Josh is the man! There was a lot of people involved in making of SQL Saturday 160 in Kalamazoo and I don’t want to discount their efforts, but he overcame quite a bit of stress and made everything look very polished. I volunteered again this year and will continue to volunteer as long as I’m welcome and things go this well.
Speed Pass simplified the Friday preparations. There was quite a bit of printing, boxing and packing things that I wasn’t involved in but the bag stuffing definitely took much less time than last year. I think I was in and out in about 90 minutes on Friday with all of the 300 bags stuffed.
Saturday morning started sadly for me at 4:30am. It was the last day my brother-in-law was stateside on leave. The family got together at the Kalamazoo airport to wish him well.
The hustle and bustle helped distract me. I was happy to get to work at 7:00am and start accepting early arrivals to Kalamazoo Valley Community College. I like working the registration desk in the morning. It’s a great chance to make a good first impression and see a lot of familiar faces. I’m happy our volunteer coordinator @muaddba http://muaddba.wordpress.com/ stuck me there.
I was free at 9:00 so I was able to attend all three of the morning sessions. Adam Belebczuk http://www.sqldiablo.com/alwayson/ covered AlwaysOn very well in an organized fashion and all of his demos worked flawlessly. I understood it wasn’t a session about clustering but he entertained a gentleman who was obviously confused. This guy started to get very distracting asking question after annoying question and Adam handled it with class.
Next, I attended Eddie Wuerch’s Internals session. Eddie has some great depth on the topic. The thunderstorms were comically loud and severely distracting but he managed to fight through it. The new spotlight session format worked out quite well which allowed Eddie back-to-back sessions to dive a bit deeper. This format is a great service to the community. It worked out great especially for me because I had attended Eddie’s session on waits at SQLRally and now was able to get more information on how they related to internals.
For lunch Taco Bob’s came in and setup a buffet for us. I think it was a step up from the subs last year. It was a bit messy and I hope the KVCC janitorial team can forgive us.
Wendy Pastrick‘s Transactional Replication session was just what I needed. She covered the topic in a very easy to understand manner. Unfortunately her demo didn’t quite work which is pretty vital for beginners to see the secondary tables populate. It was really interesting to learn that you can modify some of the replication procedures to better suite your needs. Also, she mentioned that there are people who’s databases get so large they can’t re-initialize in a reasonable amount of time. Fortunately, it sounds like there are tools that can help us get around this hurdle.
Benjamin Nevarez has got some incredible depth to his knowledge of the query optimizer. I learned how to experiment with optimizer rules and do some pretty terrible stuff.
Finally, I attended Collen Morrow’s blogging session. She had a lot of great advice for me even though I’ve been at this a couple years now. I was especially glad to hear she had some of the same opinions as me regarding the personal blog/employer relationship. Sometimes I get a little concerned that one day my company might feel they somehow own part of my personal brand I am working on but I am more confident that concern is un-warrented.
The closing ceremonies had quite a bit more prizes than I remember last year. I printed my speedpass but forgot to bring it so I didn’t enter in a lot of the larger prizes.
A couple hours later, a slight change of plans brought me to Tim’s house where Cards Against Humanity filled the place with lulz. Many thanks to @amyford70 and Tim for the generous hospitality. What a great day!