Archive for SQL Family

SELECT Thankfulness FROM Person.Person

ThankYou500Hi. I’m with Bob

I love how blog posts can cascade into each other. I follow Chris Yates’ (b|t) blog. He wrote a post that started with Bob Pusateri (b|t). And here I am joining the blog party. Hopefully you too will join the blog party and write about something you are thankful for.

I’m thankful for…

I’m thankful for a lot and not appreciative of enough. One of the non-SQL things that I’ve learned more about is the world. Some of my SQL Friends have gotten to where they are at the hard way, through the school of hard knox. Every time I hear another story, it makes me think of how lucky I have been. I am very thankful for the sobering stories.

I’m thankful for my Holistic Nutritionist, Kristi Acuna (b). Without her, I could not be an active member in the SQL Community. I started seeing her in 2009. She immediately found foods that I was eating that my body did not function well on. Things like gluten, tomatoes, potatoes, etc. As I slowly took those foods out of my diet, I started to have more energy. Enough energy to start things like blogging on the weekends, attending SQL Saturdays, speaking at conferences, and staying up late to network after the conferences. Without her, you wouldn’t know me.

I’m thankful for my husband, Dan. He supports me and encourages me to be me. For some of you that may seem obvious. Why would he not allow me to be me? But not all are so lucky. I know men and women a like who participate in local SQL Saturdays only, or in user groups occasionally because their spouse needs them at home. Dan encourages me to write. He encourages me to lead my user group. He encourages me to present at conferences. In fact, when I was really bummed about work this past summer. His first question was, “When do you see your SQL Family again?” How cool is that?! He knows I’m an extrovert and he makes sure I get that interaction.

I’m thankful for this AMAZING SQL Community we call SQL Family. The first half of my career I was a Visual Basic programmer. VB 3.0 through VB.Net. I left IT twice because of the way I was treated by co-workers. I came back kicking and screaming. I was blessed to land in the world of SQL and to find an amazing community who accepts, supports, and encourages each other.

Down to the details

I want to thank some specific people, but some of them are private people. So I’m going to send out some digital “thank you cards”. I encourage you to do the same. Say thank you to the people who have touched your lives and made you who you are today.

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks go out to Bob Pusateri (b|t) for this great idea.

Summit 2014 Experience Or My Week With the Aussies

Summit may officially only have three daysfive days if you count the two pre-con days, but my “Summit 2014 Experience ” this year was two weeks long. How can that be? Well, I hung out with my favorite Aussies.

(I will apologize right here. This is a looong post. I created a timeline for those that want the short version.)PASSSummit2014Experience

JulieAndMickeyAtFrys#SQLAussieFamily comes to visit

Some of you may know that I’m really close friends with Julie Koesmarano and she lives way too far away. So I asked her to come visit a week before Summit. That is when my “Summit 2014 Experience” officially started, when Julie arrived on my doorstop. After she settled in, we headed out to lunch, and then shopping at Fry’s for adapters. By Thursday (before Summit) two more Aussies came to visit, Martin Cairney and Ben McNamara.I hadn’t met Ben before, so he gets to be the official first networking opportunity of my “Summit 2014 Experience”. He’s also the one I spent the most time with during Summit. The next day we hopped on a plane heading to Portland and their SQL Saturday.

Portlandia

I’m born and raised in California. We drive everywhere. Aussies, on the other hand, do things differently, and I loved it. We didn’t stay in a hotel. We used Airbnb and stayed in an old Victorian parsonage. It was wonderful. We could have taken a taxi to the house we rented, but instead we took our suitcases on a tour of Portland via the light rail, the street cars, and our feet. We even picked our dinner location based on walking distance from our house. So much fun.

Since I don’t want to leave any of my “flat mates” out, we were joined late Friday night by the lovely Heidi Hastings, straight from Australia.

SQL Saturday #337 – Portland

I love SQL Saturdays. Attendees get to learn for free, I get to teach about the things I love, I get to meet new people, and to top it all off, I get to see and hug all my SQL Family. At this SQL Saturday, I gave my presentation called: Changing Your Habits to Improve the Performance of Your T-SQL.

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I found my favorite moments to be in the bathroom. I know, you’re scratching your head, but it’s true. While I was heading out of the restroom, I was stopped by one of the other speakers. She introduced herself to me and told me how she has been reading this very blog for the last two years and she has enjoyed watching me grow. Wow, that touched me. I’ve never been told that before. It made my day.

Believe it or not, my Aussie friends and I were the very LAST people to leave the event. Mostly because we needed to wait for a taxi and we waited to the last minute to call one. Once our taxi arrived, we headed for dinner. Someone had found a restaurant/bar that had whiskey called The Library. WOW! If you like whiskey, and you’re in Portland, you need to go there. They had ladders to get to the top shelves!

