Mulligan–Don’t Forget to Vote for PASS Summit’s Lightning Talks–Again!

A glitch somewhere caused PASS to redo the Community Vote for Lightning Talks–Another Chance to make your choice known for your favorite sessions.  And if you need help with the menu, may I suggest the ham?

Also, if you are in the area, I hope you are considering Columbus, Georgia’s first SQL Saturday (#167) !  I am delighted to be speaking at this event!

SQL Saturday 126: I presented DQS Finally! in Indianapolis

Thanks to the folks who came out to see my DQS presentation in Indy this past weekend.  Thanks to Caroline Bailey, Hope Foley, Kyle Neier , Eddie Weurch, and the rest of the Indy crew who put on an excellent event.  Here is my slide deck as promised.  I met many fantastic folks and had a paleolithic good time.

VMWare Player Version Issues

A Non SQL Server Blog post

I was working on a presentation last night and I tried to open a virual machine on vmware player, and I got this error:  Invalid configuration file. File “filename.vmx” was created by a VMware product with more features than this version of VMware Player and cannot be used with this version of VMware Player.  Cannot open configuration file filename.vmx. Continue reading

The SQL Saturday #111 PreCon Scholarship Winners are….

Thanks so so so so much to Idera!  For sponsoring these lucky winners!

To all who submitted!  You showed initiative in taking charge of your career!  Kudos!

To our speakers!  Thanks for putting on these training events and enriching the lives of other professionals.

To Midlands PASS (Bobby Dimmick (web | twitter) and Brian Kelley (web | twitter)) for picking the winners–tough choices I know!

The winners are:

Scott Murray for No More Guessing with Adam Machanic

Alex Salyer for A Day of SSIS with Andy Leonard and Matt Masson

Vanessa Miller for Learn Reporting Services in a Day with Jessica Moss

Congratulations!

Atlanta MDF Presents Three Awesome PreCons at SQL Saturday 111 in Atlanta, GA! April 13, 2012

Atlanta MDF presents:

SQL Saturday #111 Pre-Conference Sessions

Attend a session presented by Microsoft SQL Server MVPs (and one Microsoft Guy):

Andy Leonard and Matt Masson– A Day of SSIS – http://dayofssis.eventbrite.com/

A Day of SSIS was developed by Andy Leonard to train technology professionals in the fine art of using SQL Server Integration Services (SSIS) to build data integration and Extract-Transform-Load (ETL) solutions.  The training is focused around lectures and emphasizes a practical approach. The target audience for this training is database professionals, application developers, and business intelligence practitioners interested in acquiring or expanding their existing SSIS skill set. No experience with SQL Server or SQL Server Integration Services is required before attending this training.  It is helpful (but not required) that students possess some knowledge of and experience with relational databases. SQL Server knowledge / experience will be more helpful than experience and knowledge with other technologies.

Adam Machanic – No More Guessing! An Enlightened Approach to Performance Troubleshooting – http://nomoreguessing.eventbrite.com/

Scratching your head, you stare at the screen. Should you rebuild an index? Create a new one? Reboot the server? Why is this query so slow?!? Figuring out performance problems can sometimes feel like fumbling your way through a dark room. Maybe you’ll get lucky and find the right solution―or maybe you’ll stub your toe. Either way, it’s a slow, potentially painful process. Yet finding the root cause of most performance issues is a simple exercise, once you understand where to look and when. In this full day seminar, you will learn a proven methodology that can be used to approach virtually any performance problem. Created and refined by Adam Machanic over several years, this strategy leverages core SQL Server performance tools (including dynamic management views, Extended Events, and WMI counters), applying them to various performance troubleshooting techniques (such as waits and queues analysis, baselining, and real-time activity monitoring). Each of these tools and techniques has a unique role, and you will learn to use them cooperatively to quickly and adaptively find the actual cause of performance issues. All of this will be illustrated through complete demonstrations that will teach you how to drill from high-level problem detection all the way to specific spot in a query plan or deeper―pinpointing the exact problem and helping you to quickly solve it. Attend this seminar to take full control of your databases—and never again stumble blindly through the dimly lit world of performance troubleshooting.

