Nov 132014
 

My marathon week of #SQLFamily is through, and that means it’s time to start writing about it! First up is Red Gate’s SQL in the City in Seattle. Having been an attendee when they came to Chicago back in 2012, I was especially honored to be able to return as a presenter!

SQL in the City was held at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, a cavernous performing arts hall and the home of the Seattle Opera and Pacific Northwest Ballet. It’s located at Seattle Center, which conveniently happens to be the terminus of the Seattle Monorail. Even more conveniently, my hotel was only a block from the other terminus of the Seattle Monorail. Me, ride a train? Yes, please!

Built along with the Space Needle (and many other structures at Seattle Center) for the Century 21 Exposition (AKA the 1962 World’s Fair), both original monorail trainsets are still in service from the line’s opening in March of 1962. They very much look the part of what I’d consider a 52-year-old vision of the future to be. Even more impressively, they both have over 1 million miles on them – no small feat when the track is only a mile long! Only thing that could have made it cooler was if they warned you to please stand clear of the doors….

The trip there aside, the venue had all kinds of interesting spaces in varying sizes and shapes, and I’m sure I didn’t even see half of it! The massive tiered foyer provided an excellent space for networking and demonstration of Red Gate’s products, while the meeting rooms were the perfect fit for presentations.

The first session of the day was the keynote, “Ship Often, Ship Safe”, highlighting the capabilities of Red Gate’s Data Lifecycle Management (DLM) tools. After that, I headed to a talk entitled “You Did WHAT To My Transaction Log?” by Gail Shaw and Tony Davis. This was a hilarious look at ways you can make a problem so much worse by using *helpful tips* found on internet forums. Of course in the end they showed how to fix the problem the correct way. From there it was break time and some networking, and then off to Matt Slocum’s talk on 101 stupid things your colleagues do when setting up SQL Server.

After that it was time for lunch, and then I retreated to the ready room to make sure my slides and demos were ready for my presentation on Passive Security for Hostile Environments. I had a wonderful audience that asked a ton of questions both during and after. All the feedback I’ve seen to date has been positive, so I’ll go ahead and declare my session a success!

With my session all done, I headed over to Ed Leighton-Dick’s case study on SQL source control adoption. He delivered an excellent summary of his experiences with source control to a packed room – I ended up sitting on the floor!

Following that was happy hour, with drinks, snacks, and plenty of conversation. Every attendee also got their choice of a Red Gate book to take home.

All in all it was a wonderful day. A huge thanks to Red Gate for all their efforts in putting together such an amazing – and free – event that not only offers some excellent knowledge but also provides plenty of opportunity for interaction with presenters, Red Gate experts, and other attendees. I hope I can find myself at another one in the future!

 

Oct 272014
 

It’s my favorite time of year again – Autumn. It gets colder, the days get shorter, leaves change colors, and there’s that little annual event called PASS Summit. This year I have even more reasons to love it because I was able to work 2 more events into my trip: SQL Saturday Oregon and Red Gate’s SQL in the City in Seattle. It’s going to be an amazing week (which also means I’m going to be running around like crazy)! Here’s a partial list of things I’ll be up to and places I’ll be!

Friday 31 October

Flying to my 2nd favorite place on Earth: Portland, Oregon! (Nothing will ever top the Magic Kingdom for me.) I’ll be in town around lunch time, giving me the entire afternoon to get settled, see some sights, and visit the Columbia Store.  If time permits, I may also hit up the Oregon Rail Heritage Center (trains!) to check on SP 4449, the only Southern Pacific GS-4 in existence. Last time I was there, she was being overhauled.

Oh yeah, it’s also Halloween. I’ve never allowed myself to leave Portland without a trip to Voodoo Doughnut, but to not head there on Halloween would be especially sacrelicious. I can never decide which one to get, so I guess I’ll just have to buy a box…

Saturday 1 November

SQL Saturday 337 LogoSQL Saturday, Portland style! I’m very fortunate to once again be presenting! I had a wonderful time there two years ago and am looking forward to it again. I’ll be giving my talk entitled “VLDBs: Lessons Learned”, which is a great collection of tips and tricks I’ve acquired while spending the last 3.5 years working with databases 20TB and larger.

Sunday 2 November

TIME CHANGE – Yeah, not cool. I love “falling back” when daylight saving time ends, but this time it could seriously mess up my schedule if I forget about it. I’m taking Amtrak to Seattle (see? another train!) and forgetting to reset my clocks means I’ll be an hour late. Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen.

Monday 3 November

SQL in the CitySQL in the City! I had a wonderful time when Red Gate brought SQL in the City to Chicago 2 years ago, and I’m thrilled to be attending another one as a presenter! I’ll be giving my presentation on “Passive Security for Hostile Environments”, which has proven very popular. Registration is still open, so if you’re going to be in Seattle on Monday, sign up and join us!

Another extra-curricular event I never miss is the Networking Dinner, put on each year by Andy Warren (@sqlandy) and Steve Jones (@way0utwest). This year’s is at Buffalo Wild Wings from 6-9 pm. It’s a wonderful way to meet new people and see plenty of familiar faces as well.