TheLibrary

IMG_3202Make sure you get reservations though. We had to wait 1.5 hours! Which we did at a wonderful restaurant called Cassidy’s. The food and company were wonderful. They even let me order a plate of bacon as an appetizer.

All aboard!

Sunday we needed to get to Seattle, so Neil Hambly joined our little Aussie Posse and we took a ride north on the train. This was a very relaxing train ride for Ben, Heidi, and Neil. Martin and I spent most of the time trouble shooting some domain controller issues on my laptop. In the end, Martin prevailed, and we all left the train happy. (And there was much rejoicing.)

TrainStation

 

IMG_3205Red Gate had a speaker dinner that night, just as I arrived into town at a wonderful restaurant called Tango’s. I have NINE different foods that I can’t eat. Annabel (from Red Gate), gave the chef my list of allergies, and they made me a custom meal. It was SO delightfully delicious. Here is a picture of what I considered my desert. A salad with fruit and BACON! Yum!

SQL in the City

IMG_3210Monday was spent with my favorite vendor, Red Gate. They put on an amazing free event called SQL in the City. I was honored to be a speaker for the 2nd year in a row. This year I had two presentations. I gave a lightning talk at the end of the day called: Finding the delta with SQL Compare and backups. I also gave a full session in the middle of the day called: Customize your faux test data with SQL Data Generator. I was very pleased with this presentation. I showcased a tool that isn’t talked about very often and demoed the new features that have been implemented over the last year or so, including the ability to use Python to better customize the faux test data. It was quite a bit of fun to present.

While I was wondering networking, I ran into John. The two of us participated in the First Timer’s dinner that was put on in 2012. He told me that he had been reading my blog ever since then and that he enjoyed watching me grow from a first timer at Summit to a First Timer Speaker at Summit.

Has Summit started yet?

No, Summit hasn’t officially started yet, but networking has. After networking throughout the day at SQL in the City, I had dinner with a couple of friends on our way to the beloved Tap House, whereI did more hugging and networking.

SSIS Pre-con and Mickey

Every day of this amazing “Summit 2014 Experience”, I was giving back to the SQL community. Either through speaking at an event or doing some other volunteer duty. But TuesdayTuesday was for me. I took a pre-con from Brian Knight and Devin Knight called: SSIS: Problem, Design, Solution. They are amazing presenters to watch, and I enjoyed the content I learned.

That evening I ran around with my head cut off trying to say hi (and hug) everyone I knew. I’m pretty sure I was still saying hi (and still hugging) people on Thursday that I hadn’t seen in a year. In fact, there are a couple of people I missed completely. That’s not too surprising, there were only 5000 people wandering around.

IMG_3221It was really fun getting to meet some of my Twitter friends whom I hadn’t met in person yet, like Andre Ranieri, Anil Mahadev, Annette Allen, and Adam Machanic. Now I have voices to go with the faces. (hhmmmMy data is skewed. All the people I listed have a first name that starts with “A”.)

Woot! First Day of the Summit

I started the day off at the Bloggers Table at the first Keynote. This was very exciting. You see, I was invited to live blog the keynote. I’m no Brent Ozar when it comes to live blogging, but I had a great time and I had at least one reader following the live blog.

After Julie and I had breakfast, I prepped for my very first Summit session, which was scheduled for Thursday. I’m so glad that I prepped mid Wednesday, because I was able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Which brings me to the last session of the day and the first session that I was able to attend. I took Mladen Prajdic’s  class called: SQL Server and Application Security for Developers. Anyone who has to write any inline SQL, should take his class. It was great.

I’ll just tell you right now. I networked EVERY single night. Why? Well, I got laid off right before I left for Summit. If you are going to get laid off, do it right before Summit, because it is the absolute BEST place to get the word out. I came home with several potential opportunities. I even gave up taking classes so that I could make deeper connections in the SQL community.

JessAndMickeyTHE BIG DAY

I was bummed to miss the Keynote on Thursday, but I don’t sit still well before a big presentation. I thought it was more important to have a good breakfast.

Since I was up first for the day, I went to my classroom forty minutes earlyand there were people already there! It gets better! I asked the room proctor if she could tell me how many people attended my session after it ended. She thought I was someone else, and started telling me about how many attendees they expected for my session. She told me that there were 232 people who added my session to their schedule and that I was on the “overflow watch list”. (Yeah, that made me a tad nervous.) That is a big class! Do you want to hear the best part??? I ended up with THREE HUNDRED AND SIXTY ONE attendees in my session. That’s 35% more than expected. There were only 12 empty seats. That’s more people than the number of students in my youngest daughter’s elementary school! Did I mention this was the FIRST time I was speaking at PASS Summit?

While those numbers still blow my mind, it wasn’t my favorite part of my session. Not even close. There were two other much more exciting events that happened in my session. The first, was the attendees themselves. They were engaged. They were so engaging that I ran a bit over. I felt bad about that, but my class was so interactive and I love that. The second happened during the six minutes prior to the session starting.