Jessica Moss – Learn SSRS in a Day – http://ssrsinaday.eventbrite.com/

SQL Server MVP, Jessica M. Moss, presents an exciting, introductory, full day training session on SQL Server Reporting Services 2008 R2. In the three-part class, Jessica will teach you how to build reports from the ground up. In Part 1, learn the basics of report development, including picking a report development tool and creating your first report. Part 2 delves into visualizations, groupings, and drill-down functionality. Finally, Part 3 highlights core administration tasks in Reporting Services. In addition, Jessica will point out industry-wide best practices for report development and show numerous live demos using a variety of data sources.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Georgia State University – Alpharetta

3775 Brookside Pkwy

Alpharetta, GA

Register for pre-conference sessions by March 15 for $99!

($109 after March 15)

For registration to the Saturday Event and more information visit  http://www.sqlsaturday.com/111/eventhome.aspx.

Thoughts on the Latest PASS Fracas…

First, I want to tell you what this post is NOT about. It is not about the PASS BoD. It is not about Sri Sridharan. It’s not about my opinion of the decisions made by the PASS BoD in regards to the two open board positions. Okay, glad we got that out of the way.

Here’s what it is about. Community. Family. Even when we don’t agree with each other.

Let me tell you a story about myself… When I was 13, I played softball. My team took first place in our league, and that meant that we got to compete in the District Tournament. Now, our coach had the option to select 4 players from other teams in our league to supplement our team at the tournament. One of his selections was a first baseman. I was the first baseman for our team. I got benched. I was furious! I thought it was unfair that I lost my spot, when I helped our team win the league. I thought I should be on the field. I even went so far as to write a very strongly worded letter to my coach. (Yeah, I was THAT kid) I was complaining to my mom about the ordeal, and said that I didn’t like the girl who took my position.

Here’s what she said to me: “Honey, let me ask you something. What’s more important to you? That you’re the one on the field or that your team wins? She’s taller than you (important in a first baseman) and has a better bat. Are you going to blame her for your coach’s decision? You need to decide right now who you are. Are you the person who thinks of your team first or yourself first? I expect you to put the team first, and you had better be the loudest, most supportive person on that bench, and be ready to step up whenever you’re needed”.

My mom was never one to mince words. It was a hard lesson to learn as a kid, but a good one. Even though I disagreed with the coach, I stayed on the team. I cheered every play, and was ready to sub in as needed. Guess what? We won the District Tournament. I would have missed out had I quit.

What does this have to do with our latest PASS drama? Well, besides giving me an opportunity to tell you a story about myself, there is a point here. We’re a community, and a family. While we don’t always agree, and sometimes disagree vehemently, we’re still part of the same team.

And here’s my point. We might not all agree with the decisions made by our PASS BoD, but let’s cheer for our players. Let’s give Kendal van Dyke (Blog | Twitter) and James Rowland-Jones (Blog | Twitter) the best possible chance to be successful and effective as appointed board members. Will we hold them to a high standard? Of course. Don’t we always? Will we ask them to do a (mostly) thankless job for no pay? Yes. Will we tell them when we think they’ve made a bad decision? Yes, we’re pretty good at that. But, let’s give them a chance. They didn’t ask to be put in the middle of a controversy. They stepped up and accepted leadership roles within our community. That counts for something. Now, I don’t know James Rowland-Jones, so I can’t speak from experience about him.  But I can only assume that he cares about this community based on what he wrote here. I know Kendal personally, and I know that he’s a kind, hard-working person with honorable motivations.

Should we blindly follow the Board of Directors?  No, of course not.  Should we have an opportunity to vote on the by-laws?  Yes. Should we raise the red flag when we disagree?  Hell yes.  However, should we blame and publicly vilify two community volunteers who got stuck in the middle? Absolutely not.

Let’s all take a deep breath. I’ve done it, and here’s what I asked myself. If I were in Kendal or James’ shoes right now, what’s the one thing I would ask for? The answer I came up with is, “Give me a fair chance to show everyone that I can do right by the community”.

