First, a heartfelt thanks to all the presenters flying through crappy weather and difficult itineraries to come out and see us here in Phoenix, and a second thanks for our local presenters for spending their time with us.
Another thank you goes out to Gangplank, a local business ... organization (not a co-op but better than), and the organizers!
Now that the grammy thank yous are over, no matter how much I feel their deserved, a bit of the meat. :-)
I stayed the day and got to hobnob a little bit at the afterparty. For anyone who attended, I was the guy in the leather jacket and ponytail who kept disappearing to smoke between sessions. ;-)
I attended, in order: Janis Griffin's MDW overview, Colin Smith's Powershell for the DBA, Robert Miller's Manage and Monitor your Mirror, Michael Collin's Introduction to SQL Azure, Bill Ramos' Making of SQL Server Denali Dashboard, and Denny Cherry's Where should I be encrypting my data. I also attended the WIT panel during lunch.
First, let me say that after 10 years of working in SQL Server, I'd never attended a community event before. I was impressed at the level of organization and professionalism of the organizers, and the friendliness of the presenters. A special thanks to Robert Miller, willing to give me an hour of dedicated time while I was the only person in the room, helping me catch up with mirroring methodologies.
I'm loathe to mention the speakers in particular, as they all did well and it would be easy to accidentally insult by leaving out specific highlights, but I will try anyway. I'll take them in order of my attendance.
Janis Griffin presents in an easy, offhanded manner, walking you through her process and always willing to both show her knowledge and to work with others in the room when they are more aware of specific answers to questions.
Colin Smith was well organized and did exactly what he set out to do, introduce older DBA's to the new technology of Powershell, and left us with enough tools to work from to make sure we could educate ourselves after introducing us to the basics.
Robert Miller, as mentioned, presented to a nearly empty room, and at no time did I ever feel like I had missed out on anything for it. On the contrary, I don't know what he's like to a crowd, but his interest in the technology is infectious, even while communicating the difficulties in the current environment vs. what the future holds.
Michael Collins is an extremely accurate presenter, and clarified a number of small confusion points I had about the purpose, limitations, and advantages of SQL Azure.
Bill Ramos is a very entertaining presenter, a surprise for me after reviewing some presentations from Microsoft Employees. He's an ex-employee, now, but his style and discussions are engaging, keeping you from drifting off while explaining what could have been a complex topic in chewable bites.
Denny Cherry is an experience. His knowledge obviously shines, but he shares his knowledge in a way the level of the rest of us poor souls can consume. He is also an engaging speaker, and you would be remiss, if you have the chance, to miss either his presentations or his style.
The WIT panel was interesting, With Denise McInerney, Amy Lewis, Janis Griffin, and one other (I'M SORRY!) on the panel presenting some of the difficulties of keeping women in the IT field. Among topics covered was the quit rate of females after achieving high knowledge levels, and the current CompSci graduate rates of females. It gave me some food for thought and was quite interesting.
GangPlank and the organizers also offered us an afterparty, which gave me a chance to shmooze a little bit in elevated company and to meet some local folks working their way into the field. I found out that our community, at least for these events (with a single data sampling) contains both ends of the spectrum for our work.
Did I mention Gangplank did a hell of a job organizing, feeding, preparing venues, and setting up the environment? Let me say it again. Thanks Gangplank.
All in all, I didn't have a single negative experience during a long day after a hellacious week on the personal side of my life, when I would normally be a grumpy PITA.
Thank you again to the organizers, presenters, and community at SQLSaturday. You made my day.
- Craig Farrell
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