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24 Hours of PASS

Posted by sqlwiseguy on September 3, 2009

From 7:45 pm (Eastern DST) on Tuesday, September 1st until 8:00 pm on Wednesday, September 2 PASS provided free online seminars each hour.  It was a veritable who’s who in SQL Server and a great preview of what’s to come at the PASS Summit in November.  Unlike Tom LaRock (aka SQLRockstar)  and Jonathan Kehayias I did not try to stay up and attend every session, I chose to cherry pick the sessions I would attend, none of which were in the middle of the night.  The sessions I did attend went really well with only 1 minor technical glitch during a session, which is very impressive when you think that every session I was in had at least 250 attendees.  There were some issues with errors in the links to the sessions on the 24 hours of PASS website, but Twitter definitely helped there.  Here are the sessions I attended with a few notes on what I picked up:

Session 1 – 10 Big Ideas in Database Design – Louis Davidson and Paul Nielsen

A big one for me here was that Classes <> Tables.  While ORM tools want to create a class for each table, this does not really work with a good relational design there really is not a one to one relationship there.  With a truly normalized database you will probably need to have a class that spans multiple tables. 

Session 3 – Team Management Fundamentals – Kevin Kline 

This was probably my favorite session.  I am not a manager and I really don’t want to be a manager, but I do want to understand how to manage and especially how to run meetings.  Kevin offered lots of great advice, but my one takeaway was that every meeting should end with an ACTION PLAN.  You should know what is going to happen because of this meeting and what tasks you are responsible for.  I think I heard this phrase at least 4 times in the hour.

Session 11 – Effective Indexing – Gail Shaw

This was at 6:00 am my time, and I’m not a morning person, but as a DBA/Developer I don’t think you can ever know enough about Indexing so I made a point of being up for this session.  Gail is also a friend on SQLServerCentral that I have learned a ton from there and from her blog so I knew it would be a good session.  Gail did a great job explaining how indexes work with equality and inequality operators, and how they work from left to right so you want your most selective column used in an equality operation first in your key list.  I used to make the mistake of putting bit columns, like an active flag, first because they are typically used in every query.  This is a bad choice because they are typically not very selective. 

Session 13 – Query Performance Tuning 101 – Grant Fritchey

Wow! If this was a 101 session I’d hate to be in 401 session with Grant!  Tons of good information about creating a baseline so you KNOW if you are having performance problems, what to look for, where to look, and the tools to use to look (PerfMon, Profiler, oops, sorry Grant, SQLTrace, DMV’s).  One thing that Grant mentioned as did Paul and Louis, “normalization is not evil”.  Meaning that a properly normalized database (~3rd normal form) usually does not need to be denormalized for performance reasons, if you have proper indexes.

Session 17 – Building a Better Blog – Steve Jones

Another very popular session, I guess because so many of us have blogs now.  Steve had some great tips about keeping your blog technical/professional and if you want to blog about personal things start another blog.  He did hit one hot button issue when he recommended hotlinking images instead of downloading and embedding in your blog.  He believes you should hotlink because that can protect you better from copyright violations, while others considering hotlinking to be bandwidth stealing from the hosting site.  I don’t use many images, although it is recommended so maybe I’ll start. 

A main point he made was to “Praise Publically, Criticize Privately”.  Basically don’t call someone out in your blog.  If you have an issue with someone keep it private.  Remember that your blog is public so current and prospective employers may see it.  This is really just a good piece of advice for every situation.  I did disagree a little when he said he does not comment on blog posts where he thinks there is an error, but rather contacts the author privately. I do tend to comment on blog posts where I think there is an error, but I try to do it constructively and provide solid reasons and examples for my opinion.

