Sleepless in Seattle 2008

I wrote a previous Blog entry about the excellent SQL PASS Community Summit Conferences. I will be attending the next one in Seattle in November. It is a great forum to meet other Database professionals and see how everyone is using the SQL Server database in the real world. There are so many interesting sessions (total to date - 130) over the three days that some companies send several people along so they can "divide and conquer". But don't worry, they now record each session and store them on a set of DVDs for later review. For an extra $95 that's good value on the intellectual capital front. I have been looking at the latest agenda to start planning my path through the conference.

Although the official conference is Nov 18-21 (Tues evening thru Friday), there are some interesting pre-conference seminars. These are always a favorite of mine. People like Itzik Ben-Gan, Kalen Delaney and Kimberly Tripp present some interesting material over the Monday and Tuesday so you can block out the whole week for pure SQL Server fun and games. It's such a long way to go, for me at least, so why not? These sessions last the whole day and cost an extra $395 but are well worth it as they cover the subjects in much greater detail. Some of the sessions have hands-on workshops.

I like attending Kalen Delaney's sessions. She writes for SQL Server magazine and has a good following. She used to work for Sybase too, and made the "if you can't beat ‘em,  join ‘em" switch to Microsoft technology like so many of us. Her session on the Tuesday will be "SQL Server Data Storage Formats: Internals, Performance and Best Practices". She has a good way of making even the most technical subject very interesting for the listener. (I need to learn from her as my presentations are very dry comparatively!)  Her books and presentations make such subjects actually interesting. I remember buying her book "Inside Microsoft SQL Server 2000" when I decided to switch to Microsoft and thinking that this enormous door-stop book would be good for reference. But when you read it, it is actually a good read and, dare I say it, you can't put it down. Sad but true.

I think I'll also attend the Monday session led by Itzik Ben-Gan "Advanced T-SQL Querying & Programming in Microsoft SQL Server 2005 & 2008". His "Black Belt T-SQL" column in SQL Server magazine is awesome and always a great resource when I am trying to solve coding challenges. When you subscribe to the magazine you automatically gain access to the web archives and code samples going back years. Great value at around $50 a year, sometimes cheaper. (No, I don't get a commission.. )

Just writing about the sessions is getting me excited about attending again. And with SQL Server 2008 being available there will be the buzz of a new release. And of course, since it's in Seattle, I am sure all the Microsoft developers will have the week off to attend the sessions as reward for a job well done. I can dream can't I?



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