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I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.

Notes from the February 2011 MagicPASS Meeting

I attended the second meeting of MagicPASS (no web site yet) on Feb 16 at Stetson University in Celebration, FL. Great facility – classroom style seating, dual projectors and screens, couldn’t ask for better. The only downside to it so far is that it’s $200 per meeting for the space, quite a chunk of overhead to add to a chapter. Parking is limited but good enough for a chapter meeting. I’d love to see a SQLSaturday held there, serve the south side of Orlando one year, but parking would definitely be a problem.

We started the meeting early at 5 pm with an informal class/presentation by me on using SQL Profiler. We borrowed the idea from the Dallas group, and I’ll be doing two more of these at the March and April meetings respectively. I think we had at least 10 show up for the early session, and I think ended up with about 22 for the main meeting.

Kendal Van Dyke (President!) did a nice meeting kick off, lead into a good discussion of SQLRally. We asked who had not heard about it (some), and who wasn’t interested in attending. The latter was a good question, we had one attendee whose primary focus isn’t SQL, but the remainder of the ‘not interested’ were more on the order of challenges – couldn’t afford it, couldn’t take time off from work, etc. One person was more interested in the depth that the pre-con seminars interested rather than the 2 day event, which is good, and by design! It was nice to slow down and talk about it, though I worried we were taking time away from the main agenda. Seemed to work out ok. The lesson here is that it’s not enough to just say ‘SQLRally’, turn it into a conversation. Contrast it with SQLSaturday and the PASS Summit. Talk about conference style learning versus all day learning on a single topic.

Kendal also had a nice networking segment, people drew names out of a box to find someone to chat with while we took a break for pizza. Then a nice plug for the meeting sponsors, and on to the feature presentation by Bradley Ball. He did a nice presentation on compression, did a good job of explaining compression results without getting mired in the details, yet managed to show a good bit of detail – if that makes sense! We chatted afterward about trying to figure out what should or shouldn’t be included, a standard question for all presenters.

A few of us migrated to the Celebration Tavern for some post meeting chat. Not right next door, but maybe a 4-5 minute walk, with the parking lot in between meeting and bar so it’s fairly convenient. A good meeting, good location, good people to network with – couldn’t ask for more!

Note: Splitting the original oPASS group into two groups was (and is) a risk, but so far the results seem encouraging. Travel time is definitely a consideration for most attendees.


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