PASS and Other Events

PASS Summit 2013 Review

As a long-standing member of PASS who lives in the greater Seattle area and has attended about nine of these Summits, let me start out by saying how GREAT it was to go to Charlotte, North Carolina this year.  Many of the new folks that I met at the Summit this year, upon hearing that I was from Seattle, commented that I must have been disappointed to have to travel to the Summit this year after 5 years in a row in Seattle.  Well, nothing could be further from the truth.  I cheered loudly when I first heard that the...

Before the Summit of 2012

Today, Monday, was the first day of the PASS Summit Preconference training events, but instead I spent the day at the free SQL in the City event put on by Red Gate. For me this was not a financial decision (pre-con sessions cost extra above the general Summit registration) but rather a matter of interest.  I had already included money for pre-cons in this year’s training budget, but none of them really stood out to me, so even if the Red-Gate event were not going on at the same time, I probably would not have gone to any pre-cons this...

What Did You Do? is a Bad Question

Brian Moran (blog | Twitter) did a great presentation today for the PASS Professional Development Virtual Chapter on The Art of Questions.  One of the points that Brian made was that there are good questions and bad (or at least not-as-good) questions.  Good questions tend to open-up the conversation and engender positive reactions (perhaps even trust and respect) between the participants; and bad questions tend to close-down a conversation either through the narrow list of possible responses (e.g. strictly Yes/No) or through the negative reactions they can produce.  And this explains why I so frequently had problems troubleshooting real-time problems...

SQL Server Developer Tools – Codename Juneau vs. Red-Gate SQL Source Control

So how do the new SQL Server Developer Tools (previously code-named Juneau) stack up against SQL Source Control?  Read on to find out. At the PASS Community Summit a couple of weeks ago, it was announced that the previously code-named Juneau software would be released under the name of SQL Server Developer Tools with the release of SQL Server 2012.  This replacement for Database Projects in Visual Studio (also known in a former life as Data Dude) has some great new features.  I won’t attempt to describe them all here, but I will applaud Microsoft for making major improvements. ...

Summit Time!

Boy, how time flies!  I can hardly believe that the 2011 PASS Summit is just one week away.  Maybe it snuck up on me because it’s a few weeks earlier than last year.  Whatever the cause, I am really looking forward to next week.  The PASS Summit is the largest SQL Server conference in the world and a fantastic networking opportunity thrown in for no additional charge.  Here are a few thoughts to help you maximize the week. Networking As Karen Lopez (blog | @DataChick) mentioned in her presentation for the Professional Development Virtual Chapter just a couple...

PASS Summit 2010 Recap

Last week I attended my eighth PASS Summit in nine years, and every year it is a fantastic event!  I was fortunate my first year to have a contact (Bill Graziano (blog | Twitter) from SQLTeam) that I was expecting to meet, and who got me started on a good track of making new contacts.  Each year I have made a few more, and renewed friendships from years past.  Many of the attendees agree that the pure networking opportunities are one of the best benefits of attending the Summit.  And there’s a lot of great technical stuff, too, some of...

Speakers, Please Check Your Time

Woodrow Wilson was once asked how long it would take him to prepare for a 10 minute speech. He replied "Two weeks". He was then asked how long it would take for a 1 hour speech. "One week", he replied. 2 hour speech? "I'm ready right now," he replied.  Whether that is a true story or an urban legend, I don’t really know, but either way, it is a poignant reminder for all speakers, and particularly apropos this week leading up to the PASS Community Summit. (Cross-posted to the PASS Professional Development Virtual Chapter blog #PASSProfDev.) What’s the...

On Web Camp and Convention Facilities

I attended the Web Camp in Redmond last Friday at the Microsoft Conference Center.  It was a really nice setup in the room with rows of tables (plenty of space between them) and long power strips so every attendee could plug-in their laptop.  The week before that, I attended SQLSaturday, also at a Microsoft facility, and it had rows of tables setup and plenty of in-floor outlets.  Maybe this is just to be expected at Microsoft…it makes sense that of the events that will be held at a Microsoft facility, it is likely that a large portion of the attendees...

