Tag Archive for SQL Pass

My Eleven Day PASS Summit 15 Experience

“STUEWE!” This is how I knew PASS Summit was about to begin. I was walking to the Friday night SQL Saturday Portland speaker dinner, prior to PASS Summit, when I heard my name being called, well, yelled. Since it was already dark, it took a minute to spot the black SUV with Mike Fal hanging out the window waving at me.

But wait, that is not when my Eleven Day Summit Experience started.

Day One – Thursday

It actually started on Thursday before Summit at LAX. I was there bright and early to pick up two of my Australian friends, Martin Cairney and Ben McNamara, who would be traveling with me to Portland and then on to Seattle. Despite the 14 hour flight, they wanted to go see the Endeavor space shuttle at the California Science Center in LA.

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Day Two – Friday

Friday was spent flying to Portland where we would be attending SQL Saturday Portland. We stayed in an Air B & B house. This is a great way to save some money for lodging and to feel like you’re at home. There is always a coffee machine with decent coffee and the best…no rambunctious kids on the floor above you. WIN!

Friday night, we attended a wonderful speaker dinner (This is when Mike Fal yelled my name out a window of an SUV). Speaker dinners are always fun to attend. You get to catch up with friends and make new ones. Portland is always a bit special, because it’s full of speakers from around the world who made a little extra time to speak at a community event before PASS Summit.

After dinner, we found an amazing restaurant. It had the most scrumptious gluten free bread. I think it was made of clouds.

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Day Three – Saturday

Saturday was spent at one of my favorite SQL Saturdays. Ok, I’ll be honest. ALL SQL Saturdays are my favorite. It’s a great time to do a little extra networking, get to see SQL Family, and meet new people in the community. I also love speaking and that is what I did in Portland. I spoke on SSRS.

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I was able to attend several wonderful sessions. My favorite was given by Julie Koesmarno and Cindy Gross: Moving beyond Unconscious Bias. I really liked their approach to this topic. Throughout the presentation, they strongly emphasized that we are all good people.

They spoke about how everyone categorizes everything in our lives, but sometimes we have a bias in our categorization, an unconscious bias that we are unaware of. They told us about a study by Harvard called the Implicit Association test, which tests how we categorize various topics. Julie and Cindy then showed us a video of Allen Alda taking the Harvard test. I strongly recommend learning about unconscious bias.

No Portland trip is complete without going to my two favorite places in the evening. We put our names in for our two hour wait at the Multnomah Whiskey Library, and then we headed over to Cassidy’s. They have great food and AMAZING bacon. I ordered enough bacon for all sixteen of us. (And there was much rejoicing). Afterwards we went to the Whiskey Library, where I was finally able to try some Scapa Scotch. I really liked it (Thanks for the recommendation Grant!).2015 PASS Summit13

Day Four – Sunday

One of the cheapest ways to get from Portland to Seattle is the train. When we bought our tickets, they were around $25. Little did we know it would be an unexpectedly amazing day. My friend, Ted Stathakis, was really looking forward to this day too. He loves trains; neither of us realized how amazing it would be.

Last year, there were only five of us on the train. Martin Cairney and I spent the majority of the trip troubleshooting a problem with my VM. Not this time. This time it was completely non-technical. There were sixteen of us in our car, and two who (foolishly) purchased tickets in a nicer car. Why do I say foolishly? Well, we were having so much fun, that they spent the majority of the trip in our car…eating our Voodoo Donuts. Next time, I think they will buy the general tickets. Next time, I’m also going to try getting the WHOLE car too. So if you want to ride with us, keep an eye out for a post from me in the summer.

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For more details on the fun we had, go look up the twitter handle #SQLTrain.

Day Five – Monday

Monday was a red day. Red Gate day that is. Red Gate puts on a free event called SQL in the City. They have put it on each year on the Monday before the PASS Summit for several years now. They bring quite a few people from the UK to talk about their tools, and they have amazing presentation. This year, they went with a common theme: Continuous Integration. I participated in the Lightening Talks. I spoke on how to use their DLM Dashboard. This is a great tool that keeps an eye on the databases you connect to the DLM dashboard. You can monitor who modified the database and which scripts they ran on the database. Did I mention this is a free tool?

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Monday night is the annual Networking dinner put on by Steve Jones and Andy Warren. This is a “must attend” event. Why? It’s all about networking and integrating 1st timers into the community. This year, a bunch of us crammed into a booth with four 1st timers. At least two were from Europe. I enjoyed getting to know them and they enjoyed being introduced to all the people that came by our table to say hi.

Note: Remember, networking isn’t just about talking tech. It’s about building relationships so that you can ask technical questions in the future. If you need ideas on how to meet people, take a look at my blog post, Top Ten Ways To Create Your Meet and Greet List For Summit.

Day Six – Tuesday

Tuesday was a relaxing day before the busyness of Summit. I started the day off with breakfast with Chris Yates. This is a rare pleasure. Chris and I met through the SQL Community on Twitter. We now blog together occasionally and I speak at the SQL Saturday in his hometown.

