Despite the efforts of American Airlines, this past weekend I attended the first SQL Saturday in the UK! Hosted by the SQLCambs Chapter of PASS and organized by Mark (b|t) & Lorraine Broadbent, ably assisted by John Martin (b|t), Mark Pryce-Maher (b|t) and other folks whose names I've unfortunately forgotten, it was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, which is completely surrounded by Cambridge University.
On Friday, they presented 3 pre-conference sessions given by the brilliant American Cloud & DBA Guru, Buck Woody (b|t), the brilliant Danish SQL Server Internals Guru, Mark Rasmussen (b|t), and the brilliant Scottish Business Intelligence Guru and recent Outstanding Pass Volunteer, Jen Stirrup (b|t). While I would have loved to attend any of their pre-cons (having seen them present several times already), finances and American Airlines ultimately made that impossible. But not to worry, I caught up with them during the regular sessions and at the speaker dinner. And I got back the money they all owed me. (Actually I owed Mark some money)
The schedule was jam-packed even with only 4 tracks, there were 8 regular slots, a lunch session for sponsor presentations, and a 15 minute keynote given by Buck Woody, who besides giving an excellent history of SQL Server at Microsoft (and before), also explained the source of the "unknown contact" image that appears in Outlook. Hint: it's not Buck himself.
Amazingly, (and against all better judgment, ;) they allowed me to present at SQL Saturday 162! I did a 5 minute Lightning Talk on Regular Expressions in SSMS. I then did a regular 50 minute session on Constraints. You can download the content for the regular session at that link, and for the regular expression presentation here.
I had a great time and had a great audience for both of my sessions. You would never have guessed this was the first event for the organizers, everything went very smoothly, especially for the number of attendees and the relative smallness of the space. The event sponsors also deserve a lot of credit for making themselves fit in a small area and for staying through the entire event until the giveaways at the very end.
Overall this was one of the best SQL Saturdays I've ever attended and I have to congratulate Mark B, Lorraine, John, Mark P-M, and all the volunteers and speakers for making this an astoundingly hard act to follow! Well done!