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:

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!