BenAndMickeyI was completely ready to start and didn’t know what to do with myself. There was a very low murmur in the room, but I could see many people just sitting there waiting for the session to start. So I turned my mic on and announced, “My favorite thing about Summit is the Networking. I want everyone of you to turn to the person on your left and the person on your right and introduce yourself. I will then know you have networked with at least two people today.”and the room exploded in conversation. I even introduced myself to two people in the front row. I then waited for my session to start with a huge grin on my face. I even had to quiet the room down when I started. Man that was awesome.

My Thursday is not done yet

I didn’t get to attend any sessions this day, because I was busy doing other things. I attended the Women in Technology lunch. I hung out in the community zone for an hour. And I was asked to live blog a Q & A session with the Executive Board. This was a way for the bloggers to ask questions of the Executive Board and blog about them before the Q & A session that was held on Friday. I was honored to be asked to participate. I really have a lot of respect for our Executive Board. It’s not easy pleasing the entire world of SQL professionals.

That evening I was invited to a special dinner put on by Red Gate for their Friends of Red Gate members. I’m mentioning it here, because of where we had dinner. We ate at a special restaurant called FareStart. This amazing restaurant helps the homeless get back on their feet by training them, housing them, and feeding them. All proceeds from the restaurant go back into the program. The chef and main waiting staff are all volunteers and there is even a waiting list to work there. I encourage you to follow the link and read about the restaurant. (This restaurant was also great about my food allergies. I had an AMAZING meal.)

ChrisJulieAndMickeyAnother great thing happened at the Friends of Red Gate dinner. I was able to introduce Chris Yates to Julie Koesmarano. The three of us, plus Jeffrey Verheul from The Netherlands all blog together under the hashtag, #SQLCoop. This was the first time that Chris and Julie had met in person. It’s the little things, like introductions, that make me happy.

And you know what I did after dinner. I networked… and celebrated this amazing day.

Friday already?

I actually was able to attend classes all day on Friday. I was quite happy about that. I was even able to attend Martin Cairney’s session called:Thinking Out of the Box: Manage SQL Server Using Built-in Tools . He had the very last session of summit and it was wonderful.

At lunch I lead one of the Birds of a Feather lunch tables in the discussion of Data Models. Our table was pretty full and we had a great discussion about someone’s data model challenges.

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Summit may officially end at 5:15 PM on Friday, but the “Summit 2014 Experience” doesn’t end until you’re buckled into the seat of an airplane, train, or car. (Hopefully, not a straight jacket.)

Two of my Aussie “flat mates” and I snuck off to a wonderful Lebanese restaurant for dinner. The food was great, but I could have done without the steep hills to get there. I guess it is a requirement to walk up and back down at least one steep hill while you are in Seattle. After dinner we went to a birthday party and finally ended up at… the Tap House where I continued to network.

Bittersweet

My “Summit 2014 Experience” started with the Aussies and ended with the Aussies. We all went out to breakfast one last time at the Daily Grill. It was a great breakfast, but still sad that I probably wouldn’t see these wonderful people for another year.

 

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Thanks for all the fish

I wish I could give a shout out to all the SQL Family members I spent time with, but there are far too many of you. I do want to thank everyone for being part of a fabulous community. It is a rarity in the computer programming world and we are all very fortunate to be part of it.

T-SQL Tuesday #60 – Stretching Past My Comfort Zone

My good friend Chris Yates (b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. The party was started by Adam Machanic (b|t) in December of 2009.

This month’s invitation is about something we’ve learned recently. Being that I just got back from Summit, I wasn’t quite sure what to pick. I ended up picking something prior to Summit. I learned how to recover from my Transaction Log filling up the disk via our SQL Community.

Silly rabbit, #SQLHelp is not just for kids

Hashtags have a WIDE variety of uses. They are used to express emotions, categorize tweets, to follow global discussions, and even to state the obvious. But my favorite use is to get help from our community with the use of #SQLHelp, #SSRSHelp, and others. And this is where my story begins… Freaking out and going immediately to #SQLHelp.

I am not a DBA. I’m a BI girl. I’m a Data Modeler. I’m a Database Developer. But please, oh please, don’t ask me to troubleshoot a serious problem on a failover cluster. That is not my cup of tea… and that is exactly what I found myself doing one Wednesday afternoon.

Before the internet, I would have been completely helpless. Today I’m not. Why? Because I have an entire community behind me. One that does not think twice before lending a hand. I posted a request on twitter requesting assistance for my problem and I included the #SQLHelp hashtag. Less than a minute passed before I had TWO community members offering to help. Wow! (I did take the help of only one of them, since it would have been confusing to have them both help.) He was kind enough to answer my questions and walk me through the solution over the course of a few hours. That is what I call Community. That is what I call #SQLFamily.

