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A Handful of SQL PASS #Summit15 Tips

The annual SQL PASS international conference will be here in less than a week.  OMG!!!  It’s been a year already?   First of all, if you haven’t registered yet, then why not? It is THE event for the SQL Community or #SQLFamily as we like to refer to it.  Still not sure about attending, then check out this page.  I promise that you will not be disappointed.

For those of you who have registered have you looked at the schedule yet?  Do you know all of the great speakers that you want to see?  Are you coming to see me compete in the Speaker Idol contest?  I will be up in the first round on Wednesday from 03:15 PM – 04:30 PM in TCC 101.  If I survive (and win) round one, then I will be competing in the final on Friday from 03:30 PM – 04:45 PM in the same room.  Come see eleven other great speakers compete for a chance to receive a guaranteed speaking slot in next years Summit, but mainly come to cheer me on with three hundred of my closest friends.

Now with the shameless plug out-of-the-way, on to the main purpose of this post.  Here are my tips for enjoying #Summit15:

  1. Meet people!  Shake hands, but more importantly give them a big #SQLHug.  We (well most of us) love #SQLHugs. Find me, give me a #SQLHug.  I will be glad and happy to meet you!  Standing in line for a coffee at the conference?  Say hello to someone, introduce yourself.  Set aside your introverted ways for this week!!
  2. Follow people on twitter before hand and let them know you’d like to meet them in person.  Ask them where they are going to be during the week and setup a rendezvous point with them.  Discuss some ideas and share a frosty beverage.
  3. Speaking of social media…if you setup your avatar to be a cute little ninja character, then do not be disappointed when no one knows who you are in real life.  If I see that cute ninja, I am sure to say hi but I don’t think I will see him there.  Use your real photo so I can find you!
  4. Go to as many networking events as you can possibly fit into the week.  If you are turning in at 9 o’clock, then you are missing the best part of the conference.  I have made so many lasting friendships over the years mainly because I went to the networking events and to the impromptu ones at Bush Gardens and the Tap House (not sure what those are, then bingle it with #SQLFamily and/or #SQLKaraoke).
  5. When NEW friends ask you to miss a session to go plant some gum on the Bubble Gum wall, go!  Enjoy yourself, this conference is fun!  Purchase the sessions and watch the ones you missed when you get back!
  6. Charge your phone, better yet carry a charging battery in your pocket and keep it charged throughout the day.  You do not want to miss that great photo-op with your favorite speaker because of a dead battery.
  7. Ask questions.  Don’t understand something, ask questions.  Go home with answers to your problems!
  8. Go sight seeing, explore the city!  Go a day early and stay a day later and check out the Pike Place Market, find the first Starbucks in that same area, visit the EMP Museum, view the skyline from the top of the Space Needle, and many, many more.
  9. Hang out in the community zone as its always an epi-center of fun!
  10. Wear a kilt!  Thursday is kilt day to support the Women in Technology luncheon (which you should go to as well)!

See you there!!!!

Branching Out in Louisville

This weekend I will be branching out and presenting a business intelligence (BI) session at SQL Saturday Louisville.  By profession, I was a programmer turned DBA turned SQL Server consultant.  As a consultant, I have done a lot of BI learning and a lot more SQL Server development than previously as a database administrator.  In essence, I have broadened my skill set taking advantage of my previous skill set.  Therefore, it is only natural that I present a learning session on BI, or in this case Introduction to SQL Server Integration Services.  LogoThis session is great for the beginner to SSIS.  I have presented this at a user group in Atlanta earlier this year, but this will be my first BI session at a SQL Saturday.  Come on out to Louisville and learn about some SSIS with me!  Register here.

Presenting for SQL Saturday Nashville

Recently, I was humbled to be selected to speak at SQL Saturday Nashville over the Martin Luther King, Jr weekend.  I will be presenting “Backup Strategies Are For Losers” at 10:30AM.  This will be my first presentation in Nashville, and I am excited to expand my geographic range.   In addition, I was excited to see some of the big names coming into town.   Don’t believe me?  Check out the schedule for yourself.