SQL Saturday 43 in Redmond

I attended my first SQLSaturday a couple of days ago, SQLSaturday #43 in Redmond (at Microsoft).  I got there really early, primarily because I forgot how fast I can get there from my home when nobody else is on the road.  On a weekday in rush hour traffic, that would have taken two hours to get there.  I gave myself 90 minutes, and actually got there in about 45.  Crazy! I made the mistake of going to the main Microsoft campus, but that’s not where the event was being held.  Instead it was in a big Microsoft conference center...

PASS Summit Closing Session

Andy Warren mentions in his Closing Out PASS 2009 post, that he “almost wish[es] for a closing session”.  I agree that it would be nice to have some sort of wrap-up session, because it does feel a bit awkward to just fade back to normal life after such a fantastic event. Oh sure, I take part in what appears to be turning into an annual tradition with a few folks where we are sure to get together for dinner on the last night of the main conference, and I want to keep doing that, but just walking out of...

PASS 2009 Thursday – Part 2

Had another great day of training on Thursday at the PASS Summit.  After the fantastic keynote by David DeWitt, I went to a breakout session by Joe Webb on Data Driven Subscriptions in Reporting Services.  We already use Data Driven Subscriptions in my company, but I figured I could always learn something new, and besides, Joe is a good presenter.  Unfortunately I could not stay through the whole session because I had to leave early to get ready for the Meet the Chapters event at the lunch.  I was hosting the table for the Professional Development Virtual Chapter that we...

PASS 2009 Thursday – Part 1

Thursday was the last day of the main conference this year, and it was kicked off in fine fashion by Bill Graziano who promised to have the fastest keynote at the conference.  Part of Bill’s talk involved a moment of recognition for Kevin Kline, for the amazing amounts of work he did over 10 years of being on the PASS Board of Directors.  Over the seven Summit conferences that I have attended, I have never seen the PASS crowd give a standing ovation to anybody, but they did this year, and it was well deserved.  Thanks, Kevin, for all you...

PASS 2009 Wednesday

The Summit on Wednesday kicked off with Rushabh Mehta, new PASS President, making some opening remarks and then handing-off to Ted Casey from Microsoft for the keynote.  The things that stuck in my mind from Tom’s talk were some whiz-bang demos of PowerPivot with Excel 2010 and SharePoint 2010.  There was a demo where they were manipulating 100 million rows in Excel and made an off-hand remark about Excel 2010 including a mini OLAP engine in it to handle this.  And there was something about Reporting Services Data Sources can be exported as a Data Feed which can be consumed...

PASS 2009 Tuesday Breakouts

There are 160 breakout sessions this year at the PASS Community Summit in Seattle, with 14 different sessions going on in any given time slot.  This means that there is a really good chance that you will find something of interest to attend during every session time slot.  This also means that there is a good chance that there will be more than one thing that you want to attend at a time.  And since I still haven’t found that cloning lab that Graz was talking about, I’m glad that most of these sessions are being recorded and will be...

PASS 2009 Tuesday – Opening Remarks and Keynote

KUDOS to Wayne Snyder! If you have read my reviews of past PASS Community Summit events, you probably know that it is a bit of a pet peeve of mine when speakers run over their scheduled time.  Taking a more positive approach this year, I’d like to commend PASS President Wayne Snyder for realizing he was running out of time during his opening remarks before the Microsoft Keynote, and cutting his talk short, skipping over a couple of his last slides.  I’m sure that the valuable information he had on those slides will be presented to the membership at...

Introducing PASS Professional Development Virtual Chapter

Next week at the PASS Community Summit, we will unveil the newest chapter of PASS, the Professional Development Virtual Chapter.  Previously known as SIGs (Special Interest Groups) these have been renamed as Virtual Chapters, which I think is a better description.  After all, they are organized and run like any other chapter of PASS, except that they are not constrained by geography or proximity of its membership.  And the phrase “Special Interests” has taken on such a negative political connotation lately, that I am happy to be distancing ourselves from that. Arnie Rowland, Jason Massie and I have been...