Earning my DBA card

I now know how to fix this problem. I even had the “opportunity” to try out my new knowledge a few weeks later due to some deadlocks and the lack of email notification setup on the our monitoring software. (Don’t ask.)

Lesson 1

I thought that a full backup also took care of the transactions stored in the Transaction Log. This is false. In order to have your Transaction Log truncated, you have to create Transaction Log backups. (Lesson Learned)

Lesson 2

Once the disk is full, you can’t make a backup of the transaction log. To get around this, you add a new, tiny, empty log file to the database. I don’t know the technical reasoning, but this will allow a backup to be created, thus truncating the very full log file. After which you can shrink the really big original log file to a reasonable size. Finally, you can remove the tiny, empty log file that you temporarily created.

When troubleshooting a log file that has filled up a disk on a Failover Cluster, you can only create a new log file on a shared resource. I had none. Luckily, I had a brand new database on that server. The database had been released into production, but was not used. Yet I was able to remove it from the server and create a new transaction log in its place. (And there was much rejoicing.)

Lesson 3

Fast forward to SQL Saturday Portland, right before Summit. I took a class from Randy Knight (b|t). His presentation was called Locks, Blocks, and Deadlocks Oh My! In his session he spoke about how the transaction log can get filled during a deadlock (been there, done that, got the T-shirt). He suggested creating some fake files on the drive to reserve space for when that awful day comes and your disk is full. I had been wondering if that would be a good solution. Not only did he confirm that it was, but he gave a great way to quickly create five 1G files that can be removed as needed to get the server back on its feet.

Conclusion

The moral of this story is not only to have Transaction Log Backups as well as Full Backups, but to also nurture your network. Your network is like gold. They are there to lift you up when you need it and to help you through technical challenges that are outside of your comfort zone.

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks go out to Chris Yates for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. Thanks also go out to all the community members who quickly respond to people in need.

Where in the SQL World is Mickey Stuewe

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PASSFlagI’m in countdown mode right now. Countdown to Halloween. Not because I get to dress up this Friday, but because I’m leaving for my favorite time of yearPASS Summit. This will be my first year speaking at Summit, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.

JulieAndMickeyMentorsOne of the most amazing things about Summit is the networking opportunities. These opportunities have the potential to start lifelong friendships. And that is where my post really needs to start, with my friend Julie Koesmarno. Julie and I were at most of the same events at my first Summit, but we didn’t get to know each other until after the Summit. Now she has flown in from Australia to spend a week at my place before we head out to Summit together. Thursday, two more Australian friends will be joining us here in Orange County before we fly up to Oregon together on Friday for SQL Saturday in Portland, where I’ll be presenting my Changing Your Habits to Improve the Performance of Your T-SQL session and taking as many classes as I can.

Sunday we’ll be taking a leisurely ride on a train up to Seattle. It will be the last day of relaxation before the madness of Summit related activities start.

SiTCMickeyMonday I will be spending the day hanging out with my favorite tool company, Red Gate. They are putting on a free one day conference called SQL in the City. This is an amazing day to network, eat great food, see amazing presentations, and end the day English style with a pint of beer. You heard me correctly. Red Gate is a British Company, and they always end SQL in the City with a pint of beer. The beer bottles have customized labels. Last year’s said “Query Hoptimizer”.

This year I have two presentations at SQL in the City. My first presentation is called Customize your faux test data with SQL Data Generator and focuses on how to generate test data. My second presentation is a lightning talk. I’ll be presenting on called Finding the delta with SQL Compare and backups.

Monday night I will be attending Andy Warren and Steve Jone’s networking party. (I hope to see you all there.) This is a great way to start off on the right foot at the Summit. You get to sit down to share a meal and network. I was introduced to many new people the first time I went, and yes, I remember quite a few of them. Tuesday is all about me. Ok, almost all about me. I signed up for an all-day precon on the topic of SSIS. I do have to step out in the afternoon to attend a chapter leader’s meeting though.

Then the even hits with Summit’s opening night event followed closely with several other events that I will be attending. (Sleeping has been rescheduled for later in November.)

On Wednesday, I’ve been invited to be at the bloggers table for the Day 1 Keynote. I’m very excited about this. So, if you are unable to be at the Summit this year and you want to know what is going on during the first Keynote presentation Wednesday morning at 8:15 am, then come hang out on my blog. It will automatically update until 9:45 am. Stay tuned to my Twitter feed as well, I might “practice” by live blogging one of the sessions on Saturday or Monday too.