Do not forget that there are some excellent pre-cons that start on Friday, January 17th by Denny Cherry, who is presenting “SQL Server Performance Tuning and Optimization” and David Klee is presenting “Virtualization for  SQL Server DBAs.”  Please check those out as soon as you can while space is still available.

If you haven’t registered yet, please do so now!  See you there!sqlsat272

Presenting at Summit 2013

Today I was thinking about the SQL PASS Summit which begins next Tuesday and I just realized that I have yet to announce that I was chosen to speak for the very first time at the Summit.  I am so humbled and excited at this opportunity. I cannot begin to thank the program committee, PASS headquarters, and the SQL community enough for everything they have done for me in the past few years.  At this point in my career, I truly feel that my career has exploded thanks to my involvement with SQL PASS.

Rob Volk (b|t) and I had this idea to do a humorous session where we play Laurel and Hardy depicting the interactions between junior and senior DBAs.  It should be a good time for all.  Our session is Wednesday at 3pm, come by and say hi.  Enjoy!

Presenting for SQL Saturday Orlando

This Saturday, I will be presenting “Backup Strategies Are For Losers” at 7:30AM in Orlando.  It should be noted that my first ever SQL Saturday that I attended was in Orlando, so I have a special place in my heart for this event.  In addition, I have never presented a session this early in the morning so hopefully there is a Starbucks close by to the campus of Seminole State College.  Do not forget that there are some excellent pre-cons that start on Wednesday (tomorrow) so please check those out as soon as you can while space is still available.

If you haven’t registered yet, please do so now!  See you there!

The Chocolate Beach: SQL Style

I am humbled and honored to have been selected to present my “Backup Strategies are for Losers” presentation at the inaugural SQL Saturday for Cocoa Beach, Florida.  This is SQL Saturday #231 as well as being the first for the Space Coast SQL Users Group, so please make your way to the chocolate beach on July 27th for a great day of SQL Learning.

You can register here, come on you know you want to hit the beach for the weekend.  There is also a group rate code for the Hilton (SQLP), where the event is being held, that expires tomorrow (June 28th).  You can reserve your room here.  However, I will be staying just down the road at the Courtyard where my wife and I stayed on our wedding night before our honeymoon cruise to the Bahamas.  I look forward to seeing you there.  Enjoy!

The Chocolate Beach courtesy of Space Coast SQL User Group

SQL Saturday 192, Tampa Has Come and Gone But Left Its Mark!

This past weekend was SQL Saturday 192 in Tampa.  Being my home user group event always makes this event special, however this was the first time I spoke at my home SQL Saturday and that made it an event that I will always cherish.  In addition, this year, I took in a full day pre-con training on Friday with Buck Woody (b | t) and quite frankly it changed my life.  How many times can you say that about a SQL training, let alone a $99 training?

I know what you’re thinking, believe me I do.  How can a one day training change your life?  I have spoken at two SQL Saturdays prior to this event and a couple of times at a couple of user group meetings so to say that I was a speaking novice would be an accurate term in my eyes anyway.  In addition, I have had no formal training in public speaking except for the semester speech class that I nervously tried to avoid and almost vomited every time I stood up in front of the class.

This journey began in 2011 as I resolved myself in Andy Warren’s Professional Development Plan session at the Tampa BI SQL Saturday.  I wanted to conquer this fear of public speaking and give back to the community.  It seemed pretty simple.  I had no idea how hard it would be and with my fight or flight instincts many times I wanted to just run away, but I did not want to embarrass myself in this community and that held me accountable.

After taking Buck’s class entitled “Creating Your Best Technical Presentation: A Speaker Workshop,” I now feel that I have the skills necessary to put together a decent presentation and deliver it without embarrassing myself.  The presentation this past Saturday went well considering that I did not rewrite it, I also did not want to run or vomit and those are great things in my book. Now I have to go back and rewrite my presentation with the skills that I have learned.  If you ever get the opportunity to take this class at a local SQL Saturday near you, do it!