PASS Summit 2009 - An Early Start

The Professional Association for SQL Server (PASS) is getting a great, early, start on preparations for the 2009 community summit to be held in Seattle November 2nd - 5th.  I have worked on the Program Committee for several of the past Summit events (and again this year) and I am impressed and excited by what has been accomplished already. First, the event site is up and running with a lot of information about the event and also some tips to help you emphasize the return on investment to your boss (or yourself).  On the site you...

PASS 2008: Days 2 & 3

Thursday and Friday of the PASS Community Summit blurred together a bit for me.  Not because of the parties Thursday night which apparently left many people bleary-eyed, but the cold medicine I was taking sure didn't help things.  But primarily because I bounced in and out of a few sessions and had some work stuff mixed in.  And on top of that, my 5-month old waking up every couple of hours throughout the night did not make for very restful nights.  Oh well, the things I endure for personal development.  ;-) Here are a few of the miscellaneous lessons...

PASS GO 500

And you thought that you only got $200 for passing GO, didn't you?  Well, this isn't Monopoly, my friends, this is SQL Server.  And while attending the PASS Community Summit this year, I saw Joe Webb do this trick.  I wasn't the only one in the crowd who went, "Wha???" when they saw it. Most of you readers already know that GO is not a SQL command, but rather it is the commonly used word to separate batches.  In other words, the client tool (Query Analyzer, SQL Management Studio, OSQL.exe, etc.) parse whatever commands you execute, separating them into...

PASS 2008: Women in Technology

I went to the Women in Technology lunch yesterday.  Yes, some of you will be quick to realize that I am not a woman, but the lunch is not exclusive to women.  Rather, it is about women who have achieved success in technology sharing tips and suggestions on how to do likewise.  Maybe as a guy it never really occurred to you that A) Technology is a very male-dominated career field and B) there are issues that professional women have to deal with that men just never (or rarely) even think about. The luncheon was a huge success, with...

PASS 2008: D-Day (a.k.a. Main Conference Day 1)

Things got off to a great start with PASS President Wayne Snyder coming on stage to the tune Born to Be Wild with appropriate video clip and real motorcycle (and don't forget the shades!).  Lots of awesome things coming soon to a database server near you.  Joe Webb has a great summary of this morning's Keynote. Given my current work situation, I play a lot of different roles, so I fully expected to be bouncing around between the four different tracks that we have here (DBA, Application Development, BI, and Professional Development).  But today turned out to be a...

PASS 2008: D-1

Spent the day today in the PASS Volunteer Training session.  It covered a variety of things from the History of PASS (started in 1999 in Chicago) to updates from each member of the Board of Directors about what is happening in their areas.  For those who do not know, each member of the Board has a specific area of responsibility.  For example, Graz is the VP of Marketing this year so he was involved in working with the folks from Microsoft to get PASS and the Summit prominent mention on the SQL home page.  Lynda Rab is the Director of...

Checkout the PASS Web Site

Have you seen the PASS web site lately?  I'll have to admit that before today I had not looked at it in a long time.  To be honest, I was not all that impressed with it in the past.  But NOW.... WOW!  MUCH Improved! As of this writing, it is still in "Beta" which I guess is the new, hip way to say "under construction".  I've noticed that the official Dilbert web site has been in Beta for months.  Wonder when they're going to consider it "Live".  But I digress.  If I understood correctly in the Volunteer session today,...

Twitter Test

If it's good enough for Joe...  I just setup my own Twitter account to give this a test run.  Looks like a good option for quick comments from the PASS conference that may later lead to broader blog entries.  Anyone else playing along?

