Blog Post

Beer, Cheese and SQL Saturday 118 Madison


This past weekend I (w|t) headed up to Madison, WI to attend and present at SQL Saturday 118. The MADPASS team did a fantastic job on their first SQL Saturday.

Attendance was excellent with 227 total consisting of locals and groups from Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Nebraska and other places far flung.

I drove up early Friday and worked remotely for the day to make sure that I didn’t miss the speaker dinner.

The fun started early as I met Jes Borland (b|t), Erin Stellato (b|t) and Joey D’Antoni (b|t) for lunch. Jes and Erin arrived “fresh” from a 15 mile run with hearty appetites. Cheeseburgers, grilled cheese and a beef melt were the fare. No beer at lunch, I had more work to do.

After work and settling into my accommodations, I headed over to the venue to give a hand with bag stuffing. Wow, the MATC was bigger than it looked. By the time I got to the room where bag stuffing was taking place, all the work was done. I developed quite a thirst trying to find that room. Fortunately we headed over to the Ale Asylum for a pre-speaker dinner beverage. I had a Big Slick Stout along with some good conversation. That stout was awesome. I would’ve liked to try some of Ale Asylum’s other beers, but we had to move on.

The speaker dinner was at a local Italian place. More good conversation and another excellent stout. I chose the Lilja’s Sasquatch Stout from Sand Creek Brewing Company, a big and powerful beer. It went very well with the food (cheese) and the fantastic chocolate that Bill Fellows (b|t) shared with us. The highlight of the the dinner was the impromptu paper airplane fight.

After the speaker dinner, a group of us took over the hotel bar. Geek rule. More good conversation and Capitol Brewery’s Maibock.

Saturday morning came quickly and since I was on at 9:30, I headed over to MATC early to grab a bite and park in the room where my session was scheduled. Mike Donnelly (b|t) was there giving his first SQL Saturday presentation ever, SSIS: Figuring Out Configuring. I listened as I was configuring the VM for my presentation. He did a great job.

My presentation, SSIS 2012 New Features, was next. Attendance was very good. Thank you to all who attended. Audience participation was also good with lots of questions as well as valuable additions from fellow speakers Bill Fellows, Mark Vaillancourt (b|t) and Aaron Lowe (b|t).

With my speaker duties fulfilled, I headed over to Stacia Misner’s (b|t) presentation, (Way To Much) Fun with Reporting Services. Stacia’s daughter Erika Bakse (b|t) was also assisting with the presentation. The banter between these two made for a very entertaining session. They covered the implementation of Words with Friends in RSS. Let’s see Connect 4 implemented with a play the computer mode using set based algorithms.

After lunch I attend Eddie Wuerch’s (b|t) session, TempDB Performance Troubleshooting and Optomizing. I’ve talked with Eddie at the previous Chicago and Indianapolis SQL Saturdays, but I’ve never attend one of his sessions. This was an excellent session with lots of myth busting and fairly deep insights into tempdb behaviour. He did a great job explaining this all in a simple manner.

I then attended fellow Chicagoan Luke Jian’s (b|t) session, Optimizing SQL Server I/O with Solid State Drives. Lots of good information on SSD hardware. I was surprised by the light attendance in this session. Are SSDs not a hot topic? You missed a good one here. You can catch Luke and this session at SQL Saturday 119 in Chicago

The last session I attended was Zach Mattson’s (b|t), A PowerShell Driven Life. Zach mixed up PowerShell script walk throughs with reviews of a pair of beers, one bottled (good) and one canned (probably bad). I picked up a few new PowerShell tricks and a few recommendations on beers to avoid. Good info and good fun!

A great day and I am definitely looking forward to the next SQL Saturday in Madison.

Congratulations to MADPASS for running a stellar event.