Before I took time to prep for my Wednesday morning presentation, my apartment mates and I went to the Starbucks where they roast all of their coffee beans. I had my first french press, and, I must say, I’m hooked. 2015 PASS Summit2-001

After I was done with my presentation preparation, it was time for the opening event for PASS Summit. This is a whirlwind event. I feel like a butterfly, fluttering from conversation to conversation. This year, I felt like a match maker too. I had three people from my company attending with me. I haven’t had that happen since the mid 90s! I enjoyed introducing them to a number of people.

I also did something different. I went looking for the lone 1st timers. The wallflowers who don’t know who to talk to. I found one. He was eating by himself near a wall, watching everyone by himself. I went up to him, introduced myself, and got to know him. I then asked if there was someone he wanted to meet. He wanted to meet Pinal Dave from India. Pinal and I know of each other, but we’ve never had the pleasure of shaking each other’s hands. So that’s what we did. Luckily, Pinal was standing nearby. Pinal and I finally shook hands, and I introduced him to the 1st timer. That made me very happy. Win!

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Day Seven – Wednesday

This was my day <deep breaths inserted here>. I was first up to bat <deep breaths inserted here>. I’m nervous as I walk to my room. I see my room and I get calmer. I climb up on the stage and I get calmer. I get my laptop set up and I’m ready to go. Boom.

As you’ve probably noticed, I really believe in networking. My class filled up with plenty of time to spare before the presentation, so I did the same thing I did last year. I had everyone stand up and introduce themselves to their neighbors. I stood on stage with a huge grin on my face, then I stepped off stage and introduced myself to people in the front row.

200 hundred people came to hear my presentation on Sophisticated Techniques in SSRS. I enjoyed every minute of the session. We did have a couple of exciting moments in class though. There was a laptop on the table (not mine) that started beeping. I thoroughly enjoyed slamming nicely shutting the laptop lid. There was also a crash of dishes behind me in the hallway. I said “Opa!” in my head and kept on presenting.

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With my presentation done, I was able to enjoy classes the rest of the conference.

One class I took was not found in a classroom, but on the edge of a planter on the ground floor. I started talking with this guy (sorry I can’t recall his name, but he was awesome). He was telling me how he had submitted his session, but wasn’t selected. After he told me his topic, I told him I would have taken his class. His presentation was right up my alley. So he asked if I would like to see it. I said yes and we had a wonderful one-on-one discussion, complete with demos on his laptop. Right there. On the edge of a planter. It was my favorite class. THAT is one the many special things about PASS Summit.

One of the things I was really happy about this year was the change in how special diets were handled. In the past, they have always messed up my meals. I have a lot of food sensitivities, so I understand it’s difficult to accommodate my diet, but I still need to eat. This year, they had our names on our meals, and they had the more common special requests handled in the regular food line. (Thank you)

Day Eight – Thursday

I was invited again to live-blog the keynote on Thursday. You can see my comments here. I was very sad to hear that this would be the last keynote for PASS Summit given by David DeWitt and Rimma Nehme. I’m happy that I’ve been able to see two of their keynotes.

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Before lunch, I thoroughly enjoyed directing people to lunch (I’ll tell you a secret. I think I enjoyed twirling my sign a little too much. Open-mouthed smile).

Thursday is the Women In Technology Day (WIT). WIT puts on a great lunch, and I was in the perfect place to direct people to the regular lunch and the WIT lunch. One of the traditions of WIT day is for men and women to wear kilts. This tradition was started by Grant Fritchey many years ago. This was my fourth year participating.

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Day Nine – Friday

Friday is full of sessions and bitter sweet goodbyes. Now, I don’t want you to think I only had fun this week. I did attend sessions. I have proof. I also took notes.

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… And I had fun.

 

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Summit is not complete without at least one night hanging out with Jason Strate at Bush Garden participating in SQL Karaoke. I was super happy to make it there multiple times this year. Last year, I wasn’t able to go at all due to all the commitments I had at Summit.

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Day Ten – Saturday

Saturday was a vacation day. I spent the day with my Australian friends. These are friends that I’ve made through Summit. I even worked with a some of them for a few months. In the evening, Julie Koesmarno and I threw a dinner party for a few of our friends who were still in town. We were even able to invite some friends we met this year.

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Day Eleven – Sunday

Sunday I had to come back to reality on my flight home. While I had an amazing time in Seattle speaking, learning, networking, and reconnecting, I was happy to see my family and they were happy to see me.

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Live Blogging PASS Summit Key Note 2015

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!

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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.)

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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.

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.

I’m Speaking at PASS Summit This November

MickeyFedora2014I’m very excited to share that my abstract was one of the 144 abstracts selected for PASS Summit 2014. This will be my first time speaking at PASS Summit and I just can’t take the grin off my face.

My presentation is called Techniques for Dynamic SSRS Reports and can be found in the BI track. In my presentation we’ll go over ways to add navigation to your reports, as well as how to make a single report satisfy different users needs.

