Archive for year 2009
Whats your favorite time of the year?
People often ask why I enjoy this time of year so much. For me its very simple, the time frame from about Oct15-Jan1 is easily the busiest time of the year for me which I guess means that I thrive under pressure!!
It all usually starts around the 15th of Oct when the last minute tweakings of the PASS summit are starting to fall into place, then usually the first week of Nov the annual PASS Summit happens and we get to see all of the hard work the dedicated PASS volunteers and speakers put in come together in a great display of SQL community and quite possibly the best quality SQL Server education opportunity anywhere!
In years past I have almost 100% dropped PASS work until the following January/February to give plenty of time to recharge before embarking on another marathon ordeal of working on the various committee’s and such. This year I have attempted to start working on PASS stuff almost immediately after the summit. I’m not convinced yet that this is the right thing to do as the risk of burnout runs high when you have no “down” time. We’ll see how this works for this year and if it doesnt seem to effect anything, Ill continue down this road.
The Fun Stuff
As soon as the summit is over I head home and its prime time Yellowfin Tuna fishing season. This means that I spend as many weather permitting weekends (60 hr trips) as possible headed out about 200 miles into the Gulf Of Mexico in search of fresh hard fighting Yellowfin tuna. This is one of may favorite hobbies/vices and can quickly consume huge amounts of time, Just ask my family who have happily learned to deal with it.
Wait there is more
On top of all these “fun” things I like to do, there are those little things called Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New years. Those 3 wonderful days that every employee (in the U.S at least) looks forward to if for no other reason than the time they get off work. Some days around my office this time of year I have enough time to catch up on some of those “nice to have’s” at work, other days its like the flood gates have opened up and there is no seeing the end of the torrent!
Get to the point already
So whats the point of this post? there are 2 points actually
1: To wish all 2 of you that read this a Merry Christmas, or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate.
2: To give you a slight timesuck and very big laugh for the day before your long weekend hopefully begins!
This Bohemian Rhapsody is from the end of the first SQL Karaoke night when we ran the bar out of Jaeger got together and had a good time. Please be forewarned that there is quite possibly some NSFW language in this video. How many of your SQL Server colleagues can you pick out in this video? be sure to look to the right side where its dark and many of them were hiding!
Next year at the PASS Summit in Seattle make sure you attend the #SQLKaraoke night(s) at Bush Garden and you too can appear here. Hopefully, I’ll get the minor editing done on the grand finale from night #2 of SQL Karaoke with 2 times the amount of SQL people up before the new year!
The PASS summit 2009
When building something as large as the educational content of the SQLPASS summit there are many people involved in doing it successfully. As 2009 winds down I would like to take the time to publicly thank many of the people who were involved in making the annual summit this year quite possibly the best ever.
In a post soon, Ill do better justice in explaining exactly what it is the program committee does and how we manage to pull of stuffing 160+ full length SQL Server sessions into 3 glorious days. For now, the list of the people who helped in 09 and a brief description of what they were involved with will have to do.
Lynda Rab ( Twitter) – PASS Board of Director – In charge of everything related to the PASS Program committee
Kathi Kellenberger (Blog / Twitter) – Abstract review site configuration
Ayad Shammout – Database Administration abstract review and selection team
Dave Fackler (Blog) – Business Intelligence abstract review and selection team
Tim Martin – Business Intelligence abstract review and selection team
Ben Debow – Leader of the Applications Development abstract review and selection team
Todd Robinson (Twitter) – Applications Development abstract review and selection team
Roman Rehak (Blog) – Applications Development abstract review and selection team
Lance Harra (Twitter)- Leader of the Professional Development abstract review and selection team
Nancy Hidy Wilson (Twitter) – Assembling the session evaluation forms
Sheila Acker (Twitter) – Assembling the session evaluation forms
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our wonderful support at PASS HQ
Elena Sebastiano – PASS HQ – Elena was our dedicated resource at HQ for everything related to program. I’m probably not stretching much in saying that we would not have a summit without her.
Craig Ellis – PASS HQ – Craig has a hand in most everything for the summit and did a huge amount of work with logistics
If you know any of these people please take a moment and give them thanks for all their hard work, without them, the SQL Community wouldn’t have an event as great as the PASS Summit!
In order to showcase the hard work of the program committee in selecting good topics, and the hard work of our wonderful speakers in delivering good topics, and in the spirit of #tsql2sday, I’m going to link to a session from the 2009 PASS Summit that has had the video uploaded where you might be able to learn something about dates in SQL server. (you had to attend the summit to get the video but the slides are available to anyone)
I need help
No not the mental kind, but the volunteer labor kind.