PASS_Summit_2013_WIT-2Thursday is my big day. I will be presenting for the fourth time in a week, but it will be my very first time speaking at the PASS Summit. My presentation is entitled Techniques for Dynamic SSRS Reports. The presentation will be held in room 2AB at 10:45 am. Since it is Thursday, I’ll most likely be presenting in my Kilt. Many attendees wear kilts to celebrate Women In Technology (WIT). After I’m done with my presentation, I’ll be running over to the WIT lunch. The event has sold out, so I hope I can find a seat. Kimberly Bryant, founder of Black Girls CODE will be giving a keynote at the event. Thursday afternoon at 3:30 to 4:30 you’ll find me hanging out at the community center. (I hope you come by and say hi.) I’ll be there to network, answer questions about community, SQL, SSRS, and whatever else comes up. (All questions I can’t answer will be forwarded to Grant Fritchey since he has nothing to do until January when his first term on the PASS board starts.)

WendyMartinMickeyJuliePaulThursday night I hope to celebrate by singing SQLKaroake style at Busch Gardens, but you never know where I’ll end up. The evenings at the Summit are like being caught in a strong current. You never know where the evening will take you. The point is to enjoy the ride and meet new people.

Friday I’ll be getting my final learning on and attending the Birds of a Feather lunch. This is an event where you can sit with others to talk about specific SQL related topics. So, bring your questions and share a meal with like minded individuals.

Saturday I’ll be heading back to Orange County to give hugs to my family and my puppy before I crash and catch up on all my sleep.

T-SQL Tuesday #57 – SQL Family to the Rescue of a Local Community

My good friend Jeffrey Verheul(b|t) is hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. The party was started by Adam Machanic (b|t) in December of 2009. This month’s invitation is on the topic of SQL Family and Community.

I was very happy to see this topic this month since I just had an amazing SQL Family kind of day a week ago and this is the perfect venue to share it.

The Community

The beginning of this year I took a leap of faith and started a local PASS chapter focusing on BI in Irvine, CA. It’s called BIG PASS Community. I’ve been slowly growing the group steadily each month. I have a hand full of people who come every month and we usually have 1 or 2 new people as well. A couple of months ago, I was approached by a SQL Family member, Rob Hatton, who was a recent transplant from Florida. He wanted to help with my new community, so now we are co-leaders.

Before each meeting, we eat dinner together in the kitchen at our venue so that we can get to know each other better and network. Not only is our venue really nice, but Rosalyn, who is a Sales Rep there and stays late for us, is a wonderful hostess. She helps promote our meetings and helps take care of little details. We’re really blessed to have her.

The phone rang on a Friday afternoon

Rosalyn often calls me before our meetings to find out who our latest speaker is and if they will be presenting locally or not, so I wasn’t surprised to receive a phone call from her. This time she had some bad news for us. She had decided to leave the company to pursue a new opportunity, but she couldn’t find another person to host us in the evenings at their facility. We were now without a venue.

I was really worried about loosing our venue since I’ve seen other user groups unable to meet for months until a new location was found. Our group also doesn’t have any financial resources to pay for a venue either. What was a girl to do?

Twenty-four hours

I spoke with my co-leader about the situation and we developed a plan. We would change the next meeting to a networking event at a restaurant. That would allow us to still have a meeting and give us a month to find a new venue. I sent out emails late Sunday night to our community members letting them know what had happened and the new schedule for our next meeting.

Monday morning I received an email from David, who is one of our community members, “We have a classroom at work. Do you want me to see if we can use it?” I replied, “YES!” He kept updating me throughout the day with his progress on getting approval. Then I received an email from another community member named Ted. “We can use our classroom at work. We also have a nice break room for our dinners together.” We now had a venueand a potential backup venue.

This is a perfect example of the heart of SQL Family. They step in when someone needs help and lend a hand.

Building relationships

I want to share with you how I met each of the people I mentioned above.

In the spring of 2013 I was at the after party at the Orange County SQL Saturday. One of my friends wanted to introduce me to someone who recently moved near me. His name was Rob Hatton. I had the wonderful opportunity to get to know him and his lovely wife Barb better that night. We then crossed paths at two other SQL Saturdays over the last year.

Last year, at PASS Summit I helped host the Southern California User Group tables at lunch. I wanted to connect with more people in my area. We had several new people join us for lunch who weren’t aware of the local user groups. Two of those people were David and his co-worker James. We had a great time getting to know each other at lunch and was delighted to see them at many of the evening events where I had the opportunity to speak with them further. When I started the BIG PASS Community user group, they started attending it as well.

This past April was the local SQL Saturday event in Orange County. That was where I met Ted. He attended both of my morning presentation. We crossed paths again at lunch, where we had time to network further. I was able to tell him about the local user groups and encourage him to attend them. I was really happy to see him at the June meeting.

Why am I sharing this with you? Wellto show you how integrated our community is. To show you how the roots travel far. SQL Family connections don’t all start in a classroom or on twitter. They start at lunch tables, Karaoke bars, and walking between presentations.

