a lot more of the tips and tricks if I get to go through them at my own pace. Overall, the presentation was very good, although I was a little distracted going through my presentation in my head for the next session.
The last session of the day was my presentation on SSIS: Configurations, Expressions and Constraints. I felt that this went really well. (And, apparently so did the people who turned in the evaluations: I got 0 – 1’s, 0 – 2’s, 0 – 3’s, 2 – 4’s and 4 – 5’s). I think that I have done this presentation enough now to really feel comfortable with it and to present a lot of good information. Most of the people seemed to enjoy it and I got some good back and forth during the class that allowed us to steer in the direction which the class was interested.
Finally, the after party was held at a joint down near the marina named Rosie O’Grady’s. I had a good time and was able to sit down and talk to some other folks from the Tallahassee area as well as a few of the other speakers whom I had not had the chance to interact with earlier.
Overall, it was another enjoyable event. Everything was well organized. There was plenty of sponsors with good swag. The atmosphere was pleasant. I think that it was yet another good service provided to the community that went over incredibly well. Here’s hoping that next year’s will be even better.