Monday, February 7, 2011

SQLSaturday #62–Tampa Recap

I had the privilege of attending and speaking at SQLSaturday #62 – Tampa the weekend of January 15th and this is my belated recap post of what I did for the weekend.

I headed to Tampa from Sanford on Thursday afternoon as I was attending Denny Cherry’s (Twitter) pre-conference seminar, Storage and Virtualization for the DBA, on Friday.  I was able to have dinner with one of my college roommates who I had not seen in over 15 years that evening.  I had a great time with him.

Friday morning I headed to Denny’s seminar and there was a great turnout, with I think 30 people in the seminar.  It was good to re-connect with Denny, Mike Nelson (Twitter), Ron Dameron (Twitter), and Mike Wells during the breaks in the seminar.  I selected this seminar because both storage and virtualization are areas that I have no experience with and I want to understand them so I can speak credibly with storage and virtualization admins.  Honestly I need a couple of weeks training on both, with some hands on experience, but I definitely know more than I did before the seminar.  This was the first time I’ve sat in on a session by Denny although I did listen to his session on Service Broker on the PASS Summit 2010 DVD, and I was impressed.  He does a great job teaching and explains things in a way a complete noob like me can understand.

Friday night I attended the speaker/volunteer dinner at Spaghetti Warehouse and there was a great turnout with I would guess close to 50 people there.  I wish I had written this sooner so I could remember the names of the new people I met, but I can’t.  I talked with a lot of people there and had great conversations.  The opportunity to see friends is one reason I love the events, especially the Florida ones.  I’d list names, but I’ll leave someone out.  I always feel some awe because of the great talent in the room.  It makes me thankful for the opportunity I have to be part of the SQL Server community.  I’m always amazed at how willing the “names” of the SQL world are to share their hard-earned knowledge.

Pam Shaw (Twitter) and Jose Chinchilla (Twitter) did a good job with the event on Saturday.  They had a great idea for check-in that they called, SpeedPass.  They sent out pdf’s with all your printed materials (name tag, lunch ticket, raffle tickets), so you could print them out ahead of time, and then at check-in you went to the SpeedPass line where you got a bag with just the generic information.  It definitely made check-in, which was an issue at last year’s event in Tampa, go more quickly. 

After getting my t-shirt from PragmaticWorks, I went to Rodney Landrum’s session, DBA Repository, and picked up some good tips.  Then I sat in on part of Andy Warren’s (Blog | Twitter) session on having a professional development plan.  I definitely picked up some good tips and need to develop a better plan for myself.  I left his session early because I was presenting the next hour.

My session, Why I Use Stored Procedures, went very well, and was very well attended.  In fact it was my largest crowd for this particular topic with between 30 and 40 in attendance.  I don’t have a lot of slides for this session, but spend time telling stories about why I like stored procedures of ORM tools.  I do some very simple demos of Linq to SQL and Entity Framework, showing the queries they produce using SQL Server Profiler.  I demo both .NET 3.5 and 4.0 as they do behave differently with 4.0 being a big improvement.  I don’t claim to be an ORM expert, but in the experience I do have I have seen things that cause some concern as they proliferate.  There were several good questions and comments throughout the session and I had a few people hang around and ask some further questions after the session.  I was very pleased with how everything went and had a great time delivering the session.

There was a great catered lunch and I left pretty much after lunch as I had been gone from my family since Thursday and I was ready to see them.

Overall is was a great event.  The pre-con was great, speaker party was good, SpeedPass was a great idea, and lunch was fantastic.  There were 2 things I think could have been better:

  1. Better signs in the morning as there were 2 rooms in another building and it was not clear where to go after check-in.
  2. The schedule in the event guide didn’t list the speaker names, just the session name.  I like to know who is speaking as that helps me decide when there are multiple sessions I’d like to attend.

Thanks Pam and Jose for a great event.  Sorry I didn’t get this recap up sooner.

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