SQL Saturday Updates

It is an honor and privilege to be selected to present at SQL Saturday Tampa on March 2, 2013.  We will be at a new location this year, Hillsborough Community College in beautiful Ybor City, due to our growth over the last couple of years.  In addition, we have three pre-cons this year and I will be attending the “Creating Your Best Technical Presentation: A Speaker Workshop” by Buck Woody (b|t).  Hopefully, after this session, my presentation skills will continue to improve before my session on that Saturday.  If the winter blues got you down then head down to beautiful Tampa for a warm weekend of SQL learning and register for SQL Saturday #192.

This year I will finally get to attend two other SQL Saturdays that are in the relative vicinities.  In the past there was always something going on during those two weekends.  As it stands, I am planning on submitting my newest session, Backups: Getting the Most Out of Your Storage, to both of those events.  Curious as to what they are?

SQL Saturday Jacksonville (#SQLSat215) will be April 27th and SQL Saturday Atlanta is tentatively scheduled for May 18th.  Come on out and join me at all three of those events and maybe one of them will have some SQLKaraoke for the after event!  Enjoy!



70-457 and 70-458 Game Plan Part Uno

Being methodical and logical as I am, I have set forth a plan to achieve my Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate as noted earlier in my goals for 2013.  Having not found much in the way of preparation material as noted in this post , I decided to rent the 70-462 Training Kit from Amazon and transpose some of the objectives there to fit the 70-457 and 70-458 since I am taking the upgrade exams the materials for the regular exams should suffice in preparation.

Now I have outlined a calendar below and the hard dates to hold me accountable to the task especially since the book has to be returned in June.  Let the journey begin!

70-462 Training Kit – 70-457 Objectives
Objective Chapter Lesson Date
Install and Configure
Plan Installation 1 1 1/20/2013
Install SQL Server & related services 1 2 1/20/2013
Implement a migration strategy 4 1 1/27/2013
Configure additional SQL server components 3 1 1/27/2013
Manage SQL Server agent 11 1 2/3/2013
Maintain Instances and Databases
Manage and configure databases 3 3 2/10/2013
Configure SQL Server Instances 2 1 2/17/2013
Implement a SQL Server clustered instance 8 1 2/24/2013
Manage SQL Server instances 2 2 3/3/2013
Optimize and Troubleshoot
Identify and resolve concurrency problems 10 2 3/10/2013
Collect and analyze troubleshooting data 9 1-6 3/17/2013
Audit SQL Server instances 6 3 3/24/2013
70-462 Training Kit – 70-458 Objectives
Manage Data
Configure and maintain a backup strategy 11 2 3/31/2013
Restore databases
11 3 4/7/2013
Implement and maintain indexes
10 1 4/14/2013
Import and Export Data 4 2 4/21/2013
Implement Security
Manage logins and server roles 5 1 4/28/2013
Manage database permissions 6 1 5/5/2013
Manage users and database roles 5 2 5/12/2013
Troubleshoot security 6 2 5/19/2013
Implement High Availability
Implement AlwaysOn 8 2 5/26/2013
Implement database mirroring 7 1 6/2/2013
Implement replication 7 2 6/9/2013

70-457 Course of Action

Today I thought I would set forth a course of action in order to accomplish my goal of passing the 70-457 (and eventually 70-458) in order to achieve the Microsoft Certified Solutions Architect (how hard is it not to say Systems Administrator).  I know what you are thinking, experience is the best trainer, but I like to be well prepared before I spend money to take an exam.

Sadly, Microsoft’s page for this exam has no content as far as a book, training, or even practice tests available for either exam.  I understand that I could use the limited materials for exams 70-461, 462 and 463, but those are all assuming that you do not have an MCTS.  I would like to limit my preparation to only what I need to pass the exam.  I was able to find one book on Amazon, but I am not sure of the series.  I have never used one of these books before.  I think I will rent the 70-462 book from Amazon and that will force me to finish it by June.

Now in order to accomplish this goal I need to set aside at least four hours a week in preparation with book learning and using my 2012 Developer license at home.  That will be tough, but now I have told you so I am now accountable.  Please let me know if you have any tips for studying for this exam, I would appreciate your input.  Enjoy!


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