I hope to see you all at Summit in Seattle this year!

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.

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

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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.

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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.”

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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.”

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!)

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· 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.

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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.

Fall Speaking Engagements

A year ago I had no intentions of speaking this year. I didn’t think I was mentally ready for public speaking once again. Boy was I wrong. Not only was I ready, but I’ve become addicted to speaking at various SQL Events. I even found a SQL Saturday to speak at on my family vacation in Louisville, Kentucky. Between September and October I will be speaking at 5 venues and moderating two Women in Technology (WIT) panels. That will be a total of 8 sessions. Here is a bit about each of them.

SQL Saturday #249 takes place in San Diego, CA on Saturday, September 20th. This year, instead of a pre-con the day before , Red Gate will be hosting a half day called SQL in the City Seminar.

Dev Connections takes place in Las Vegas, NV between September 30th and October 4th at Mandalay Bay. I’m very excited about my two brand new presentations.

SQL in the City takes place in three different cities in October. I will be speaking at two of them. I’ll be in Pasadena, CA on October 9th and I’ll be in Charlotte, NC on October 14th the week of the PASS Summit.

PASS Summit takes place in Charlotte, NC between October 15th and 18th. This is the most amazing conference for the SQL community. While I’m not speaking at it this year, I am participating in other ways including being a buddy to a new attendee or two.

SQL Saturday #237 also takes place in Charlotte, NC on Saturday October 19th.

  • This is my last SQL Saturday of the year and it is the “BI Edition”, so I had to do my session, Scalable SSRS Reports Achieved Through the Powerful Tablix.

I’m looking forward to these sessions and to meeting new people as well as reconnecting with my old friends. I hope to find you in my sessions and that you have the time to introduce yourself. I really enjoy meeting new people and sharing the knowledge that I have.

SQL on my friends.

T-SQL Tuesday #36 – What Community Means to a Newbie


The 4th quarter of 2012 has marked many firsts for me. I attended my first SQL Saturday and my first PASS Summit. I joined my first SQL User’s Group. I started a blog, and now I’m participating in T-SQL Tuesday. This month’s topic is about what community means to me. Since I have only recently found this amazing community, I’m blogging about the community from a Newbie’s perspective.

In the beginning…..

I knew no one in the SQL community outside of my IT department. The database side of my IT department has less than 5 people. I desperately searched for a local SQL Users group, but I couldn’t find an active one, so I widened my search criteria. I found I was half way between the LA SQL PASS chapter and San Diego SQL PASS Chapter, both of which are 50 miles away and a 1.5 to 2 hour drive on a Thursday night. What to do, what to do.

I lucked out. On Sept 15th, 2012 the San Diego SQL PASS Chapter (SDSQL) was hosting a SQL Saturday (#157).

It changed my life.

I drove down to San Diego (by myself) not expecting much. I took Jason Strate’s (B|T) session on Discovering the Plan Cache. His session was so good, that I changed my schedule and attended his other 2 sessions. By the end of the day, I was happy with the day, but I had hardly said two words to anyone. I had really wanted to network, but my shy side had stopped me (yes I do actually have a shy side. It’s very small, but it’s there). Phil Robinson, the president of the chapter, invited everyone to a local sports bar for dinner and I went.

This is where the magic happened.

Before I even went into the building I was greeted by someone from Quest. She happens to work in the building next to me. She introduced me to others and I finally began to network. As the night moved on, I met Phil Helmer (B|T) and everything really changed. He introduced me to other frequent members of the local chapter, as well as some of the speakers. We talked about the PASS Summit 2012, which I wasn’t going to be able to attend until 2013. After talking to Phil for a couple of hours, I decided I wanted to go this year, so I convinced my manager to let me go.

Phil was also the one who convinced me to set up a Twitter account, which I’m now an active member of. Twitter has provided me a way to stay in touch with the SQL community. It has also provided a way to help others with SQL questions.

That night I also struck up a conversation with Benjamin Nevarez (B|T). I told him how I use to be a Microsoft Certified Trainer and I wanted to start speaking on SQL topics in a year or two. He thought that goal was too far away and that I should speak at the next Huntington Beach SQL Saturday coming up in early 2013. He was very encouraging and has convinced me to submit a proposal.

But it gets better.

Fast forward to a couple of weeks prior to SQL PASS Summit 2012. I received an email from Joe Fleming (T). He was to be my mentor for Summit 2012. He was so helpful, answering all my questions and making sure I met people at the Summit. He’s not the only one either. Before the Summit even started, I had met new people on Twitter who would be attending the conference. Once I arrived at the Summit, I didn’t sit still for a week. I met so many fabulous people, and they accepted me, just the way I am. I never felt like the ugly stepsister. I never felt like the eccentric artist. I was never shut out because I’m Christian. I was accepted.

I was part of the SQL community.

Update: After reading the other T-SQL Tuesday #36 blog posts. I realized that I hadn’t thanked the host, Chris Yates (B|T) for hosting this month’s SQL blog party. Thank you Chris.

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