Another PASS Summit has come and gone, and a good time was had by all. The song at the opening keynote sums up the experience quite nicely, “Simply the Best.” My favorite quote of the week comes from Andy Leonard (blog| twitter) who tweeted on November 9, “#sqlpass is a family reunion. :{>” Oddly enough, Andy is one of the few people that I DIDN’T get to see last week, but not for lack of trying. Sorry, Andy!

As an independent consultant, I don’t get to interact regularly with my peers, so I love the reunion aspect of PASS. And now that I’ve started following people on Twitter, my universe of colleagues has expanded even more, and I was delighted to meet the people behind the avatars.

The joy of PASS is not limited to those of us who have attended for many years. As I was sitting in the airport last Friday, I recognized an attendee who was a first-timer and asked about his experience. He replied that it exceeded expectations. He was so anxious to get back to work to put what he learned into practice. He felt that the value of the knowledge that he is bringing back to the office from PASS was so much greater than the price of the conference. Now that’s a ringing endorsement if I ever heard one.

There is so much more that could be said about PASS, and many in the community have already posted their thoughts on Twitter and on their blogs. There has been quite a stir in the business intelligence community this past week about the future of Analysis Services, about which I will comment in a future post. Today, however, I will focus on a few follow-up comments and links to resources related to activities in which I participated last week.

Getting Started In Blogging And Technical Speaking

Kendal Van Dyke (blog| twitter) presented a session with tips for getting started in either of blogging or speaking. He invited a panel of experts to join him, including myself, Rob Farley (not pictured below) (blog| twitter), Aaron Bertrand (blog | twitter), Buck Woody (blog | twitter), Todd McDermid (blog| twitter), Mike Walsh (blog | twitter), Thomas LaRock (blog | twitter), Ted Krueger (blog | twitter), Patrick LeBlanc (blog | twitter), Andy Warren (blog | twitter), and Brent Ozar (blog | twitter).

Photo courtesy of Brent Ozar

Who had control of this very interactive session? You’ll have to buy the PASS Summit DVD to find out!

I waited patiently for my turn to speak. With a room full of speakers, getting your own turn can be a challenge! I heard a few attendees express concern that they didn’t know what to write about, or that someone else has covered the topic. My response to this concern is that everyone has a unique take on a topic, and that’s why T-SQL Tuesday is such a great way both to learn and to contribute. T-SQL Tuesday was started by Adam Mechanic (blog | twitter) and gives everyone with an opinion (and who doesn’t have one?) or a specific experience to add to the topic. You can see the first invitation to T-SQL Tuesday here to see how it all started and the most recent T-SQL Tuesday posts hosted by Paul Randal (blog | twitter). The best way to keep tabs on who’s hosting the next round is to follow the #TSQL2sDay hash tag on Twitter.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to hang out for the entire presentation, because I had to move on to theā€¦

Women in Technology Panel

I was honored to participate as a panelist for this year’s Women in Technology luncheon. It was well attended, and I heard so many positive comments after the event from both men and women. I drew inspiration from my fellow panelists as well as the stories shared with me by other women attending PASS this year. You can view a recording of the event here if you’re a registered member of PASS (which is free to join).

It’s so difficult to say what the right answer is for increasing the numbers of women in technology. The numbers are diminishing at a deplorable rate (as I discussed in a previous post). It seems to me that to foster change we need to start laying the groundwork with our children. By “our children”, I mean society in general, not me specifically, although I have tried do my part! On the one hand, I don’t recommend forcing children into a career path that they can’t embrace enthusiastically. On the other hand, I believe that one reason that girls don’t pursue technology as an option is lack of exposure to the possibilities. Lynn Langit (blog | twitter) is a role model for showing kids (not just girls!) how to explore these possibilities through Check it out!

Along these lines, I proposed that maybe – as great a community as PASS is – we should collectively think about what we can do for our kids. Someone tweeted that I suggested we should bring our daughters to SQLSaturday, but actually I wondered aloud if we could do something similar to SQLSaturday that focused on the kids (and not just girls). Maybe we could get some sponsors to help, too?

Demystifying MDX in Reporting Services

In this session, I explained some of the nuances of working with MDX in Reporting Services. I have posted my demo reports here.

In addition, you might want to refer back to some of my recent posts about using dynamic MDX in Reporting Services: Part 1 and Part 2.

If you’re not familiar with MDX, I presented Session 07: Intro to MDX for 24 Hours of Pass: Summit Preview which you can view if you have a free PASS membership. MDX is not going away any time soon, contrary to recent rumors, so invest some time learning it if you plan to work with real Analysis Services cubes, which will continue to have their place in the BI stack for several years to come.

Real World Analysis Services Stored Procedures

This topic drew a larger audience than I expected as it’s a fairly specialized topic. For years, I never needed to use Analysis Services Stored Procedures (ASSP), avoiding it because folklore said so due to performance hits. However, some things just can’t be done any other way and I ran into such things this past year. To date, I haven’t found much written about ASSP other than BOL, but you can find some excellent examples to download at CodePlex. Plus I’ve uploaded the very simple (non-production-ready) C# example that I used in my session demonstration for you to peruse.

What’s Next?

So now that I’ve completed all the training and Webcasts and conference sessions that I’ve been focused on the last couple of months (with one exception – Delivering Information with Reporting Services, a free Webcast at 12 pm Pacific on Wednesday, November 17), I plan to get back to a more regular blogging schedule. There are certainly plenty of topics on my “to do” list!