Tuesday, November 12, 2013

SQL Saturday #255 Dallas Revisited



Last week, I presented my session on Troubleshooting Memory Pressure in SQL Server at the SQL Saturday in Dallas. I have uploaded my session slides and sample code both here and at the SQL Saturday website.

This SQL Saturday was a special one for me. However, there were both good and bad sides to my experience.

The Good

At this point, I have presented at all three SQL Saturdays in Texas: Austin, Houston, and Dallas. Of course, since I've only done one per year, it's taken me three years to get this far. So I'm not exactly tearing it up. :-)

So my goal for next year is two-fold. On the one hand, I want to present at as many of the Texas SQL Saturdays as my schedule will allow. On the other, I would like to present at at least one SQL Saturday that is out of state. Of course, I have to balance this with work requirements and my family obligations.

I had a great crowd for my session. All the seats were filled and people were sitting on the floor in the aisles. The estimated crowd size was about 65 people. Not bad at all.

As always, one of the best aspects of any community event is, the community. I really enjoyed the speakers dinner, reconnecting with old friends, and making some new ones in the process.

I got to see some great sessions in the afternoon. To start things off, Tim Mitchell had a great session full of tips to Make Your SSIS Packages Run Faster. Then, I sat in on Sri Sridharan's session on Turbocharging Your Career. He had some great ideas on how to take your career to the next level. To close out the day, I checked out Mike Hotek's session on how he designed a 10+ Exabyte Data Warehouse. Afterwards, several of us were trying to figure out who the client was. But alas, it was confidential.

The Bad

In the weeks leading up to SQL Saturday I have been sick. So I was not exactly enthused about presenting in front of anybody. All I wanted to do was stay home and sleep. Add to this I had some other fairly stressful things going on and I wasn't the happiest camper this particular weekend.

I signed up for Andy Leonard's pre-con on SSIS. There wasn't anything wrong about his presentation. But I felt so sick that I ended up leaving at lunchtime. Basically, I could do the pre-con or give my session the next day, but I couldn't do both.

But that's alright, because things soon took a turn for the worse, and helped me forget about any of that.

The Ugly

I had some pretty bad laptop problems during my presentation. Everything was going fine while I was getting setup, but the moment I started my laptop display and the projector display cut out. It took the A/V guys a full ten minutes of futzing around with it to get everything running again.

At that point, I was thrown off balance a bit and ended up rushing through my presentation. To make matters worse, it seemed like every time I switched between PowerPoint and SSMS I would loose my laptop screen again. So I would have to crane my neck to look at the projector screen while setting up each demo. Lots of fun.

At the end of the day, I have to take responsibility for my laptop problems. I have given presentations several times before, but this was a new laptop and I had never used it before. If it were not for the Johnny-on-the-Spot A/V guy, this could have been a lot worse. Thank you, sir!

So I pushed on through my presentation, trying to make the best of a bad situation. I made some jokes about how the title should have been about Disaster Recovery. People laughed at my jokes, and no one walked out. Thank you, Dallas!

I gotta tell you, I was really dreading my evaluations. I did get dinged by a few people, fair enough. But I was
pleasantly surprisedshocked to find that I overwhelmingly received fours and fives on my evaluations. Thank you again Dallas.

Phoenix Rising

I've heard it said that whatever does not kill you, makes you stronger. I must say that I agree.

Just a week ago, I was sick, stressed out, and not a happy camper. Now, my career has taken a new turn that should be quite entertaining.

Many times, the SQL Community has given me a little boost that I needed to get myself back on track. Get involved with your local SQL User Group. Network, learn, and grow. And when you're ready, or even when you are not, sign up to give a presentation. You might be surprised how your career starts to take off.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veterans Day

Iwo Jima

Today is veterans day. I like to take some time to reflect on the all the men and women in service who have sacrificed for the rest of us.

I am also thankful for the things that the Marines have provided me, as well. They taught my the value of integrity and hard work. They also helped pay my way through college.

Semper Fidelis

As you are going about your day, please take a moment to think about the world around us and be thankful for what you have in this world.

Service and sacrifice is not limited to the military. Throughout human history countless people have stood up for what they felt was right and have helped propel us along. It is that desire for improvement that makes us all human.