I don’t know if I’ll continue to go over the recaps for the Jacksonville FL SQL Server User Group (JSSUG) meetings or not, but I figure I’d like to write a bit about the first two that I have attended as I really enjoy the community in my new home.
In October, after my first day of work, I was fortunate enough to attend the user group meeting where Troy Gallant was presenting on Failover and DR Options. There was a large crowd, probably between forty and fifty people, for this presentation. The topic covered was interesting and informative. Afterwards, Troy and I talked about how presenting to User Groups can be a bit more difficult than working an SQL Saturday because you just don’t know about the skill set of the audience. You have to prepare something that people of all levels will be able to pick something up from. After thinking about this for a few minutes I can see how this is probably the case. However, I must say that people have generally ignored my description of Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced for the sessions and just go to whatever sounds interesting. I got a chance to catch up a little with several members of the community, including Scott Gleason, Devin Knight, Brandie Tarvin, Plamen Ratchev and my good friend Kent Waldrop among others. Afterwards, the gang got together at the Jacksonville Ale House to socialize for a bit. Unfortunately, I got lost on the way there so didn’t make it.
This past week I was again fortunate enough to attend a meeting. This time it was going to be a working lab on Backup and Restore aimed at the beginner level specifically for those members who had never actually done a backup and restore. The audience for this event was a bit smaller, although still respectable at around thirty people or so. I’m not sure if or how the topics influence the number of attendees but I’d consider this turnout pretty good. I got there a little early and talked with Scott for a few minutes when he stated that he was tired and he wanted me to do the second half of the presentation. So, that’s exactly what I did. No prepared material necessary. We ran over the time limit but I think everyone had a good time.
Afterwards the group again went to the Jacksonville Ale House. This time I didn’t get lost. In my mind the after events and ability to socialize with other members of the community is sometimes more worthwhile than the presentations. I had a number of really great conversations with a few guys just getting started with SSIS where I was able to offer some advice. I was able to talk with one of the managers from Pragmatic Works about some of there upcoming training for those who would like to enter the IT workforce (I have someone in mind that I hope is able to take advantage of this great opportunity). And, I was able to catch up with old friends and co-workers – my old company has an office in Jacksonville.
I find it interesting to see how it is that people have reacted to the banter back and forth between myself and some of the other members of the community at these events. I have to wonder if they think it is strange to see a newcomer walk in and act as if he knows everyone. I hope that no-one feels that I am overstepping my bounds in any way. But, in a sense, following along with blogs, twitter and attending the conferences makes me feel at ease with a lot of these people.
On another note, I found out that about the same time I was leaving Tallahassee they were starting up a SQL server user group (http://www.tallahassee.sqlpass.org/). I must say that this makes me a little sad to have missed the opportunity to connect with the local community. I wish the new user group the best of luck.