Last Minute Presentation Tips

By now (we hope) you have fine-tuned your slides and demos, and are feeling very comfortable and confident in the material you are going to present at PASS this week.  There are a lot of things that go into preparing for a live presentation, and there are a lot of bad examples out there.  One of my favorite blogs on presentation skills is Presentation Zen by Garr Reynolds.  Absolutely fabulous tips for any type of presentation (technical or otherwise).  But it's probably too late to radically overhaul your slides and incorporate all of his recommendations, so here are a few...

It's Time for PASS

Well, here we are on the eve of another PASS Community Summit in Seattle.  Last year it was in Denver, then two years ago it was here in Seattle.  I'm looking forward to another great event! The main conference doesn't really start until Wednesday.  On Monday and Tuesday there are day-long pre-con events which are always popular.  Tuesday night is the kickoff Welcome Reception where you can reconnect with friends from past events, and meet new ones.  And then we hit the ground running Wednesday morning with the first Keynote by Ted Kummert, Corporate Vice President, Data and Storage...

Dinner with the Board

Opportunity is a funny thing... it comes along when you least expect it.

Launch: SQL 2005, Visual Studio 2005, BizTalk 2006

22 days after the big party in San Francisco, I was finally able to attend the local launch event...

PASS 2006 Hotels

Just thought you might want to know as you're making your travel plans.

Blastoff! SQL Server 2005 Launches

Today, November 7, 2005, a date which will NOT live in infamy, but hey, it's still kinda cool.

PASS 2005: In-Flight Movie

Even thought I've seen it many times, I just had to watch again...

PASS 2005: Speaker Tips: -- FEWER Slides

Use fewer slides and more commentary. Nobody will be upset about getting out a couple of minutes early.

PASS 2005: Presentation Downloads

Remember that if you are a member of PASS you can download the speaker presentations.

Reporting Services Calendar Control

People have just come to expect these days that when they have to enter a date value that there will be some sort of calendar control right there so they can see a view of the month if they need to...

PASS 2005: D+2 General Session Part 2

Then, Jim Gray from Microsoft's Bay Area Research Center came in and talked about where things are going in the future, including the merging of objects and databases...

PASS 2005: D+2 General Session

Kicking off this morning is Wayne Snyder for PASS. He's crazy...

PASS 2005: D+1: HP Keynote

OK, HP, I appreciate that you guys are a major sponsor of the PASS Community Summit, and as such you deserve some general session time. But come on! Send us somebody who exudes at least interest, if not excitement about his subject matter...

PASS 2005: Ultimate Swag

I suppose a fancy sports car or a new house or a couple of Bill's Billions would be the ULTIMATE swag, but this year is better than the last and it just keeps getting better...

PASS 2005: D+1: Keynotes

The best part of the morning was when they demo'd the new Health Advisor reports...

PASS 2006: Start Planning

It has already been announced that next year's summit will be back in Seattle. Start making your plans now to come visit!

PASS 2005: D-1 Wrapup

A few other notes about the conference and facilities...

SQL Server 2005 Launch Events

SQL Server 2005 officially launches November 7, 2005 with a big launch event in San Francisco, California. But just because you can't get to San Francisco doesn't mean you have to miss out on everything.

PASS 2005: D-1: Swag & Fiasco

What an adventure already! I got checked-in to the conference and picked up the swag...However, all was not well in Muddville today...

PASS 2005: D-1: Travel & Check-in

Well, here we are again. And what a beautiful place to be! After flying the red-eye from Seattle, I just checked-in to the Gaylord Texan Resort for the 2005 PASS Community Summit.

PASS 2005: Getting Ready

The 2005 PASS Community Summit in Grapevine, Texas is just two weeks away! If you haven't started to prepare for it yet, NOW is the time!

Know Anyone Near Dallas, Texas?

We are seeking additional speakers to give talks at the PASS Community Summit in 2005.

MSDN Events: Winter 2005

I just returned from attending the latest MSDN Event (Winter 2005) where once again, we had Rory Blyth as our presenter. The three segments today were WinForms Bonanza, Debugging ASP.NET Web Apps, and Visual Studio Team System...

