So we started this show with the Pledge, got wowed with the Turn and finally we’ve come to the last step: the Prestige! During the last stage of our act we saw a glimpse of the magic of the Summit and we also saw a certain object near and dear to my heart disappear. So how did this all end? Let’s get to it.
As I’ve mentioned before this was my first Summit so I really had no idea what to expect going there. I’ve known from many others that have gone before me that there is ALWAYS something going on but you have no idea how true that is until you’re there! From the moment I touched down in Seattle there was something going on be it Brent’s Freecon session, the new attendee mixer, the Quiz Bowl, [insert any number of vendor's name here] party/dinner/event, the various lunches provided, the WIT luncheon, the Microsoft appreciation party, the volunteer appreciation party, the infamous karaoke sessions, or just the random awesome networking opportunities you create for yourself by just meeting up with an expert at breakfast/lunch/dinner/coffee house. Now think about this for just a second. I just rattled off all of those events and that DOESN’T include pre or post con events OR the actual conference sessions itself!
Funnily enough despite the fact that I mentioned all that stuff I wasn’t able to make as many actual sessions as I would have liked. Don’t get me wrong, the sessions I made were amazing! For instance I attended one with Denny Lee (Blog | Twitter) and Thomas Kejser (Blog) on Designing scalable and complex Analysis Service Cubes. Despite the fact that I’m new to the BI space, I like immersing myself in sessions like this in hopes that all of that awesome knowledge will somehow sink in! I learned some cool stuff like how Yahoo! manages to have an SLA of 10 seconds or less per query against a 12 TB cube! I was able to make a few other sessions as well but I was drawn away from conference time with volunteer meetings and whatnot so I didn’t get quite all the educational benefit out of it that I would have liked.
Anyhow, on to the exciting portion of our show! In our last part of the show my laptop up and magically disappeared. Apparently that’s the easy part of the trick, the true difficulty lies in getting it back! Well as I had mentioned I had resigned to never see my stuff again (which really sucks btw). I was going on with my conference as usual when I get call from somewhere in the Seattle area. I picked up the call and to my surprise it was someone from the local TekSystems office. For those not familiar, I worked for TekSystems in Florida before I came to work at Pragmatic Works so I was a little confused. Did they want me back or something? Well to my surprise the guy asked me if I was missing a laptop. My heart skipped a beat just a bit. He goes on to explain that a local computer store owner had someone bring in the laptop to get password removed (score one for security folks). The owner immediately knew it was stolen so he took it, dug around and through one of my documents found my email signature in it from my TekSystem job. The store owner called TekSystems, who still had me in their system, and thus had the local office contact me. HO-LEE-CRAP what a break!
Well the fun doesn’t end there. I couldn’t just retrieve my laptop, I had to have a cop meet me at the computer shop for the hand off. You’d think this would be something simple and quick. I went and I waited…for 3 hours. So thanks Seattle Police Department…for eventually showing up. The real kicker is that they didn’t seem to have any haste in showing up especially when the store owner called them and told them “hey the guys who brought in the stolen laptop are here…and so is the laptop owner…hurry up”. Yeah, that’s right folks. The morons who brought my machine to get broken into were also there waiting to get my machine back! The store owner smartly kept us separated and kept me in the dark as to who they were (you know, for fear of 6’4″ 270 lbs of angry geek raining pain on them and all). Funnily enough I wasn’t really angry as I was amused by this revelation when the cops showed up. The cops checked their van and they didn’t have any other of my stuff in their possession but they did have a terrible story about some teenage girl selling them the laptop for $100 because she needed money for her sick mother…yeah. In the end these guys are getting off scott free since they didn’t have enough to move forward with anything worth sticking but at least I got my property back.
A HUGE thanks goes out to the folks at RE-PC of Seattle for 1) Being honest and going the extra mile to contact me and 2) for everyone at RE-PC being generally awesome. The 3 hour wait was definitely unexpected (but full of sweet, geeky surprises which included a Computer Museum and a Jean-Luc Picard cutout in the corner) and those three hours included one hour AFTER they closed they waited around. And to top it all off the owner actually gave me a lift back to my hotel. You can’t really ask for much better result than that!
So in the end this trip was an amazing experience (theft and all) and I highly recommend anyone in the data space go to the Summit if they can manage it at all! Just be sure to keep an eye on your stuff, unlike me. If you’re interested in getting a piece of the magic yourself, and you can swing it, join us on the East coast for the SQL Rally in May in sunny Orlando, Florida! It’s like the Summit but on a slightly smaller scale.