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The Scary DBA

I have twenty+ years experience in IT. That time was spent in technical support, development and database administration. I work forRed Gate Software as a Product Evangelist. I write articles for publication at SQL Server Central, Simple-Talk, PASS Book Reviews and SQL Server Standard. I have published two books, ”Understanding SQL Server Execution Plans” and “SQL Server 2008 Query Performance Tuning Distilled.” I’m one of the founding officers of the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group and its current president. I also work on part-time, short-term, off-site consulting contracts. In 2009 and 2010 I was awarded as a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. In the past I’ve been called rough, intimidating and scary. To which I usually reply, “Good.” You can contact me through grant -at- scarydba dot kom (unobfuscate as necessary).

PASS Summit 2009 – Day 2


Day 2 of the Summit was extremely busy. I missed a breakfast on DMV’s that evidently was one of the hits of the show. Day 2 was kilt day. I wore mine and there were two others, Steve Jones and Bill Fellows. They were a hit. Next year I’d like to see more. There are pictures all over the place. Track one down on your own.

I set up at the bloggers table and blogged & tweeted my way through the key note. Except for the hyper-sexy Windows 7 touch screen computer, it wasn’t the most exciting key note I’ve ever seen. The new technologies coming out for data manipulation on the client machines in Office 2010 are impressive, no doubt, but something seemed lacking and I’m not sure what it was. During the key note they gave out awards to the outstanding volunteers of the year and they gave the PASSion award to best of the volunteers. I won one of the outstanding volunteer awards for the work I did with the Editorial Committee & SQL Server Standard. Allen Kinsel was the winner of the PASSion award. I wanted Allen to win. I had put in a nomination for him and I knew others that did as well. Congrats Allen. You earned it.

My first session was completely personal for me, and I doubt most people would be as excited about it as I was, but I was very excited to see Michael Rys of Microsoft talk about spatial indexes. It was a very useful session. I took a lot of notes, but I’m going to have to go back and watch it again on the DVD because there was stuff I missed. If you are working with spatial data, you should check this one out.

Lunch today was just lunch, but during it, many of the MVP’s that took part in the MVP book project, SQL Server MVP Deep Dives, all proceeds of which go to War Child International, were signing their chapters in the book. I bought the book, but only went over afterwards to get it signed by the last four or five that were still there. I told Paul Randal how disappointed I was that he didn’t wear a kilt. But, during his session he did put up a picture of himself in a kilt. He doesn’t own one. I hit on MVP’s for the rest of the day to get their signature. I’ll be carrying it with me today (and breaking my back, it’s huge) to get some more. Buy the book. You’ll get good information and help an important charity.

After lunch I went to Ben Nevarez’s session on How the Query Optimizer Works. It was very good. I took some notes and got some ideas for future research. I really like the way he did simple, direct examples that illustrated his point. He also reminded me of a DMV that I should have included in my session (and will next week). This is useful stuff and it’s definitely worth checking out on the DVD.

I skipped the next session to go and do a video interview with the Midnight DBA. For those that don’t know, the Midnight DBA is actually two people Jenn and Sean McCown. It was a blast. We talked about books, TSQL, Kenpo and sexual harassment of men by men. Yeah, it was pretty fun and not entirely appropriate (although, probably only PG in rating and completely work safe).

After that I did a thing with Microsoft, completely unrelated to being an MVP, but still NDA. Done.

To finish out my time at the Summit proper I went to Buck Woody’s session on using Policy Based Management, Data Collector and Central Management Servers. I’d met Buck in the hall and he asked me to come down. I’ve never seen Buck Woody speak before. For those who know, why didn’t anyone tell me? All I can say is, what have I been doing with my time at these conferences? I should have been going to see everything the man says. Not only was it useful information, but it was hilarious. We were laughing our butts off through the whole thing. He picked on people in the audience (especially poor Aaron Bertrand, although I took some hits when I showed up late, wearing a kilt), cracked jokes, and gave out useful information in a clear, engaging manner. I’d suggest you watch the DVD, but you’re not going to get the full kick in the britches that being there will give you. However, you will still see some good stuff. I’ve already sent off a message to my team lead to suggest we get started with some of this right away.

After the show was over it was party time. I had two to go to, but I only made one, the Microsoft hosted party at GameWorks. Good food, free alcohol, video games. I rode the Hummer with Wendy, @wendy_dancer, driving. She drove better than I would have. It was fun, but I went home early because I’d had a nasty cough and runny nose all day and my voice was completely shot. I needed rest.

Another great day at the PASS Summit 2009.

EDIT: Updated Bill Fellows name.

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