I have not been keeping up with my blog posting after having presented at SQL Rally (Orlando, FL) and Microsoft TechEd (Atlanta, GA), so today is catch up time.
This year was inaugural for SQL Rally. The presentations themselves were chosen by audiences, and I was among those chose in the Data Mining category.
The event itself was in a large hotel, so large that the parking deck was some distance from the main event hall. It was a good walk, even though there was a shuttle. I stayed at alternative housing thanks to hotwire.com, and I rented a car. My rental car enabled me to become the volunteer driver for a few night events.
The first night I went to an event dinner and met some SQL professionals, and saw some friends there too. I’d like to call them “old” friends, but even though they might be age old, all the people are actually new tech friends to me. Some people often speak at these type of conferences, and I’m beginning to see and be seen by the same people in the Southeast. Though mostly I meet new people all the time. Later that same night, I had another meal with some SolidQ people, and then a third bar, more drinking and talk.
What I remember most from the first conference day was talking with people who came from RedGate. They offer their SQL Toolbelt to all the MCT (Microsoft Certified Trainers). I have been using their suite, which mostly loads in as an extension to Management Studio. I had one major question for them, namely verifying that SQL Prompt (intellisense for T-SQL) does not work with SQL Multi Script (use the same script on many computers). One would simply write the script first in SQL Prompt and then put it into SQL Multi Script. They asked me about products I would want, and my response was for similar products which work with Analysis Services (where SQL Server Data Mining is housed).
The second night included a long wait at an overloaded restaurant. However, I met even more people (as I did throughout the conference). Then, on to “SQL Karaoke” which is apparently a regular event for some in the SQL community. We were at a bar which had the large audience and open mike (usually solos or duets for drinking people). I have done many karaoke nights with friends over the years, though I did not find any of my regular songs in the limited play list. I eventually found a song, and in my inaugural SQL Karaoke I chose “This Love” by Maroon 5.
My presentation was toward the end of the second (and final) day of the conference. I was concerned about the attendance so I tweeted that I would be presenting using an automation script. Some people were annoyed by that ‘mark’eting. Maybe what helped the most is that I attended Adam Jorgensen’s presentation (which preceded mine) on how to start with Analysis Services. He chose Atlantan @datachix1 Julie Smith (“Ginger”?) to be his muse and follow the directions. But also, he spotted me in the back, so he pleasantly surprised me by interrupting his presentation to promote my data mining talk (thanks Adam). So, I had the impromptu chance to market my presentation wearing my data mining helmet.
The presentation itself was after the prize giveaways. I was glad some people stuck around, including PowerShell Scripting Guy Ed Wilson. Ed commented to me afterward that I was competing with Mickey Mouse, and the slot reminded him of a similar experience in his life. We did not have a lot of time between the presentations, and that delay did affect the rhythm of my presentation. Perhaps my presentations have been becoming more complex in recent years since I am including more demos (as is the Microsoft cultural norm, as contrasted with the SAS culture). I did forget to put my data mining helmet on until the end. Throughout the talk, I had a lot of book tickets to give away, and unfortunately no one knew the name of the song or artist from SQL Karaoke the night before. My data mining audiences are too serious for such folly.
From my overall observation, this conference went off with no major hitches. It helps to be in a major hotel, where a big part of pulling off the event is due to the hotel staff setting up and resetting the facilities quickly. I met even more new people too.
I decided to stay the night instead of having to rush off and arrive in early morning hours back in Atlanta, where TechEd awaited…