Thanks for all the fish

Thanks go out to Jeffrey Verheul for hosting this month’s T-SQL Tuesday blog party. He is one my favorite SQL Family members who I met through my T-SQL Tuesday participation. While seven time zones and a large ocean separate us, technology has allowed us to be friends, co-bloggers, and SQL Family members.

OC SQL Server Meeting: Jason Strate & Bradley Ball Presenting at QuickStart

DSCN4178This past September I had the privilege of speaking at Dev Connections in Las Vegas where I had the opportunity to hang out with several members of our SQL Family. Two of which were Bradley Ball (b|t) and Jason Strate (b|t). Bradley and I were chatting about how they were going to be visiting Irvine in early December and they wanted to speak at the local User Group Meeting while they were here.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t arrange the presentation during the User Group Meetings, but that didn’t stop me. Many moons ago, I worked at QuickStart Technologies (now QuickStart Intelligence). I gave them a call and they were very happy to host a presentation from Jason and Bradley.

If you will be in Irvine, CA on Monday Dec. 9th, then please come join us for FREE pizza and a FREE presentation by both Jason Strate and Bradley Ball. If you have never heard these two gentlemen speak, then now is your chance. I have attended presentations from both of them and am looking forward to seeing them present again next week.

Seats are limited, so sign up soon at Eventbrite: OC SQL Server Meeting: Jason Strate & Bradley Ball Presenting at QuickStart

If you’ve never heard of QuickStart, then let me give you the inside scoop. QuickStart has been training professionals in Microsoft Technology for 25 years. Their classes are great for learning SQL Server and many other products. Each student is given their own computer for the class where they will be given hands on labs to work on throughout the 2 to 5 day classes. Their classes are also great for preparing for any of the Microsoft Certifications.

Once Upon a Time, In A PASS Summit Far Away

Once upon a time, in a PASS Summit far away, there was a princess named Buttercup. When she turned twenty something her father introduced her to SQL Society in grand style. There were many sessions that she had to attend and many parties. Everyone loved her.

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One night there was a wonderful party full of singing and dancing. Everyone was having such a swell time.

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Princess Buttercup had heard about the party. Her father had forbidden her to go because it was well known that SQL Hippo was known to hang out there. Princess Buttercup didn’t listen to her father though. She set up some Powershell scripts to make it look like she was doing homework and headed out. When she arrived at the party she met three suspicious looking attendees. They were asking her all sorts of database questions.

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After a few hours had passed, Tim heard the three attendees talking about princess Buttercup, so he went looking for her. He couldn’t find her anywhere and became concerned. He tried to get everyone’s attention and said, “Hey everyone! Where’s princess Buttercup? Has anyone seen her? Maybe the notorious Oracle gang has made off with her! We should send someone out to find her!”

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At that very moment, the notorious Scary DBA himself entered the party. He sauntered over to Tim, looked down at him, and said, “I’ll go search for her!”

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And without another word he jumped into his really cool car to head out!

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Tim ran after him, and yelled, “WAIT!” you have to get your eyes checked first so that you don’t miss any clues”

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So, before the Scary DBA could head out in his really cool car, he stopped to get his eyes checked by Dr. Emmett Brown. He told the Scary DBA, “If my calculations are correct, when this baby hits 88 miles per hour… You’re gonna see some serious shit.” Then he put his hand on the Scary DBA’s shoulder and told him, “So if you don’t want to go blind, keep it under 88 miles per hour son.”

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The next morning, the Scary DBA headed out looking for clues, and he found some scribbled on the sidewalk. He knew they would lead him to the infamous SQL Gator.

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EdThe Scary DBA followed the clues to a little bar in UpTown where SQL Gator was known to linger on Sunday nights. He wasn’t disappointed either. In the very back of the bar, he found SQL Gator. With a great big knowing grin on his face, SQL Gator said, “I hear you’ve been looking for GrantPrincess Buttercup.”

The Scary DBA replied, “Why yes I am. Do you know anything? I’m not leaving until you spill the beans.”

SQL Gator chuckled and took a sip of his drink. “Your execution plans might be the fastest in town, but this is my town and you don’t scare me. “ He paused for a moment. “I’ll tell you what. I’ll help you out this once, because I like Princess Buttercup.“ SQL Gator looked behind him to make sure he wasn’t being watched and whispered, “Go see the Quiz Bowl council. They’re overseen by The SQL Agent Man and Dr SQL. Maybe they can point you in the right direction.”

The Scary DBA looked SQL Gator in the eye and said, “You better not be leading me astray, or I’ll sic my parameter sniffing dogs on you.”

The Scary DBA jumped into his really cool car and headed over to the see the council. It took two hours, but he was finally brought before them.

SummitStory2013_-002

They told him in order to finish his quest, he would have to find the Knights who say Ni.

FirstTimerBuddies

After many nights of searching, he stumbled upon a great battle and watched with much interest from above. The battle seemed to stand still at times, but finally it came to a gruesome conclusion.

