PASS Summit 2008 Thursday Recap (#sqlpass)

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PASS Board Election Results Dribbling In

Andy Warren is in!  He talks about it on his blog, and I got a huge chuckle out of this part:

I didn’t have any idea what my chances were, I really didn’t do a lot of campaigning (hard to figure out a way to do it that didn’t seem icky given the constraints) other than my blog, so I attribute tit to my PASS related blog posts resonating some with those that were voting, and probably more so the relationships I’ve built over the years.

PASS makes it almost impossible to campaign: they choose candidates days before the election starts, and the election runs during a short few days where the voters AND the candidates are at their most busy time of the entire year!  I wasn’t running for the board, and I didn’t have enough time to do everything I needed to do for my JOB here, let alone run a campaign.

To be more fair to the candidates, it’d be great if the candidate list was determined, say, one month before the election.  That would allow the candidates more time to build a message, get that message out to the voters, and let the voters understand each candidate.  Otherwise, it’s a popularity party – “Oh, I’ve read that guy’s book.”

Don’t get me wrong, though: I’m glad Andy won, because his ideas for PASS resound with me, but it bums me out because Tom LaRock didn’t make it.  I like how he calls himself the Susan Lucci of the PASS Board elections.  When he runs next year, I’ll be tempted to campaign for him by saying, “This is Tom LaRock, but don’t vote for him because it’ll break the trend.”

And even though he didn’t win, he fulfilled his end of the deal anyway: Tom LaRock got a tattoo.  I promptly emailed the photo to Congress (his wife).  Expect to see that photo surface around this time next year just before the voting starts.

Focusing on BI

I got the chance to interview Tom Casey yesterday, and we focused on BI because frankly, that’s where the action is right now.  I’m still digesting everything going on in BI, and I’m going to write my blog post about that on the plane ride home tomorrow.  Plane rides, plural, I guess.

The one thing that keeps resonating with me is a single line on one of Tom’s slides: “You are on your way to becoming a BI expert.”  Whether you came to the PASS Summit to learn about the engine, about development or about something else, you were learning things that were directly applicable to building a BI solution.  Jeremiah Peschka said that he’d originally come to the summit to dive deeper into development, but with the other sessions available, he realized he’d rather broaden his expertise and see other subject areas that he wouldn’t ordinarily have a chance to access.  I agree – I get the most value out of sessions that are way outside my comfort zone, like the one by Andy Leonard and Jessica Moss about SSIS scripting.

Jamie MacLennan blogged about his BI Power Hour demo: he used analytics to determine which foods to buy for his picky kids.  It’s a really funny read:

“So, I decided to make a worksheet listing foods they these kids will eat and won’t eat.  I used attributes of Color, Type, and Processed, along with a column indicating whether or not they will actually eat the food.  Of course, I had to answer to myself disturbing questions such as “what color are hot dogs?”, but I got through it.”

It’s always good to see that vendors like Microsoft eat their own dog food.  Wait – that doesn’t sound right…

PASS Reception

It was just awesome – the Flock of SQLs sounded way better than a bunch of SQL Server people have the right to sound, and the room was chock full of fun stuff to do.  It was a little loud, which made it tough to play the video games scattered through the room, but you can’t have everything.

Rather than describe the madness, I’ll just link to my PASS Summit 2008 photoset on Flickr.  Be advised that some of the photos contain men getting tattoos.  And one is a tramp stamp.  ‘Nuff said.

Wednesday Recaps Around the Web

This morning, I’m heading out for breakfast and then nonstop sessions.  I had to do a lot of work-related stuff the first couple of days, and now it’s time to get my learn on.  I don’t know how PASS volunteers keep their skills up: all of them spend so much time volunteering, helping the community, and they don’t even get to go to 2-3 sessions!  I’m really looking forward to these sessions:

  • 1pm – Donald Farmer on integrating analytics with your data.  You know Donald by now from the keynote demos.
  • 2:30pm – Linchi Shea on server benchmarking.  If you use storage area networking or if you want to wring the most performance possible out of your servers, watch his session even if you have to see it later on DVD.  He does great work, and reading about his experiments will help you perform your own testing in-house.  His work helped me get started with SAN testing.
  • 4pm – Michael Ruthruff on SQL Server in Hyper-V.  I’ve dabbled in Hyper-V but haven’t gotten too deep.  I managed VMware farms, so I’m more comfortable with that, but I’m interested to hear about the results in Hyper-V.

See you around the summit!

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