MSDN Events: Fall 2004

Today, I was surrounded by celebrities. I went to the MSDN Event in downtown Seattle today where the infamous Rory Blyth, was the speaker. His boss, Paul Murphy was also there. And Jim Blizzard snuck in, too.

PASS 2005: Getting Started

PASS Community Summit 2005: Call for Presentations open now until March 4, 2005.

PASS 2004: Summit CDs

I placed my order while at the conference, and today they arrived! I am glad I made the investment.

PNWSQL: Query Execution

At tonight's meeting of PNWSQL we had Craig Freedman from the Query Execution Team at Microsoft talk...Here are a few notes to whet your appetite.

Native Web Services in SQL 2005

Just got back from the local SQL Server User's Group meeting tonight where the topic of discussion was Native Web Services in SQL 2005.  There were a few points that stood out, which I will share with you here.  But before doing that, a note to everyone who attended the PASS Community Summit in Orlando, or who by other means acquired the SQL Server 2005 Beta 2 Resource Kit.  When this was handed out at PASS, it didn't sink in just what all was on here.  We were reminded tonight that, in addition to SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition Beta...

PASS 2004: D+1 Veritas Keynote

When is a vendor presentation not just a sales pitch? When it actually provides information that is useful whether you buy their product or not...

PASS 2004: Other freebies

Free books and software just for attending and giving them an email address... Not bad!

Pass 2004: Graziano on Profiler in SQL 2005

The two things that stood out to me in this presentation were the Deadlock Graph, and the Performance Monitor stats...

PASS 2004: D-Day. And the answer is...

Apparently the PASS Board and Bill Baker from Microsoft do not read my blog...

PASS 2004: D - 1

The conference begins with a light reception, and the appearance of the Most Valuable Yak.

PASS 2004: Swag

Just got back from breakfast with Graz, Chris, and Denise.  Went over to registration to pick up our stuff.  So far, we've got a large soft-side laptop case/briefcase.  It's thick enough to hold a laptop computer, 3-ring binder, and several other things.  There's also a ticket for a drawing for a digital camera from HP on Friday at the general session (must be present to win).  I believe they are also giving out SQL 2005 Beta 2 but I haven't seen it yet.  Probably at the Microsoft booth in the exhibit hall. The doorbell (yes, doorbell) on my room just rang...

PASS 2004: Plan for 2005

PASS 2005 to be in Texas...

PASS 2004: D-2

Arriving in Orlando for the 2004 PASS Community Summit. Nice hotel!

What's New in DTS 2005

As the speaker put it, the short answer to the question is: Everything.

MVP Summit Comes to a Close

The MVP Summit here in Redmond came to a close just a couple of days ago, and I didn't even get a t-shirt.

MSDD: Securing a Login Form

At the lunch break, one of the people I was talking to said, “Instead of showing us how to hack an unsecure login page, why don't they just build a secure login page component we can use?”. Well guess what we saw during the closing session...

MSDD: No WiFi? No Big Deal.

My first thoughts were, "Was this a conscious decision, or merely an oversight? Why wouldn't Microsoft provide this?" And it bothered me a little bit... But now looking back on the day, I'm glad it wasn't there.

Return from Microsoft DevDays (MSDD) 2004

Got home a little while ago from the largest attended MS DevDays event in the United States...Overall, I'd say it was a great one-day event.

PASS Summit 2003 - Opening Session Rave

Yesterday I ranted about Guy Brown's opening of the PASS conference. Today I'm raving about Gordon Mangione's presentation...

PASS Summit 2003 - Opening Session Rant

I had a great time at the 2003 PASS Community Summit in Seattle. It was a valuable use of my time. But what should have started with a bang, instead began with a fizzle...

PASS Summit 2003 - Funniest Moment: Security

During his keynote talk Wednesday morning, Gordon Mangione (VP SQL Server, Microsoft) said to his assistant who was about to demonstrate a new feature in Yukon, “If you login as SA, Blank Password, you're fired.” Everyone laughed and it became the joke of the day. But think about it for a moment...