SummitStory2013_-012

He walked down to the battleground searching for the survivors of the Knights Who Say Ni. The Scary DBA came across seven knights in kilts and asked, “Are you the Knights Who Say Ni?”

Knight one replied, “We are now no longer the Knights who say Ni.” Knight two hastily added, “NI.” The other knights shushed him. Knight one ignored his brethren and in a strong voice announced, “ We are now the Knights who say… “Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-Ekki-PTANG. Zoom-Boing. Z’nourrwringmm.”

SummitStory2013_-016

The Scary DBA was very confused and started to get frustrated when he was approached by a Jedi Microsoft Certified Master. The Jedi whispered in a haunting voice, “These are not the kilts you are looking for.”

SummitStory2013_-014

“Look to the east where the SQL Sisters live. They lured princess Buttercup away from the party with promises of chocolate and faster queries.” Then he vanished.

JulieAndMickeyMentors

It took some time, but the Scary DBA was able to track down the kidnappers. He cornered them in the community zone and had them arrested.

SummitStory2013_-013

The Scary DBA was so pleased to see that Princess Buttercup had not been harmed. Princess Buttercup had him kneel before her and she dubbed him Sir Knight of the Red Gate.

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That night there was much rejoicing at the return of their beloved princess Buttercup.

SummitStory2013_-007


The End

 

No Database Developers were injured in the making of this tale. 99% of the pictures were taken by Pat Wright. Please visit his website for the originals and other great pictures.

PASS Summit 2013 in Summary

PASSFlagMy second PASS Summit concluded a week ago. It was just as amazing as my first, but also completely different. It’s like trying to compare an orange and a mandarin. The differences weren’t just related to the different locations. The differences came with how many people I already knew, even if I only knew them as a twitter friend. Last year I knew less than 10 people at the beginning of the conference. This year I knew over a 100 people personally before the conference started and by the end of the conference I had at the very least doubled that.

Side note: Please don’t be bummed if I don’t list your name below. If I listed everyone I met at Summit, this post would look like the book of Numbers in the Bible (and be just as exciting). I enjoyed my time with everyone, but can only mention a few.
Summit BuddyMelissaAndMickey

My absolute favorite part of PASS Summit is meeting people and networking with them. With 5000 people attending Summit this year and 1400 of which were First Timers, I had ample supply of new people to meet. Last year, I participated in the First Timer’s program as a First-Timer. Joe Fleming (t), my “Summit buddy” really helped me get my bearings before attending the Summit and helped with questions that I had throughout the Summit. I so strongly believe in this program, that I signed up to be a “Summit Buddy” myself this year. I’m so glad that I did, because it let me start networking before I even arrived in Charlotte. I was assigned five First-Timers and immediately started sending them emails on how to prepare for Summit. I also had them send a bit of information to our little first-timers team including a picture so that we would be able to recognize each other all week. Along the way, I even picked up two others.

I did find it difficult for us to coordinate meeting each other as a group though. Mostly due to my various volunteer duties and meetings that were during the prime time to meet. While the whole group couldn’t meet, I did run into half my group throughout the week, and was able to hang out with David Maxwell (b|t) and Melissa Chen at various events. Melissa even shared with me that she loved the emails I sent her so she shared them with her team at work who were attending Summit, but didn’t have a “Summit Buddy”. (Loved that!)

Side note: I do think we need a different name than Summit Buddy. I think Summit Mentor, or SQL Big Sister and SQL Big Brother sound a bit better.
SushiNightExisting Relationships

PASS Summit is a wonderful place to spend more time with SQL Family. The downside is there is not enough time to spend quality time with EVERYONE. So, I decided before Summit that since there was no way I can see and talk to everyone, that I would try my best and leave it at that.

This year I really enjoyed meeting all my Twitter friends. You know, the ones you have been talking to for months, but have no idea what their real names are and half the time you don’t even know what they look like because they have a coffee cup for a “mug shot”… Speaking of Father Jack (b|t), I really enjoyed getting to hang out with him all week with all of our Australian friends. It’s funny how some “in person” time can alter a relationship and make it more meaningful. I also enjoyed spending time with Richie Rump (b|t) and tweeting with him during the Keynote speeches on the first day.
This year I found myself hanging out more with my international SQL Family members, than I did last year. I shared many meals and drinks and had wonderful conversations with Julie Koesmarno (b|t), Martin Cairney (t), Father Jack (b|t), Rob Farley (b|t), Scott Stauffer (b|t), and Mladen Prajdic (b|t) . I miss them all terribly. I also enjoyed my time with Maria Zakourdaev (b|t) from Isreal. I remembered having breakfast with her last year on Friday morning and she was so quiet. This year it was like watching a flower bloom. I can’t wait to see her again next year.

