This blog post is part of T-SQL Tuesday, a monthly SQL blog party with a rotating host and common topic. This month marks #41, hosted by me!...and the theme is showing off my best SQL Server SWAG (Stuff We All Get!).
I love SWAG. I admit it. When I first got involved in the SQL Server community I would relish the chance to get my hands on freebies, regardless of what it was. Over the years I've picked up a ton of things. I don't keep most it anymore - these days it gets brought back home for my kids or distributed to MagicPASS. Some things are just too good to let go, though.
How do I decide what to keep? If it's one of a kind or useful it ends up staying with me. When I came up with the idea for this month's topic I had one or two things in mind, but for fun I decided to walk around my house and include everything I came across. What follows is a pictorial of what I found.
My Favorite SWAG
First, there's the USB thumb drives from various vendors. I remember the day when these things cost $20 or more for a 512 MB drive. Nowadays they're a dime a dozen (literally!). Yes, that SQL Sentry drive doubles a bottle opener. The PASS and SQL 2012 branded drives are Power Sticks - a drive + battery that can be used to recharge phones. These have come in handy on Scout camping trips and long days at theme parks.
I've gotten a lot of laptop backpacks but I've already got a pretty nice bag that's held up well for 4 years now so I end up giving most of them away. The 2011 PASS Summit speaker backpack, however, has been put to use by my son as his school backpack. It's held up remarkably well - it's on school year #2, outlasting the last few pairs of shoes I've bought him. (Hmmm, what would SQL branded sneakers look like?)
At the 2012 PASS Summit speakers received a techtrap as a gift. This is basically a rigid 6" x 8" rectangle with elastic cords woven on to one side to keep cords, chargers, and small electronics together. It's found a permanent home in my laptop bag.
Coffee mugs are great for coffee
snobs lovers like me. The red one in this picture is from SQLSaturday #13 (Atlanta 2009) and the silver from SQLSaturday #21 (Orlando 2009). The mug is from SQLSaturday #49 (Orlando 2010) and is the first thing that came to mind when I decided on this month's topic. It's handmade, one of a kind, and is just the right size for a 12 oz cup of joe. I love this mug so much that I glued the handle back together after it broke once!
Usually when you speak at an event you'll be given a shirt to wear - a uniform for the day to identify that you're a speaker. Most are polos, but there have been some really interesting ones over the years: a football jersey (SQLSaturday #164, Cleveland 2012), Chef Hat and Apron (SQLSaturday # 151, Orlando 2012), Hawaiian shirts (SQLSaturday Tampa, various years), and a Cuban style shirt (SQLSaturday #226, South Florida 2013). I've given many my shirts (there's just too many to keep them all!), however I tend to keep the ones that look nice, are comfortable to wear, or are really unique. There's one, in particular, that I just can't seem to part with because it's so rare: My speaker shirt from SQLSaturday #1, held in 2007 in Orlando.
At the 2010 PASS Summit I was nominated for a (now defunct) SQLServerPedia award, and to say thanks Quest Software gave nominees a set of Bucky Balls. These are small, very powerful magnetic balls that you can form into various shapes. You can't get these anymore - they've been banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. My kids loved playing with these as much as I did, though admittedly I got really worried about the younger ones swallowing them. They've since sat on a shelf where, over time, they've started to rust with age.
My friends at Red Gate not only make kick-ass software but have been known to give out some really nice gifts, too. At the 2010 PASS Summit they presented their Friends of Red Gate members with a picture frame that also displays the date, time, and temperature. (I've removed the picture to restore it to it's "original" condition as it was presented to me)
What would a SWAG collection be without a duck (or four) from Idera? My little ones love playing with these in the bathtub. (Do they make the gold colored ones anymore?)
Now for something really unique - pins! Pam Shaw (@pamshaw) starting making lapel pins for SQLSaturday #62 (Tampa 2011) and since I'm from Orlando (where pin trading at Disney is sort of a big deal) I've been grabbing them whenever I can. We made a set for SQLSaturday #151 (Orlando 2012) and I've been hoping that these would really take off. Much to my dismay, they're not as popular as I had hoped.
I mentioned SQL Sentry had a theme going. Those folks really love their beer and in 2011 they gave away a silicon pint glass (aka the Silipint) that I quite disappointingly did not manage to get my hands on. I made sure not to repeat that mistake at the 2012 PASS Summit and got my hands on their awesome embossed leather pint glass sleeve. There's even a great story behind them - Oowee, the manufacturer, partners with the Autism Society of North Carolina to employ autistic adults who hand-sew each sleeve.
At the 2011 PASS Summit everyone got a deck of SQL Server playing cards. At the end of the Summit there were cases of leftovers so I grabbed a few boxes (each box had a dozen decks in them) and carried them back home in my backpack to give away at MagicPASS. I had so many I was able to give away a deck to every new attendee for a few months!
Finally, one of the neater things I've ever picked up...With every release of SQL Server Microsoft has everyone who worked on the product sign a 4 foot tall version of the box that it ships in. The boxes are put on display in Building 35 on Microsoft's Campus (where the SQL Server team is housed). For the release of SQL 2012, Microsoft had (normal sized) commemorative boxes made and I was fortunate enough to grab one earlier this year.
See You At The PASS Summit
And with that, I'll close by saying I'm looking forward to the 2013 PASS Summit in Charlotte, NC, next week. I'm excited about the learning, the networking, and of course - scouting out some new great SWAG to add to the collection!