When I was a kid, living in New Jersey at the time, my dad was very involved in sports car racing and motorcycles. Our garage was never used to actually park a car that we rode around in. Instead, it was strewn with all kinds of half-built engines and body parts. Car body parts, that is. And much to our neighbors’ chagrin, I’m sure, we often had cars in the backyard that my dad would use to snag some part that he needed for his current racing machine (TR5 at one point, later Formula V). Many weekends were spent traveling to the latest Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) race somewhere in New England (I don’t remember ever hearing about NASCAR in those days) or we were off to see the professionals in the Grand Prix at Watkins Glen. Frankly, being a spectator at these events wasn’t particularly fun as a kid, nor was it particularly memorable except for the time that I got to see Paul Newman at a race when he was just getting started in the sport. What always seemed much more fun to me were the rally events – I guess because there was some sort of puzzle involved or some type of navigation required that let me participate with my dad, even if I wasn’t much help. Of all the things from those experiences that persist to this day in my life, I am very good at using maps! The rest didn’t rub off so much on me – at least not the car-related stuff. I did inherit half of my computer-savvy genes from him!
So for me, the word rally has very positive connotations and fond memories of being with my dad. And I get to add to those warm and fuzzies by attending the very first PASS SQLRally 2011 in Orlando this May! I feel very honored to be part of the speaker line-up because the SQL Server community decided who the speakers would be, and there was quite an exceptional field of contenders. The session I’ll be presenting is Data Visualizations in SSRS 2008 R2. While using data visualizations in reports can be an effective way to communicate information, there are good ways to do that and bad ways to do that which I’ll be sharing with attendees. My focus will be on Reporting Services 2008 R2, but even attendees who haven’t migrated to the latest version will learn some useful tips in this session.
Now I won’t just be presenting my session and hiding out in my hotel room the rest of the time. I’ll be checking out other speakers’ sessions, hanging out with people that I usually only get to see at PASS, and meeting new people, too! The “people” part of conferences is just as much fun and invaluable as the learning opportunity.
I’m going to rev up my SQL Rally experience by attending a pre-conference session by Grant Fitchey (blog | twitter). I’m a business intelligence kinda gal so normally I throw data into a cube to get really good performance, but sometimes that’s not an option. And I didn’t get into business intelligence by starting out as a DBA, so my relational performance tuning skills for SQL Server are pretty basic. I’m looking forward to adding some new skills to my repertoire.
Although I’d like to be able to sit in on everyone’s session – I’m also a learning kinda gal – not everything is applicable to what I do, and some things I already know how to do. But there are still a few sessions that I really want to see:
- Aaron Nelson (blog | twitter)
- The Dirty Dozen: PowerShell Scripts for the Busy DBA. I really need to spend more time understanding the potential for PowerShell in my day-to-day work. Aaron’s really passionate about PowerShell, as he made so clear when I first met him in Tampa for SQLSaturday #62 and continues to evangelize on Twitter, so who better to show me the light?
- Scott Weinstein (blog | twitter)
- Using PowerShell to simplify your ETL – because here is an obvious first application for what I learn from Aaron Nelson.
- Jennifer McCown (blog | twitter)
- T-SQL Code Sins: The Worst Things We Do to Code, and Why. Jen is a kick. I’ve watched her present online for 24 Hours of Pass, but I haven’t been in the room with her in front of a live audience, so I’d like to take this opportunity to do so. At PASS Summit 2010, she was presenting at the same time as I was, so I couldn’t go heckle…er, watch politely. Plus I write enough SQL that I want to make sure I don’t disappoint Jen if she should ever have to look at my code.
- Aaron Bertrand (blog | twitter)
- What’s new in SQL Server 2011 (“Denali”)? Although I’m already familiar with Denali, I find it useful to see how someone else – not from Microsoft – explains it and to see how people respond.
- Karen Lopez – (blog | twitter)
- Career Success in the Data Profession during Turbulent Times. No, I’m not looking for a new job, but I get asked for advice all the time, so I’d love to hear Karen’s perspective.
- Julie Smith (blog | twitter)
- Cool Tricks to Pull from your SSIS Hat. I saw Julie present this in Tampa but I was sitting at the back of a very crowded room at a very odd angle, so I didn’t get a good view of the rabbit in her slides, or her really great demos. So I’m going back for more!
- Mark Tabladillo (blog | twitter)-
- Enterprise Data Mining for SQL Server Professionals. Number one, I’d really like to meet Mark because he helped me fine-tune my data mining chapter in my book Building Integrated Business Intelligence Solutions with SQL Server 2008 R2 & Office 2010. Number two, he really knows his stuff about data mining and I’d really like to hear what he’s got to say!
- Randy Dyess (blog)
- The BI DBA – because, not having been a DBA myself, I want to make sure that I’m properly communicating the concepts that Randy covers in this session to my clients.
I’m really looking forward to this event. If you’re going to be there too, please be sure to look for me and say hi!