7 Days of PASS – Day 5

It’s 3.30am and I have been sleeping off a really bad pain in my stomach (from what I think is a Mango allergy). Having achieved practically nothing the night before, it is important that I manage to put in some serious hours into my session prep. The whole thing is going badly and I’m not happy, but I’ll keep plugging away up until the end. By 6.30am I have progressed a little further, but now it is time I start getting ready for the PASS Keynote in which I am on the Blogger table again. I’m out of my hotel by around 7.30am, so I quickly head to (yes you’ve guessed it) Starbucks at 600 Pine Street and grab a muffin for breakfast as I walk across to the Conference Center.

wp_20161026_08_16_53_proIt’s not long before I’m inside and finally seated at the conference table waiting for the keynote to start. By the end I didn’t feel that we experienced THE announcement to rule them all, but obviously, Analysis Services in the Cloud is a welcome addition and a shout out to previously announced SQL Server on Linux give us Penguinites a warm glow. I have actually been involved (or had access to) SQL Server on Linux since March time, so I know there is a great future ahead for this release and a lot of effort and love going into it (and a lot of discussion). See also the post Top 5 Announcements at PASS Summit 2016.

After the keynote, I had the pleasure of accompanying my good friends Niko Neugebauer (b|t) and Uwe Ricken (b|t) to our first session of the Summit titled Accelerate SQL Server 2016 to the Max: Lessons Learned from Early Customer Engagements [DBA-323-M]. The session was enjoyable and covered a large breadth of material, and Uwe’s enthusiasm for the session was very audible throughout! He kept making mumbling noises every five or ten minutes which sounded a bit like “YepUhhu” to the extent that Niko attempted to silence him. Unfortunately for us, his excitement did not stop. I spoke to Uwe about his noises after the session and he wasn’t even aware he was doing it :), so next time I shall bring an electric cattle prod if I ever sit with him again! It was very funny.

I also had the pleasure of chatting to the speakers Arvind Shyamsundar and Denzil Ribeiro afterward, and was a little surprised that they knew who I was (hopefully for the right reasons!). In my opinion, I am a virtual nobody, so it is always a little humbling when people who I respect say that they have heard of me.

After a long break and lunch, myself and Niko headed over to part one of Bob Ward’s session titled Inside SQL Server In-Memory OLTP [DBA-500-HD]. This session was really a mixed bag for me since it contained a large percentage of level 300 material to explain In-Memory OLTP to those who did not understand the technology (of which there seemed to be a high proportion) and then there was a small amount of level 500 debugging material which was enjoyable but held no practical use for me for my session prep (which is also on In-Memory OLTP). We decided to skip the second part and instead catch up with it when the videos come out. In reality, Bob has an impossible job pleasing everyone with his sessions due to the extremely varied levels of his audience. As myself and Niko were leaving we bumped into another good friend of ours (In-Memory guru Dmitri Korotkevitch (b|t) ) and we headed to the coffee shop for a quick cup of Java. After Coffee, I bumped into Richard Douglas and we went for a quick bite to eat, and afterwards parted company to go back to our respective commitments. Even though I was supposed to be spending the evening with a group of others watching a Bad Religion gig, I decided that it would be slightly unprofessional to go to a late night gig in which I could risk losing my voice and not being prepared for my session tomorrow. I regretfully gave my ticket to someone else and spent the evening in my room to continue work on it (sob sob).

See also in this series:
7 Days of PASS – Day 4
7 Days of PASS – Day 3
7 Days of PASS – Day 2
7 Days of PASS – Day 1

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7 Days of PASS – Day 4

dayofmeetingsWell, I started the day pretty much as I ended the previous night, I woke up and immediately started working on my session again! By around 9am I decided that I really ought to head out to breakfast, and went over to the Sheraton Bar and Grill and proceeded to eat the largest amount of Bacon and Salmon that has ever been consumed in one sitting. The buffet cost me 20 Bucks, but I suspect my Salmon alone cost that much wholesale! Combined with two huge Orange juices and several hogs worth of Bacon, I was not only very happy but very full!

Right after Breakfast, I headed across the road for my first visit of the day to Starbucks at 600 Pine St. I’m going to buy Shares in that place, and their Salted Caramel Mocha really is to die for. Upon entering the premises, who did I run into? None other than the mighty Tobiasz Janusz Koprowski (b¦t) in all his Ginger-Bearded glory. After having a quick man-hug and a chat, I went into a corner to start working upon my session.