I mentioned when I started this blog, that I was going to use it as a place to make calls for volunteers of all types. I plan on having a need for “Committee based” volunteers, and “Task based” volunteers over the next year. I figure that starting out, I should detail what my thoughts are regarding the different types of volunteers (these are my thoughts, not PASS’s)
Committee based volunteer: Someone who works for a long(ish) period of time on a series of assigned tasks, that usually culminate in some larger overall accomplished goals
Task based volunteer: Someone who works for a shorter amount of time on a single task that needs to be completed by a predetermined deadline
For this endeavour, I need a few volunteers that can help the program committee in a task based role. We had a really great speaker evaluation response rate at this years summit (approx 15,000 evals returned, you guys rock!!) and while that’s terrific for the speakers, and next years program work, its not so great for the people having to manually enter all 15000 of those responses. <digression> Yes I know there is a thing called the web, and we should move to an online evaluation system, and if you’ve attended PASS in the past, you’ll remember that we’ve had online evaluations before. Our experience in the past has been that we get far fewer evals online than we do if we ask the door greeters to hand you paper ones. </digression>
What I need your help with is taking all of the data that is being entered into the system and getting meaningful data for our speakers out. Yep, this sounds somewhat like DBA work to me so, this should easily fit some of our volunteers skills, until I tell you the data is in Access Excel. Please dont let that scare you though, we can do anything we like with the raw data to get the information out, we just have to get it into something meaningful for our speakers. While this whole process was supposed to be a fairly quick project so we could get results to the speakers quickly, we didnt anticipate the amount of evals we would recieve. For a little perspective we recieved just under 3000 evals last year with a larger attendee base. Im hoping that we can get this started, and finished in in a short amount of time, Im aiming for before the 15th of Dec. I would estimate that no one person should spend more than 5-15 hours over the next few weeks working on this.
- Approx project deadline — Dec 15 2009
- Approx time needed — 5-15 hours
As always, PASS, the SQL Community, and I personally thank you for offering your time
What does Karaoke have to do with PASS?
Luckily, having a moral opposition to karaoke does not preclude you from attending the summit of from volunteering to help SQLPASS grow. We’ll take anyone who wants to help anytime you’re willing (more on that tomorrow).
After a long day of stuffing our brains full of SQL gold, quite a few PASS Summit attendees decided to head out to bush garden for Karaoke, a little bit All they had of Jaeger and to blow off a little steam. As we have proven year after year, if you mix SQL Geeks, Jaeger, and a karaoke machine you never know whats going to happen.
After attending my first Karaoke night at SQLPASS in Seattle 06 I realized that a very important piece of the PASS Summit value proposition is in these evening/night time events, they allow you to see that we are all (no matter our stature in the SQL community) Just HUMAN SQL Geeks, and for the most part everyone is very approachable. Watch the attached video, and tell me that you’d have any trouble at all walking up to Josh the next day to talk about SQL, the only problem might be keeping from laughing at with him about the night before. After spending an evening with an entire group of these guys/gals you realize that its no big deal to walk up and talk to any them when you see them in the hall the next day at the summit, or while looking for a place to eat lunch, or wherever your paths cross. It works as a great “reason” to talk to your fellow attendees, and has a side effect of creating this amazing thing that we Techies always call “your network”
PASS After Dark
“off beat and off key, its not easy to do”
Why do I volunteer for PASS?
Ive been asked more times than I can count why I spend so many hours working for an organization that doesnt pay anything other than thanks and smiles.
I work for a large company, and have a very small team of people. As such, it is often very helpful to have a sounding board outside of your sphere of influence to talk to people about ideas, issues and bacon, mostly bacon. Sure there has always been newsgroups and forums and they certainly have their place for this type of information exchange. However, when you know someone and have shared a dinner, a beer, a session, or even just a 5 minute hall discussion, they are more vested in you’re outcome than some random stranger on an internet forum. The overall quality of the conversations and of the information that is exchanged in these groups is higher than the average internet sql community, if only by a little bit.
Payment (in the form of knowledge) for the work I do for PASS is 100% reaped by my employer, in the form of better database systems! Granted my professional knowledge is also increased but, whats good for me is good for them too right? This becomes a pretty easy sell at least in my head to know that I can put in some hours of work for a professional organization and in return they open up many conversation breakers between myself and not only the superstars of the SQL community but between myself and many of the rest of the community that is just as eager to share their knowledge.
So, with that in mind I give you a new friend that Ive twittered with for quite a while but,only just met at SQLPASS this year @mrdenny (blog). I think Denny may have had 1 too many Jaeger shots that night but, this rendition of eye of the tiger is #PASSAWESOMENESS