Nov 202018

While browsing Reddit last night, I came across Farewell etaoin shrdlu, a 30 minute documentary showing the last day the New York Times used hot metal typesetting to print their paper, which was July 2, 1978.

I’ve long been fascinated by Linotype machines, which cast molded lead “slugs” for a line of type. They’re extremely mechanical and really fun to watch. There are many videos to be found on YouTube detailing how they work. This particular documentary doesn’t go into great detail, but gives the basics. It also shows the entire process – how text goes from the Linotype machine all the way to a printing press.

At the end of the video they show the new computerized process that’s replacing hot metal type. This is equally fascinating. And it’s by no means fully computerized – these were the days where “cut” and “paste” involved knives and glue…

So if you’re finding yourself with some time to kill (and with it being Thanksgiving week in the US, there’s bound to be a lot of time to be killed) give this a watch. It makes me thankful to live and work in the era of computing that I do. Room-sized computers must have been incredibly impressive. Same goes for the “disk packs that can hold 8 million words each!” as mentioned in the video, but I’m quite happy to be where we are now. And I can only imagine that at the tail end of my career, the systems I’m working on now will seem just as ancient.


Nov 012018

I don’t know where the last year went, but it’s once again time for PASS Summit. It really doesn’t feel like a year has passed! This will be my seventh PASS Summit as an attendee and my sixth as a speaker. I know I’m extremely fortunate to have been able to attend and present so many times, and am looking to the incredibly fun – and exhausting – week ahead! Be sure to follow me on Twitter as I will have plenty of updates throughout the week. Here’s what I’ll be up to:

SQL Saturday Portland

My first stop is Portland, Oregon, where I’m delivering a session on Azure Cosmos DB at their SQL Saturday. I know I’ve said this before, but SQL Saturday Portland really is an incredible event. It’s also one of my tips for getting the most out of PASS Summit. If you’re ever able to swing by Portland on your way to Seattle for summit, I highly recommend it.

On Sunday, I’ll be catching the SQLTrain to Seattle. This year our crew is bigger than ever, and we have two private train cars rented out! Keep an eye on the #SQLTrain hashtag on Twitter for updates on all of our adventures.


Once in Seattle, I’m very happy to be attending a full day pre-conference session this year. I’m really looking forward to soaking up all the knowledge I can in Modernize Your SQL Server with Bob Ward, the Tiger Team, and CSS Escalation Engineers. This session is led by some of the best of the best, and several of my heroes on the SQL Server engineering team. I am absolutely stoked for this one.


I’m presenting not one but two sessions this year, so I will most definitely be present for those! I’ve blogged about this previously, so you can find out all the details in my post: Presenting Two Sessions at PASS Summit 2018!

Live Blogs

I’m very lucky to have a seat at the official blogger table this year, and will be live blogging the keynotes taking place on Wednesday and Thursday. If you can’t be present at the convention center, come to my website and I will make sure you know everything that’s happening. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity!

…And Everything Else

Aside from all the things I just mentioned, for the few hours per day that I’m not sleeping I will be out and about catching up with old friends, hopefully making new ones, attending sessions, playing hooky, hanging out in the community zone, and attending a wide variety of after-hours events. Here’s the ones I’m currently planning to be at, though I’m sure I will end up at others as well:

And on top of all this I’ll also be trying to squeeze in some sightseeing and grab food from my favorite places. It also wouldn’t be PASS Summit without at least one pilgrimage to Bush Garden, the (former) restaurant and (still) karaoke bar with an incredible history.

It’s going to be an exhausting but extremely rewarding week! If you’re going to be at PASS Summit 2018, I really hope to see you at some point! Please come find me, or drop me a line on Twitter and I’ll let you know where I’m at!

Oct 302018

PASS Summit is now approaching really quickly, so this will be my final tip for the year. I’ve mentioned in previous posts about the tremendous networking opportunities you will find at Summit, and I’m going to bring that up again, because I really feel it’s that important.

There is a ton that goes on during the day at PASS Summit, and even more happening in the evenings. Once the sessions are done for the day, there are so many ways to meet and connect with people. You will find official PASS activities, like the v.20 Celebration (formerly the “Welcome Reception”), and the Exhibitor Reception. (Hint: These events involve food – at the very least you should stop by and grab a bite to eat!) You will also find official community hosted events such as game night, the networking dinner, SQL Karaoke, and the WIT Happy Hour, just to name a few.

And if all those official things aren’t enough for you, you’ll find many more unofficial events, which is my blanket term for “people just hanging out”. One place you’re almost guaranteed to find attendees at is the Tap House Grill, right near the Convention Center. But an even better way to figure out where people are at is Twitter! Really. If you don’t have a Twitter account already, sign up now. Check the #PASSsummit or #sqlfamily hashtags, and see where people are at. If you see something that looks fun, go join them.

In short, please don’t just go back to your hotel at the end of the day. There will be MANY fun things going on in the evenings – leverage them to meet new people and make new friends and connections. Some of my best friends are people that I’ve met randomly after-hours at PASS Summit, and I bet that can be true for you too. I really hope to see you out and about at Summit!

Karaoke Unicorn says: “Go out and meet people!”