So that’s what I’m doing. Kendal and James – I’m cheering you on. I hope that you work hard and lead us well.

Wait… One more note before I go… Let’s be kind to each other.  The world is tough enough as it is without mean people in it. 

–Audrey

#Meme15 – Why do you blog?

I have a confession to make… Blogging is hard. Staring at a blank page, cursor blinking in that impatient, foot-tapping way, crappy blog ideas spewing from my desperate mind like oil at Spindletop circa 1901.

Pictured: Audrey having crap ideas

“I know… I’ll blog about my cat. I’ll, um, equate my cat’s love of shiny things to my love of foreign key constraints. You know, because foreign keys are shiny. Wait? What? I’m an idiot.” So, when Jason Strate (B | T) proposed the idea of #meme15, I was all for it. Tell me what to blog about? Save me from myself? Sign me up!

This week’s questions are:

1) Why did you start blogging?

2) Why do you currently blog?

Question 1: Why did you start blogging?

Let’s go way back to January 2010. Julie Smith (B | T) and I were talking and we said, “Hey! Let’s do a blog! It’ll be fun! We can write funny stories, be irreverent, and amuse ourselves with our oodles of witty”. I’m pretty sure there was wine involved. We didn’t think much about networking or career development or even education. We just thought it would be fun to do. Some technical blogs can be, shall we say… dry. We name no names. We both like the idea of making data fun. “Hey”, we thought, “we crack ourselves up regularly. Maybe we can crack someone else up”. That’s it. Almost 2 years later, we’re still blogging. We love it. And our reasons for it have evolved. Which brings us to…

Question 2: Why do you currently blog?

Easy. I can name all my reasons in three words: Me. You. Us. Oh, you want details? Gosh, you’re demanding. Okay, twist my arm. I’ll elaborate.

1) I blog for myself.

This is an important principle to me. I blog because I enjoy it. My first rule of writing is: Amuse Yourself. If something amuses me, I like to share the fun. I think that as humans, we’re all storytellers. We want to know that there are people willing to listen to our stories, and what is a blog post but a story? Sure, it might not be Shakespeare, but it’s still my story. It could be called narcissism to say that I want people to hear what I have to say, and that’s okay. Anyone who tells you that they’re 100% altruistic is probably trying to recruit you into their cult. Don’t believe them. They’re going to make you wear burlap robes and ugly running shoes and refer to their leader as Supreme Ultimate Bob. And burlap is so 1990’s.

Trust me. I'm only thinking of you.

Point is, on the day that I don’t get a rush from hitting “Publish” on a post is the day I stop blogging.

p.s. That’s my Gavin, showing off his new winking skills. Watch out ladies!

2) I blog for you.

It’s sappy. I know. But it’s true. Absolutely NOTHING in my professional life makes me happier than having someone tell me that a blog post I wrote (or a presentation I did) helped them do their job better. The idea that something I put out there made somebody else look smart… that’s so cool.

Dramatic reenactment: Me hugging our readers

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=2664

This is part of the evolution of blogging. When we started, I honestly didn’t think anyone was paying attention. Then, I had a few people come up to me and say that they’d read my post on Random Topic X, and that they had a question or that they’d applied my solution. It was a little scary to realize that people occasionally pay attention to my ramblings. I realized that I had a responsibility to be as correct as I knew how, and to continue to share what I learn. And it is so SATISFYING to share information. Try it. You’ll like it.

3) I blog for us.

By us, I mean the SQL Community. A community like ours requires care and feeding. I’ve benefitted in a thousand ways from this loose network of passionate people, and if I’m going to take from the community, I feel an obligation to give something back. If everyone read blog posts but no one ever wrote them, then we’d all be reading the same Microsoft Support articles about Installing SQL Server 6.5 over and over again. Boring. Blogging allows me to contribute to this awesome community while letting my Geek Flag fly.

What? I'm a geek, not an artist.

Plus, I get to have cool conversations with interesting people. Like I said, “Sign me up”.

Blog on, my friends…

–Audrey