Tuesday 4 November

Tuesday morning’s kind of up in the air for me, but I’m certainly not going to sleep in. This sounds like the perfect opportunity to get my fill of Top Pot Doughnuts! I’ll also be taking advantage of the discounted certification exam pricing available at summit. 50% off – it’s totally worth it!

Alas, there’s some official business to take care of – there are meetings for chapter leaders in the afternoon that I’ll be attending.

The official PASS Summit Welcome Reception is this evening as well, with great opportunities for networking!

Wednesday 5 November

Nothing gets the blood flowing like an early morning run (or walk)! Join us for an early morning #sqlrun / #sqlwalk, organized by Jes Borland (@grrl_geek).

I’m very fortunate to be presenting on Wednesday – I’ll be taking part in a panel debate on how to interview a DBA with Jen McCown (@JenniferMcCown), Sean McCown (@KenpoDBA), Adam Machanic (@AdamMachanic), and Michelle Ufford (@sqlfool) at 1:30pm in room 401. It’s going to be awesome – hope to see you there!

I haven’t completed my schedule of sessions I’ll be attending yet, but there are a few that I’ll be sure not to miss. One of them is Bob Ward’s (@bobwardms) annual half-day brain-melter session. This year’s is on SQL Server I/O. Should be awesome!

Wednesday night is the Exhibitor Reception – be sure to stop and talk with the exhibitors and sponsors that make this (and so many other) events possible!

The highlight of the evening will undoubtedly be #SQLKaraoke at the Hard Rock Cafe, sponsored by Pragmatic Works. It was a blast last time – can’t wait to do it again!

Thursday 6 November

On Thursday, skip the normal lunch and head to the Women in Technology Luncheon!

Thursday is also #sqlkilt day! As far as I can tell, kilt day has it’s origins back in 2009, but it’s grown to be quite the event. Keep your eyes peeled for the latest in traditional Scottish fashion!

Thursday evening is the Community Appreciation Party, held at Seattle’s EMP Museum.

Friday 7 November

Another day of amazing sessions, and then I’ll be taking the train back to the airport to head home. So long, Seattle – hope to see you next year!

Sunday 9 November

This isn’t related, but I’ll add it anyway. In my immense wisdom I signed up to run a half-marathon the day after I return home from a week where 3 hours of sleep is considered a good amount. I’m sure I’ll be in top shape for running!

What a week it’s going to be! Can’t wait to see as many of you as possible!

Jan 092014
 

This year Chicago will be hosting it’s 5th SQL Saturday! SQL Saturday #291: Chicago 2014 is now open for registration! As always, the event itself is free. An optional lunch will be provided for $10.

We are once again very grateful to DeVry University for hosting us. This year it will take place on Saturday April 26, 2014 at DeVry’s Addison campus. Please join us for a great day of free SQL Server training, networking, and #SQLFamily in Chicagoland!

The call for speakers is open – please submit your session(s) by February 25, 2014! New speakers are always welcome – getting a good mix of experienced and newer speakers is what SQL Saturdays are all about. If you’ve always wanted to speak at an event like this, here’s your chance!

Dec 042013
 

Just a quick note that the PASS Summit 2014 Early Bird rate of $1095 ends Friday 6 December. You don’t have to look very hard to find lots of blog posts about how PASS Summit is an amazing experience at any price, but this is a great opportunity to save $1200 off the full registration rate. Starting Saturday 7 December the price increases to $1395.

I’ve always registered during the early bird period as a kind of safety net. If you are planning on attending no matter what, it’s totally worth it. Here’s how I see the possible outcomes by registering now, even if your employer can’t commit to sending you yet:

- If you sign up now at the lowest possible rate and your employer agrees to send you later on, you just saved them some money. Perhaps you can even use the lower rate you secured as a bargaining chip to encourage them to send you.
– If you register now, submit sessions and are selected as a speaker, you will get a refund of your registration fee. (This was my situation last year.)
– If you register now and your employer can’t send you later on, you saved yourself a lot of money.
– If you register now and have to cancel, this is where things are less glamorous. According to the cancellation policy you are entitled to a refund, less a $295 processing fee, if you cancel your registration by July 31, 2014.

All the registration info can be found here. I can’t wait to be back in Seattle next year, and I hope to see you there!

Mar 272013
 

Portillo’s beef sandwiches are best when the entire sandwich is dipped in gravy so the bread becomes gelatinous. (Used with permission)

SQL Saturday #211: Chicago 2013 is approaching quickly! I’ve gotten a few emails inquiring about what food will be served, and I’m very happy to announce that lunch for this year’s SQL Saturday Chicago will once again be catered by Portillo’s! The menu will consist of their famous Italian Beef sandwiches, salad, and Mostaccioli. We will have grilled veggie sandwiches available for those of you who requested a vegetarian option. Please PLEASE be sure to check the vegetarian meal box on your registration form if you need one. We will have very few extra veggie sandwiches (if any), so we need an accurate count to be able to plan ahead.

In other news, the schedule has now been posted. We have an amazing lineup of speakers this year, many of whom have traveled great distances to share their knowledge with you for free. Please help make sure their sessions are absolutely packed! Registration is still open, so sign up today if you haven’t already.

We’re looking forward to another great time! Hope to see you there!