After finally setting up all my gear, I looked down at my buzzing phone to see that the SQLSaturday Leaders meeting had started! What a dope, I’d got my timings wrong so I hurriedly packed up again and headed over to it.
I will be completely honest and say that I was not really very happy with the way the meeting went. As happens every year, it was very American-centric SQLSaturday discussion (again), and some of the growth decisions and target (I think) are very badly judged. I tied to make a forceful point that PASS need to stop looking towards the USA and Western Europe for their growth targets (especially since they acknowledge that our sponsorship funds are beginning to dry up), and instead focus money and energy on those developing and emerging countries where it is also incredibly cheap to run events. Specifically, I mentioned the African continent, Indian continent, and Eastern Europe but I really wasn’t happy with the response (which was quite fluffy) and I think some others (who had a similar focus) felt the same way. I know this, because a few came up to speak with me afterwards, and we will (hopefully) put together a forceful plan and proposal to make something happen -with or without PASS. This said, I don’t want these comments to be construed or come across as being too over-critical of PASS or the Board, since it is clear to me that they do actually care, but I just think sometimes it is easier for them to go after the low hanging fruit and never try to pick the juicy apple hanging just out of reach (however misplaced I believe that to be).

soon-white-cat-green-parrot2With barely a couple of hours to go before my next meeting in the Convention Center, I hurriedly rush back to my hotel and spend the time working on my session. In what seems like just minutes of work, I am back in the conference room for the Chapter Leaders meeting. I felt this meeting was a complete waste of my time, and we went over the same old ground that we cover every year and never really seem to get anywhere. Sponsors, growth, tooling etc were just some of the things we discussed again and I guarantee that this will be discussed again at the 2017 meeting. I don’t want to sound too negative, but I just don’t feel we are ever moving forward with anything we discussed this year, last year or the year before (or the year before that).
After the meeting finished, I had only one hour before the Virtual Chapter Leaders meeting at 4.45am, and because I planned to spend the rest of my evening working on my session, I headed over to the Dragonfish Cafe for some amazing Sushi, noodles, and crispy pancakes and washed this down with two pints of an amazing beer called Scuttlebutt Porter. Forty-five minutes later I am back at the Convention Center again for my third meeting of the day!

I really enjoyed the Virtual Chapter Leaders meeting, it was a great turn out -but obviously slimmer audience than the others. I think this was conducive to a more productive meeting and Wendy Pastrick (as always) did a great job covering plans for 2017. I’m really positive about the way things are heading and the Virtual Chapters Portfolio seems to have a great future ahead of it.

It may come as no surprise to you that after this meeting I headed back to my hotel to continue work on my session, but I picked up (what I thought) was an Orange juice on the way. On my flight over I had eaten some Mango and had had incredible stomach pain for two hours, so when the same thing seemed to happen after drinking this Orange juice, closer inspection of the bottle revealed the dreaded word “Mango” in the list of ingredients. I spent the next two hours cramped in pain and then decided to go to sleep and wake up early morning to catch up on my session prep -so that is exactly what I did.

Not a great end to the day!

See also in this series:
7 Days of PASS – Day 3
7 Days of PASS – Day 2
7 Days of PASS – Day 1

Posted in Community, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Tagged | 2 Comments

7 Days of PASS – Day 3

Comfy, but spending too much time here!

Comfy, but spending too much time here!

Today is the first day of the Summit pre-cons, and I wake up at 5am knowing that I won’t be attending. Instead, I will have a day of session preparation ahead of me because I am still behind and seriously need to get this train back on the tracks. I know the day is going to be a fairly solitary event, and so it proves, but I at least struggle to get myself to breakfast at the Dragonfish Cafe and have probably the most amazing tasting and crunchy fried potatoes ever -washed down with some eggs and American crispy bacon. One thing I have learnt about the Americans is that they LOVE potatoes and LOVE crispy bacon. But I’m not complaining!

After breakfast, I head down to Starbucks at 600 Pine St, with laptop in tow and start working on my session for the next 2 hours. I find this a good way to feel like I am still soaking up the ambiance of being in Seattle without becoming stuck with my laptop in my hotel room. Either way, I’d rather be doing something else, but it is what it is…

walk-backAfter a few hours, I decide to head over to the Washington State Convention Center and head over to registration to pick up my badges, gift, and other bits and pieces. There are only a few people kicking around since everyone else is in precon sessions, but I’m not really in the mood for talking much today so I silently grab my stuff and head back to my hotel to continue working on my session.

By now it is late afternoon, and having seen that there is the first ever Seattle User Group starting tonight, I decide that I will probably join them. I’m really not a big fan of pizza, so I decide to eat early and head down to the Taphouse for a very quick drink and food. Thirty minutes later I realize that it is time to be heading off to the User Group, so even though it is raining heavily, I duck in and out of cover whilst making my way southbound to get to where I want to go.

At the user group, Kevin Kline was giving a personal development session called “The Most Important IT Person in the Room: Why Data Experts Own the Future“, and I found some of the things he had to say quite interesting and useful. His central theme was that professionals who understand their data will be far more persuasive and important to a company than those that don’t. He wasn’t talking about us all becoming Data Scientists, only that we need to stop ignoring what is in front of our eyes because it is too important to ignore (it might sound obvious, but trust me, data ignorance is all too easy and all too common). I also really liked a point he made about inertia and motion – but I won’t ruin this soundbite for you, instead I would simply advise you to attend Kevin’s session the next time you get the opportunity.

usergroupAfter an enjoyable meeting, I  head back to my hotel in order to spend another few hours on my session. It is nearly 9pm but I am fortunate enough to walk past my increasingly regular Starbucks haunt on Pine St and delighted to find that it is still open! Now, with Salted Caramel Mocha in tow, I head back to my room and work until midnight. I am getting there, but I know that time is running out…

See also in this series:
7 Days of PASS – Day 1
7 Days of PASS – Day 2

Posted in Community, SQLServerPedia Syndication | Tagged | 3 Comments