Writing - be it a technical language like T-SQL, C#, PowerShell, etc. or blogging - is like exercise. When you do it often it becomes easier while at the same time you get better at doing it. Conversely, when you let it slip you get rusty and it gets harder to get started back up again. When it comes to this blog I've fallen into the latter. As I write this I'm astonished, if not slightly embarrassed, at the realization that it's been over eight months since I've written anything here and the second time in a year I've let things lapse here. Just like last time, it wasn't intentional; I've started several posts only for them to end up lost in draft wasteland after letting myself get caught up in something else bright and shiny. With this post I'm finally getting out of my blogging funk and taking a step back towards blogging regularity.
What have I been up to?
I may have taken a break from writing but I've kept busy with plenty of other things...
At the end of 2011 I ran for the PASS Board of Directors but wasn't elected. However, in January I was offered a one year appointment to fill the spot vacated by my friend Andy Warren's (Blog | Twitter) resignation. I accepted and was given responsibility for the SQLSaturday portfolio. I could never have imagined when I was just getting started as a speaker at SQLSaturday #1 here in Orlando that I would one day be the steward for the franchise it's become - proof that sometimes you just never know how things will work out in life! (More on what I've been up to with PASS and SQLSaturday coming in the next few posts)
So far this year I've presented at OPASS, the Houston Area SQL Users Group, Orlando Code Camp, South Florida Code Camp, the Tampa Bay SQL User Group, Houston Cloud Tech Symposium, SQLSaturday #110 (Tampa), and SQLSaturday #107 (Houston). Non-presenting travel has included the January PASS Board meeting in Seattle, the MVP Summit in Seattle in February, the May PASS Board meeting paired with SQLRally in Dallas, TechEd North America (ok, technically it was here in Orlando, but it felt like a week away from home!), and a few trips to Houston to visit Insource (my current employer). I think that averages out to roughly one trip a month, though some months it felt like more! It's amazing how much it feels like you're gone from home with even 25% travel.
Last year I had a "working vacation" at the beach where I spent the day at work and the rest of the time with my family. Two weeks after that I found myself looking for a new job, at which point I wish I had just taken a real vacation a few weeks earlier! Vowing not to repeat that mistake again, I took two weeks of real vacation, spending a week on the beach and another in Washington, D.C..
On the technical end I've finally taken steps toward getting certified in SQL Server. I never really had a good reason to be certified until I started working as a consultant (so my company could be recognized as a Microsoft partner). On that note, I took advantage of the free SQL 2012 beta exams and passed 4 of the 5 exams required for MCSE Data Platform. Unfortunately I missed passing 70-463 (heavily weighted towards SSIS, not my strong area of SQL) which keeps me from even the entry level MCSA cert. I followed up the betas by passing 70-432 to earn MCTS for SQL 2008 but narrowly missing 70-450 for MCITP. My goal is pass both 70-463 and 70-450 by the end of this year...not that I need to pass 70-450 for any particular reason, but I didn't have a good test taking experience that day and I want to pass for my own pride's sake!
I also finally took the leap headfirst into learning PowerShell. I've been telling myself for years that I needed to get on board, and now that I have I'm glad that I did because I'm a more capable DBA and troubleshooter for it (plus I got to dabble in programming, always fun). Granted, there's still a lot for me to learn - especially with v3 having just gone RTM as part of Windows 8\Server 2012- but what I've done with it so far has got me excited to do more. The upside is I've got two projects that I've been developing off and on for the last few months and will have ready to post to CodePlex soon for the rest of the SQL community to use. On that note, expect a few PowerShell related posts here in the near future.
Finally, I've continued to help develop the southwest Orlando SQL community by running MagicPASS. It's been challenging to fit into an already busy schedule, but I really enjoy the chance to hang out with other local SQL people and help them learn new things. We even had someone in the group get a new job this year because he came to the meetings and met someone else there who was looking to add a DBA to their team. If that isn't a good example of why you should go to your local user group meeting I don't know what is!
Plan For The Rest Of This Year
The last 4 months of this year are shaping up to be as busy as the first 8 have been. I've got trips lined up for SQLSaturday #164 (Cleveland), the September PASS Board meeting in San Diego, and the PASS Summit in Seattle in November. I'm especially looking forward to the Summit this year where it will be my first year attending as a Board member and not as a presenter.
September 29 is Orlando's annual SQLSaturday at Seminole State College in northeast Orlando and it's shaping up to be our best ever. Technically MagicPASS is lead this year (OPASS was lead last year), but all that really means is I signed my name to the license agreement; planning and execution is a team effort between both groups. Our call for speakers closed last week and we're busy working on the schedule, marketing, and recruiting sponsors. We've also got two great precons lines up for Friday, Sept 28 at $99 each - Stacia Misner (Blog | Twitter) talking BI in SQL 2012 and Kevin Kline (Blog | Twitter) talking Performance Tuning. We think it's going to be a great two days of learning and we're hoping you agree and will join us. Links to register for Friday's precons and Saturday's sessions are on the event front page. (And if you're a sponsor we'd love to have you too - check out our sponsorship plan!)
So all in all it's been a busy but good year for me and I'm looking forward to the remainder of it. I hope you can say the same!