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PASS First Timers Guide

Hi there ho there everybody! I am now a Big Sister Fearless Leader of a group of PASS Summit first timers! This is the page wherein I record all of my sage advice and such for them, and for any other first timer who wishes to come around.  I will continue to update this page all the up to (and probably through) the PASS Summit in October, so check back for updates.

And as always, please leave comments and questions below.


  • Get on Twitter.  A very large percentage of the commentary and coordination of any tech conference now happens online, so get on Twitter, follow me @MidnightDBA, and start getting a feel for how it all works.

Power and connectivity:

  • Bring a power strip. It’s such standard advice now as to be cliche. Even so, most people don’t bring power strips, and there’s usually a struggle to find outlets. The man with the power strip is a hero among captives.  A big battery wouldn’t suck, either.  And follow this mantra: Never pass up a chance to charge up. (For me, that applies mostly to my phone…)
  • Additionally, consider bringing an aircard (or somesuch method for getting online). While most people don’t do this, as there is wireless at the conference and in some hotels, it’s just not a bad idea if you’re in need. 
  • I consider it a good idea to bring a network cable for your hotel. Again, most places supply wireless or a wire connection, but I’ve seen places that charge for wireless, give wired access free, but have no cable. *sheesh*


Can you share some info on the format of the sessions (is it all powerpoint? / are hard or soft copies provided? / is it common for folks to take laptops into the sessions for note-taking? ). 

  • Sessions vary per presenter. Some are all powerpoint, some are SQL demonstration, and most are a mix.
  • Hard copies are rarely if ever provided.
  • Slide decks and example code are sometimes available from the presenter’s website, however.
  • It is extremely common to find attendees with laptops and tablets for note taking.
  • You can get a good idea about sessions by watching some of the old 24 Hours of PASS webcasts on SQLPASS.org: http://www.sqlpass.org/Default.aspx?TabId=62
  • Finally, be aware that you can purchase the PASS DVDs, so you’ll have the collection of all sessions for the year. It’s well worth it if you can spare the money, even more so if your company will cover it (hey, cheap training for our staff) or you talk to your local user group about obtaining a set for the gang.


Do you know if they publish names of attendees anywhere to facilitate networking?  Yep, here on the Summit Who’s Coming page.

Also, see “Get on Twitter”, above.


The PASS Summit website contains lots of good info, including session abstracts, speaker bios, a schedule builder, social events, attendee list, and more.


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