SQL Server 64-way / 64-bit

To answer Scoble's question, the recent TPC-C benchmarks that MS is proclaiming were run on a 64-way, 64-bit machine with 1/2 TB of RAM.  I'm pretty sure I heard Gordon Magnione say this in his keynote at PASS.  I know for sure that he said one of their next steps is to take it up to a full Terrabyte of RAM. And then this morning I had breakfast with a guy from HP who, when I asked what he did started to tell me about the HP team at Microsoft performance tuning a 64-way 64-bit machine for the TPC benchmarks.  I double-verified...

PASS Summit 2003 - More Reporting Services

Some of the features that really stuck out for me were: variety of data sources, "burst" reports, support for hierarchical data, caching and history options, and multiple output formats. I'll briefly describe each of these...

PASS Summit 2003 - Day 4 - Mark's Big Mistake

I'm pretty upset with myself this morning. In just about 15 minutes, the general session for today will get started, and I'm not there. I made a bad choice a couple of months ago when I decided to register for only one day of the conference...

PASS Summit 2003 - Day 3 - Reporting Services

Went to two sessions on Reporting Services for SQL 2000 today. This looks like it will really be a great tool...There is no doubt that Microsoft is taking reporting services seriously...

PASS Summit 2003 - Day 3 - VB.NET gets some respect

I didn't make any official study of this, but I did notice that in the only two sessions where I heard a .NET language specifically mentioned, it was VB.NET...

PASS Summit - Day 3 - Keynote Scoop

Gordon Mangione just announced that last night they posted a new SQL Best Practices Analyzer available on the website.  I didn't see it when I just did a quick scan, but look for it. This is a “read-only” tool, so it won't change your server settings.  Has about 70 rules currently, plus you can define your own additional rules to scan and report.  This will run against SQL2000.  Go check it out!

PASS Summit 2003 - Day 2 - Reception and Chatter

Day 2:  Tuesday Just got home a little while ago from the Welcome Reception and post-func activities.  The Welcome Reception was okay.  It had some free food.  I made little roast beef sandwiches with the rolls they had there.  Probably could have made a serious meal out of it if I'd wanted to.  I saw some cookies and some melted brie, but didn't go there.  Found Graz and "the team" (Tim, Doug, David, Lance, Denise and Scott) pretty quickly.  The eight of us did a lot of socializing together last year and we pretty quickly picked up where left off.  I...

PASS Summit 2003 - Oh, one more thing

The Seattle Sheraton has WiFi access in its lobby, which was cool.  I tried to connect here to post a quick blog from there with my Palm Tungsten C which has WiFi, but as I was logging into my blog I got a Fatal Error which required hitting the reset button on the back.  So, I decided not to try that again.  Regardless, the access may come in handy for some folks.

PASS Summit 2003: Day 1 - Still Tired from the Move

So, to kick off the conference in fine style, I had a late dinner with Lance Harra...

PASS Summit 2003 - Day 0 - Other Stuff

Oh, here's a couple of other things...  First, I'm not going to either of the "pre-conference" seminars (which cost extra).  So I don't expect to have anything for Days 1 and 2.  Although, both of them tomorrow are all about Yukon which is very tempting, but just isn't in the budget either time or money wise.  But there are hands-on labs for Yukon that I plan to get into this week, and of course I expect each morning's general session to be all about Yukon. Found out that next year the PASS Community Summit will be at the Gaylord Palms Resort in...

PASS Summit 2003 - Day 0 - Registration Freebies

Just got back from checking in for the PASS 2003 Community Summit conference. Here are some of the free goodies I received already.

Preparing for PASS

Never attended a PASS conference? Or at least not one here in Seattle? Here are a few tips for getting the most out of the event, based on my experience last year.

Yukon Hands-on Labs at PASS

Here's yet another good reason to come to the PASS Community Summit in Seattle... They will have Hands-on labs using Yukon, the next version of SQL Server.

Come to Seattle!

This isn't really a tourist plug for the city, but rather encouraging you to come to the PASS Community Summit this November 11-14.

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