GrantAndMickey

One of MANY favorite memories in Charlotte was getting to spend some time with my mentor Grant Fritchey (b|t). We rarely get to see each other since we have three time zones between us and are usually with a large crowd of people when we are at the same event. I enjoyed having dinner with him and a few friends Monday night after SQL in the City, getting to say “hi” here and there all week, and finally getting a whole, uninterrupted hour of his time on Friday for us to talk shop.

New Relationships

I don’t want you to think I spent the whole week just hanging out with people I knew. I purposefully found people I didn’t know and introduced myself. I now have many new friends on my SQL Family list. Here are some of the highlights.

· I was introduced to Paul White (b|t) and had the pleasure of talking to him about SQL Sentry Plan Explorer.

· Someone introduced me to Ola Hallengren (b). We enjoyed a couple of different conversation, but our first conversation was at a Karaoke bar and it was about the song Mickey by Toni Basil which was also sung by Swedish popular music singer Carola Häggkvist. (Tim, put that in the Quizbowl next year!)

MickeyAndJK

· I actually met Bradley Ball (b|t) and Ben DeBow (t) two weeks before Summit. All three of us presented at Dev Connections in Las Vegas with several other amazing speakers, but at Summit I got to attend both of their sessions and spend some extra time getting to know them.

· I also enjoyed several great conversations with JK Wood (b|t), Jamey Johnston (t), and Wayne Sheffield (b|t) just to name a few of the amazing people I met.

MickeyAndMartin.jpgLocation

I will admit, I was bummed we were going to be in Charlotte this year, but looking back, I’m glad we were there. I still miss Seattle and can’t wait to go back next year, but there were some great advantages to Charlotte. It was easy to find dinner fairly close to the evening events and I only needed a taxi on one night. The down side was the places to eat were more expensive, and their scotch selection was dismal… Except at The Black Finnthey have Oban (pronounced “Oh-bin”).

I did absolutely love the two places I went to for SQL Karaoke, especially since they had room to dance. I even danced with my good friend, and fellow SQL Cruiser Neil Hambry (b|t).

Getting InvolvedJulieAndMickeyMentors

You may have noticed that I’m an extrovert and I doesn’t sit still. This year I was asked by Tim Ford (b|t), to be on a team with Julie Koesmarno (b|t) in the Quizbowl. We paired up with Mike Donnelly (b|t). We had such a great time, even when we were down by -1700 points and Tim put me on a time out for answering a question (very) badly. The good news is, we bounced back laughing all way and ended up coming in second place which won Mike a gift card.

I also enjoyed being a Summit Buddy, which I wrote about above. I plan on doing that again next year.

I didn’t stop there either, I volunteered in the Community Zone on Friday which I think was the easiest thing I’ve ever done. I wish I could hang out there all day! The community zone is a great place to hang out while you charge your electrical devices. It’s set up to encourage talking. Anything from find out where the closest User Group is in your area for engaging with Andy Warren (b|t) about mentoring programs. I even participated in a Star Wars Flash Mob at the Community Zone.

PASS_Summit_2013_WIT-1But the cherry on top of my volunteering at Summit, was moderating the Women in Technology (WIT) panel. Our WIT Virtual chapter spent months preparing for the luncheon which hosted over 750 attendees. This was all possible due to our sponsor SQLSentry. (Thank you!) The topic was Beyond Stereotypes: Equality, Gender Neutrality, and Valuing Team Diversity. This topic is near to my heart since I’ve been excluded for various reasons throughout my career and even in my childhood. The panel discussion was streamed on PASStv so there is a 60 minute recording that you can watch here. I truly enjoyed moderating the panel and hope that they will let me do it again next year.

Sessions

I did actually attend sessions, and I enjoyed all of them. My favorite one was Skewed Data, Poor Cardinality Estimates, and Plans Gone Bad by Kimberly Tripp (b|t) whom I admit to now having a Geek Crush on. She spoke on my favorite topic and I can’t wait to listen to it again here.

I took both of Jes Borland’s (b|t) classes. I took Index Methods You’re Not Using to validate what I already knew about indexes and I’m glad I did, because I learned a few new things.

I also took a class that was out of my comfort zone. Data Internals Deep Dive was given by my friend Bradley Ball (b|t), who incidentally is a great speaker and I am in total awe of his knowledge. I learned about extents and I watched him teach us how to decode Hex and binary data. I found the session quite fascinating.

Thanks for All the FishJulieAndMickeyFriday

I do want to take this time to thank all the volunteers, speakers, and sponsors that help make PASS Summit educational, fun, affordable, and just plain awesome. I also want to thank my SQL Sister, Julie Koesmarno for being an awesome roomie and friend.

Side note: I’ve been going through Summit withdrawals all week and am eager to attend all the SQL Saturdays I can to feed my SQL Family addiction until next year’s PASS Summit.
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