SQL Saturday Nashville Recap and Session Feedback

Event Recap

First things first. Thank you so much to all the organizers, volunteers, speakers and sponsors that made SQL Saturday Nashville such an amazing and fun event. I will definitely be attending, if not volunteering and speaking again, next year. Special thanks to Tamera Clark (b|t) for all her hard work and dedication to the #sqlfamily.  Love ya, lady. :-)

Friday night’s dinner at Saffire was really cool. I went ahead and ordered from the menu and the fish tacos were excellent. The appetizers were also good. The building is an old gas stove factory.  When that company went out of business it was refitted to be a mattress factory, then finally fell into disrepair and has recently been revived as a shopping center. There was a rug store in there with some amazingly beautiful area rugs. I wished it had been open so I could get a closer look at some of the very intricate designs, but even if it had, I was kind of late for dinner anyway. :-)

Saturday morning, I showed up bright and early to check things out and see if I could help out anywhere. Lipscomb University was a little different than what I was used to, but a little glancing around (and some helpful students) got me pointed in the right direction. I got to do a little work setting up one of the sponsor tables, then headed upstairs to the speaker room to make sure my laptop was fully charged. Unfortunately I mis-heard the room number and went to the wrong room. I must admit that the university certainly puts out a tasty spread for their weekend classes. Oops. After finding the right room, I double checked a couple of things, and headed out.

The first session I attended was Wendy Pastrick’s (b|t) on SQL Server isolation levels. While I admit I was working on my presentation most of the time, I did get a little inspiration for a couple of blog posts on locking that should be coming up in the next few weeks. The only negative in that presentation was that the projector screen in that room was quite literally on the floor. Sadly, there was no-one in the facility that could hang it back up for us, so Wendy simply soldiered on. Considering she was presenting on a dim blackboard, I think she handled it well.  If you get a chance, I suggest that you attend this presentation, especially for the demos. Audience participation is a fun thing.

Next, it was my turn to present. I’m happy to report that the room was full to the point of people standing and sitting on the floor in the back of the room. I love it when the room is full. I also love it when I get some really good questions and feedback and I got plenty of both this time. Thanks to everyone who attended. I’ll address some of the feedback at the end of this post.

I did my usual decompression back in the speaker room after my session, and then it was time for the Women In Technology panel. I was dealing with food coma, so I didn’t take notes as well as I would have liked to. There was a lot of good discussion, as usual, and it always pleases me how helpful people are in those sessions. There was one lady who was actively seeking a new job, and one who had positions to fill. I’m sure there was additional discussion between them, after the session had ended.  The main focus of the session was on inspiring the next generation of IT workers, and there was plenty of inspiration to go around. Thanks to Hope Foley (b|t), Arlene Grey (b|t), Wendy Pastrick (b|t), Rie Irish (t) and Julie Smith (b|t) for their guidance and participation on the panel.

After that, it was time to learn a little bit more about Master Data Management. There’s a big data governance push going on at work right now, so this is something I’ve been doing a lot of research and playing with. David Mattingly’s (t) session was a good overview from the business side of things and gave me more perspective on where things should probably be going here. We’ve been approaching it as a technical problem when it really is more of a business problem, and it should be directed as such, with IT’s support. I’ll probably get more into that in future posts, as well.

My last full session of the day was Janis Griffin’s (t) on the SQL 2012 system_health extended events monitor. I have relatively little experience with extended events, but I understand the basics, and it was good to get a view into what the system_health session is capturing, and how the information can be used.  Monitoring is a little… different in my current environment, and until we can get things a bit more standardized, all the information I can get is helpful, to say the least. :-)

The last session of the day was the panel discussion on leveling up your career with Allen White (b|t), Denny Cherry (b|t), Joey D’Antoni (b|t), and Kevin Kline (b|t). I say last session, but not last full session, since I had to leave early due to a slightly upset stomach. I’ve been sick for a couple of weeks now, and made very good friends with some very good OTC medication. Between that and the caffeine, I needed to stand up and walk around for a bit. Too bad, since the discussion was going really well. I will have to follow up with the participants at another time. Sorry, gentlemen. :-)

I really don’t know why more people don’t go to the after events. It’s such a wonderful opportunity for meeting other SQL professionals, and having some fun conversation, as well as some excellent food and drink. Not to mention the SQLKaraoke, without which, I probably wouldn’t have met many of the people I now call SQLFamily. This event was no exception.  If you have never gone to the after event, I encourage you to do so. You don’t have to sing and you don’t have to dance, but you should come and hang out with us. It’s fun.

Quick Session Feedback

I had just a couple of pieces of feedback I felt I should go ahead and respond to in this post. There was one other question raised that I intend to devote an entire post to, later.

“Slow down.” – Yes, this is totally valid criticism. When I made a joke about pulling the pin on a grenade, as I downed a Starbucks Frappuccino at the beginning of the session, I wasn’t really kidding. That was a mistake, and I apologize. I also have been struggling a bit with how much of what type of content to include in the presentation. Right now, there’s too much, which leads to me rushing things a bit. I’m going to trim it down a bit for my next session in Cleveland, and hopefully that will make for a better presentation. Most people seem to enjoy the demos better than the slides anyway, so I’ll probably cut at least one of the slides, and spend a lot more time in detail on the demos.

“You should enlarge the font to begin with so you don’t have to zoom in and out.” – The font is already enlarged. Believe me, you don’t want to try to read that at default size, at that resolution. However, there’s a very specific reason I zoom in and out, and this is most critical to this session when we’re talking about error messages. What I do with ZoomIt is not just show you a specific piece of information, but by zooming in, I’m also showing you *where* that specific piece of information is within a larger context. It’s like looking at a whole map, then zooming in to a particular spot. Now you not only get the detail on that particular spot, but you have a sense of where that spot is on the map, so it’s easier for you to find it again. I hope that makes sense.

Thanks for reading.



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