The new CDs are here! The new CDs are here! I'm a DBA!
If you are a member of PASS (Professional Association for SQL Server) then you have been inundated (in the newsletter if nowhere else) with advertisements and reminders to purchase the PASS 2004 Community Summit CDs. These were advertised during the summit, and I was a bit skeptical, especially with a price-tag of $195 ($495 for members who did not attend the Summit, $595 for the rest of the you). But, it turned out that there were enough times during the conference that there were multiple sessions I wanted to attend all at the same time, that I decided to go ahead and do it. I placed my order while at the conference, and today they arrived!
I am glad I made the investment. There are 3 CDs (one for each day of the conference) and they contain many of the sessions, including many that were done by Microsoft. One that I am really happy to see on here is the 3-part series called The complete, integrated, end-to-end BI platform: How it's done in SQL Server 2005. This was one that I was very interested in attending, but I just wasn't ready to commit almost the entire day (3 out of 4 sessions) to it. Now I can go through it when I have the time. Perhaps best of all is that Graz's second presentation on Profiler and Trace in SQL 2005 is here, including his blatant attempts to bribe the audience with candy, and shameless promotions of his web site SQLTeam.com (which, given the opportunity, I would copy in a heartbeat, but alas, I am left to my blog and SQLTeam to shamelessly promote my own business, Infoneering).
The way the presentations are played back is much like you would see if you have ever attended a webinar or on-demand webcast (requires Windows Media Player). Basically what you get is the presenter's voice-over and you see the slides and demos that they did. It is not a video of the presenter, but rather a capture of what went through the projector and the microphone. The slides are all crystal clear, but unfortunately the video of the demos are not quite as clear as I'd like. Now, if the presenter did like Graz did, and told you everything they were doing on-screen while doing it, and increased the font size on their display, then I was able to make out a lot of what was going on on-screen. But anything that was left in small fonts on the screen just didn't come through well. But then again, anything in small fonts on the screen wasn't really visible by anyone sitting farther back than the second row when we were there in person, either.
One nice feature is that because these are on CD instead of streamed over the internet, you don't have any lag-time when you want to jump ahead or back in the presentation. Also, each segment within a presentation that is broken out in the playback agenda (basically each slide or demo) if you hover your mouse over it in the list, it shows you how long that segment is.
Overall, I'd give these discs a thumbs-up, especially considering this is the first time PASS has done this, and I know that some of the presenters had technical glitches just getting everything setup. For the sessions I attended, these are a good refresher, and for those that I did not, these will be a good start. Not every session presented at the Summit is on here, but I think the estimate is that around 75% of them are. The list of sessions that are included is on the PASS website and shows that Rob's hero Ken Henderson is on here, so is Kimberly Tripp's presentation on Partitioning, which was a hit. Unfortunately, the daily keynote presentations are not on here, but I guess they had to leave a few big things as a draw to go in person (as if spending several days in a resort in Florida, the networking contacts and other social activities were not enough).
posted @ Thursday, November 18, 2004 11:07 PM