Session 21 – What’s Simple about Simple Recovery Model – Kalen Delaney

I can’t say that I’ve read all of Kalen’s books, but I have read a couple so I knew there’d be good information in this session and there was.  She really covered much more than the title implies.  She discussed how the transaction log works and how the different recovery models affect the transaction log.  Between sessions like this and Paul Randal’s blog I think I may eventually understand the transaction log.  The main point is that you need to carefully choose your recovery model and understand that the Simple Recovery model does NOT mean that the transaction log won’t grow, but it does mean that you do not (cannot) back up the transaction and CANNOT restore to a point time.

Overall, it was a great event (series of events?).  As I mentioned in my post, No Training Budget Still No Excuse, with events like these there really is no excuse for not taking time for professional development.  It’s YOUR career and YOU need to manage it.  Even if you had to choose 1 or 2 sessions that’s better than doing nothing.  It was also a great preview of the PASS Summit as all the speakers will be speaking there as well.

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Posted in PASS, Professional Development, SQL Server, Training | 5 Comments »

SQLSaturday #21 – Orlando Pre-event Seminars Announced.

Posted by sqlwiseguy on August 17, 2009

Wow!  Andy Warren has put together a week of low-cost seminars filling the entire week before SQLSaturday #21 – Orlando.  What a great list of speakers and topics.  Here’s the list:

  • Monday October 12th – Essentials of Managing SQL Server by Andy Warren
  • Tuesday October 13th – Learn Business Intelligence in a Day by Brian Knight
  • Wednesday October 14th – Real World Performance Tuning by Kevin Kline
  • Thursday October 15th – From Zero to SSIS by Andy Leonard
  • Friday October 16th – Performance Tuning Methodology by Buck Woody

I think that there is something for everyone in this list of sessions and if you don’t see what you want in this this list then sign-up for SQLSaturday as it will probably be covered in one of the sessions there.  If you don’t see what you are looking for suggest a session and someone may do it!

Posted in Professional Development, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, Training | 1 Comment »

No Training Budget Still No Excuse

Posted by sqlwiseguy on August 12, 2009

When I first started by career in IT and SQL Server about 10 years ago I lived in a small town in northern New Hampshire.  I used my location as an excuse not to attend user groups and other events, unless the boss was willing to foot the bill.  Now I realize my mistake, I’m in charge of my professional development, and now, location is no excuse.  Here’s a list of just some of the FREE training available online:

  • JumpstartTV – short (3-5 minute), specific how-to videos for SQL Server and .NET.
  • Channel 9 – MSDN’s video training library. This has videos on just about everything microsoft. Over 200 on SQL Server 2008 alone.
  • PASS – the Official Professional Association of SQL Server web site. PASS offers Virtual Chapters (user groups that meet online monthly).  Be sure to check out the upcoming 24 hours of PASS
  • Quest Software – Quest offers free webcasts on several technologies including SQL Server and some on Quest products but many general ones. Check out Quest Connect
  • SQLServerPedia – has video podcasts as well as blogs, wiki, and articles.
  • SQLServerCentral – forums, articles, scripts, blogs, and videos. What more can you ask for?

I’m sure there are other resources as well.

Now on to the FREE events. 

  • The biggest one for SQL Server, well, at least in my opinion, is the SQLSaturday franchise.  There have been about 20 over the last 2 years from Florida to Oregon.  I should make a disclaimer that I have spoken at 2, attended another, and the franchise is owned by my friend, Andy Warren and his partners.  Actually the first SQLSaturday event was when I met Andy, actually the day before at the Day with Celko event done in conjunction with the SQLSaturday.  It’s a full day of free SQL Server training with some national speakers along with the best local speakers.
  • Code Camps – these one day events for .NET are what SQLSaturday is based on, so if you need .NET training here’s a way to get it.
  • PASS – offers a SQLSaturday like event support with it’s Community Connections
  • User Groups – just BING or GOOGLE for [your technology and location] User Group.  I’m sure you’ll find something in your area.  PASS has a list of official chapters for SQL Server.  I know of Sharepoint, Java, .NET, and Agile user groups.  I’m sure there are others.

As you can see there are plenty of training options that will only cost you time and maybe travel expenses and that’s really an investment in you. 

Posted in Community, JumpstartTV, PASS, Professional Development, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, SqlServerCentral, Training, User Group | 4 Comments »

Free Training! 24 hours of PASS

Posted by sqlwiseguy on August 3, 2009

PASS is sponsoring a 24 hours of PASS event on September 2nd.  Consecutive live (Live Q&A also) 1 hour sessions by some of the best speakers in the business.  This event is loaded with MVP’s, authors, and SQL Server gurus.  Here’s a few names:

  • Louis Davidson
  • Kevin Kline
  • Brad McGehee
  • Grant Fritchey
  • Gail Shaw
  • Kalen Delaney

Wow! As far as I’m concerned that’s and impressive list.  I won’t be staying up 24 hours, but you can bet I’ll be taking in several hours.

It looks like a nice preview of what you can get at the PASS Summit, minus the networking, but free! 

Check it out and attend what you can!  Registration opens Wednesday, August 5th.

Posted in PASS, Professional Development, Training | Leave a Comment »

SQLSaturday 21 – Orlando Announced!

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 28, 2009

Andy Warren and crew at OPASS have announced that SQLSaturday 21 – Orlando will be held at Seminole Community College, 100 Weldon Boulevard, Sanford, FL 32773, on October 17th.  The call for speakers just opened this afternoon and we have our first session submitted, and it wasn’t by me or @SQLChicken!

This is the third SQLSaturday in Orlando and second at this location, so hopefully we have the kinks worked out.  There is one change this year that there will be a $10 charge to cover lunch, likely from Jason’s Deli.  You’ll still get water, soda, donuts, coffee, and fruit throughout the day for free, plus the usual swag.  That’s not to mention the excellent FREE training.  I attended the first SQLSaturday Orlando and was a speaker/volunteer at last year’s event.  I’ve yet to meet anyone who has not thought it was a terrific event.  I’ve also spoke at the SQLSaturday 14 – Pensacola and everyone there enjoyed that event as well.

If you work with SQL Server there’s no better way to get a free day of training, so register now.  If you work with SQL Server and are passionate about it, then there is no better place to share that passion by presenting.  I don’t think that there is anything more rewarding than sharing your experience and expertise with others.  I’ll be submitting at least one session.

If you have any questions about SQL Server then suggest a session.  I know I check the suggested sessions for ideas and if I have the necessary knowledge I’ll submit a session based on a suggestion.

I’ll be there, and hopefully I’ll see you there as well.

Posted in Code Camp, Community, OPASS, Professional Development, Speaking, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, Training, User Group, Volunteering | Leave a Comment »

Meet, Greet, & Remember?

Posted by sqlwiseguy on July 22, 2009

How many of you have said, “I have a real hard time remembering names” or “Excuse me, I know we must have met, but I can’t remember your name”.  I know I have many times.  The question is what am I going to do about?  I’m glad you asked.  As an addition to the PASS Summit, PASS, at the urging of Andy Warren, is adding a 2 hour networking seminar by Don Gabor, Networking to Build Business Contacts, between the pre-conference sessions and the Welcome Reception.  The cost is $60 and attendance is limited to 100.

There are several reasons why I am attending:

  1. To develop confidence in meeting people.
  2. To learn how to build and maintain my network.
  3. To learn how to help others meet people.

Each of these items will be covered during the session, and the Welcome Session and the rest of the conference will give us the opportunity to apply the principles that will be taught.

This won’t just help me as a technical professional, but also in my work.  I currently serve as missionary with New Tribes Mission and part of my “job” is building and maintaining a network of churches and individuals who see value in what I do and are willing to support my work with prayer and finances.  This makes developing networking skills essential. 

Let me give one example of how networking can work.  Just yesterday, I got an email from the Space Coast User Group leaders asking if I could move up from the September meeting and speak at the August meeting as the speaker had to cancel.  I had a conflict so I couldn’t move up.  As I am on Twitter, I put out a message asking if anyone would be able to fill in the August meeting.  I knew at least one person who would be interested, Jorge Segarra (@SQLChicken), and I heard back from him fairly quickly.  I was able to connect him with the Space Coast User Group leadership and he was able to make arrangements to fill in.  Both parties were happy, and I got to “raise” my profile through helping others.

I hope to see you there!  Then we can practice together.

Posted in Community, Networking, PASS, Professional Development, Training | 1 Comment »

JumpstartTV Featured Content

Posted by sqlwiseguy on May 8, 2009

My video, Creating a Performance Counter Log, is the featured video on JumpstartTV today.  This is a short one covering how to create a counter log using Perfmon.  This is a pre-requisite for another video I have done, Integrating Performance Monitors with SQL Server Profiler

A side note, I really enjoyed making the videos and I think the short (less then 5 minute) how-to videos are a great way to get some practical knowledge.

Posted in JumpstartTV, Lessons, Online Presence, Published Articles, SQL Server, Technology, Training, Windows | Leave a Comment »

Featured Content on JumpstartTV

Posted by sqlwiseguy on February 12, 2009

JumpstartTV featured another of the Profiler Videos I did for them today.

Explaining The Properties Window in SQL Server Profiler

This video goes through the setting the basic properties for a Profiler trace.

Posted in JumpstartTV, Online Presence, Professional Development, Profiler, Training | Leave a Comment »

JumpstartTV Videos Published

Posted by sqlwiseguy on October 13, 2008

A couple of months ago I spent a day with the guys at JumpstartTV creating some videos on using SQL Server 2005 Profiler. Those videos have now been published. Here’s a link to the first one:
Creating New Trace With Sql Server 2005 Profiler. Please comment and let me know what you think.

JumpstartTV, in this incarnation, is being filled with 1-5 minute “How to” videos on a variety of topics with a current focus on technology, specifically SQL Server and .NET. I think the nicest feature is the ability to suggest video topics. So if you don’t know how to use configuration files in SSIS and there is not a video there already, you can ask for that topicand it will be available to authors, like myself, can “take ownership” and create the video.

The question that still needs to be answered is, “Is this format better than a step by step article with screen shots?”. I happen to think the it will be better for some people as everyone learns differently. I definitely like the short format. I certainly hope that it takes off as I consider the guys behind it friends and want to see them succeed. Also, in a more selfish manner, I wan tmy videos to do well so they’ll ask me for more.

Posted in JumpstartTV, SQL Server, Training | 1 Comment »

SQLSaturday #8 – Orlando

Posted by sqlwiseguy on September 26, 2008

Just a quick note to remind you that SQLSaturday #8 is coming up in Orlando on October 25th.
Register for the event at http://www.sqlsaturday.com/register.aspx.

Some reasons to attend:

  1. I’ll be there! Seriously if we haven’t met we’ll have the chance and I’ll also be presenting one session, Getting Started with SQL Server Profiler 2005.
  2. It’s free! You can’t beat that price. Even if you can only make a few sessions the price is right.
  3. The speakers know their stuff! This is not a place where you only get theory. You’ll see real-world examples and methods that work.
  4. You get to meet many experienced professionals who are willing to help you out and that you can help out.
  5. You are supporting local people. Most of the speakers are local professionals who are donating their time and expertise to help YOU! So help them out by attending and letting them know what you think.
  6. Networking, networking, networking. It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
  7. Free stuff. Raffles for some good prizes and lots of books given out. I don’t know what the prizes are, but there is always something like an XBOX given away.
  8. You’ll learn something you can use. Last year I attended and learned how to use DDL triggers and more about performance tuning. I have used both in my work.

Hope to see you there.

Posted in OPASS, Speaking, SQL Server, SQLSaturday, Training | Leave a Comment »