New England Data Camp Evals

January 27, 2009 at 8:01 am (PASS, SQL Server 2008, Tools, TSQL) (, , , )

Anyone reading this who attended the New England Data Camp and filled out an eval, for any of the sessions, thanks. For those 63 evals between the two sessions that I received, thanks. Here are the aggregates on my sessions:

Using Visual Studio Team System Database Edition:

Average of Knowledge 8.344827586
Average of Presentation 8.482758621
Average of Preparation 8.103448276
Average of Interesting 8.172413793
Average of Overall 8.275862069
Number of Submissions 29

Understanding Execution Plans

Average of Knowledge 8.647058824
Average of Presentation 8.617647059
Average of Preparation 8.705882353
Average of Interesting 8.529411765
Average of Overall 8.625
Number of Submissions 34

These are all on a scale of 1-9. I’m really quite happy with the results. Here are the average results for all the speakers and all the sessions at the Data Camp:

Total Average of Knowledge 8.407843
Total Average of Presentation 7.912109
Total Average of Preparation 8.130859
Total Average of Interesting 7.962891
Total Average of Overall 8.096004
Total Number of Submissions 515

Overall, both sessions beat the average.  My knowledge level was marked down a bit on the Visual Studio session and I attribute that (mostly) to a lack of rehearsal and preparation. I changed that slide deck just the week before the Data Camp and it showed.  Same problem with the Visual Studio session regarding preparation. What practices and rehearsals I had done were on my desktop at work. I found out that morning that my laptop didn’t have the GDR release installed, so I had to RDP to my desktop. It created several technical issues. I’m glad that people picked up on it. It really does keep me honest. I guess the session on execution plans was well received (despite the fact that I kept saying page when I meant leaf when referring to an index structure, bleh).

There were some really nice comments, thanks everyone. A couple of the comments on the Visual Studio session talked about market penetration and the readiness of the tool set. I had about 60 people in the audience and only three (3!) were using the tool. More were using the Team Foundation System, but not to the extent we use it where I work. I don’t think that’s because the tool isn’t ready (although I think it has a few shortcomings in & around deployments, especially incremental deployments) but rather the fact that it costs a bloody fortune. Few individuals can afford it and not that many companies are going to be willing to pay for it, especially in this economy. Other than that, no suggestions for improving the presentation, despite the fact that I got marked down a bit on this one. I’ll take the preparation more seriously next time.

I only got one negative on the Understanding Execution Plans session and, unfortunately, it’s only marginally useful. One person gave me a 2 on “Interesting” (in a sea of 9’s a few 8’s and two 7’s). This person wanted to see a session on query tuning and optimization. But, that’s just not what the session is about, at all. So it’s hard to take this as a mechanism for improving my presentation on what is an execution plan and how do you read one. However, it does let me know that I should probably try to come up with some kind of performance tuning & tips session that I can give from the new book. Unfortunately, this is such a full field with great presenters like Gail Shaw already showing exactly what I’d show (except better) that I’m not sure what to do about it. I need some idea to drive the session, a hook like Gail’s “Dirty Dozen” (fantastic name). I’m thinking about this one.

Anyway, there are the results, all out in the open. Thank you again for sending in your evals (even the 2 was very helpful) and your comments. The compliments were extremely nice to read, thank you.

UPDATED: Typed Gail’s name wrong AND forgot to link to her site.

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New England Data Camp v1.0 Results

January 26, 2009 at 8:23 am (PASS, SNESSUG, SQL Server 2005, SQL Server 2008) (, , , )

I believe that the very first New England Data Camp was a success. We had about 185 attendees. There 18 sessions from 16 speakers. Both the sessions I gave and the one I sat in on were full. Credit goes to to Adam Machanic who did 90% of the work pulling this together. Amazing job Adam. My personal thanks to our sponsors.  First, Microsoft, who provided us with a magnificent facility, nice swag, a full AV suite, coffee and donuts and in the morning, and a lot of help. It wouldn’t have come out as well as it did without you guys. Next, the Professional Association of SQL Server Users (PASS), who supplied us with money, without which we could not have eaten lunch, a few posters to decorate the place and a nice Powerpoint template. Good job guys. Finally, Red Gate, those t-shirts were very handy. Thanks again.

A special thank you to the speakers. You guys rock, and from the evaluations I saw, others think so too. You volunteered to come in on a Saturday to share with others. That’s pretty special.

Thanks to Dave Mulanaphy from SNESSUG. He did a ton of work before the event and was a huge help that day. It wouldn’t have been a success without him. Thanks Dave.

I saw about 1/4 of the evals, and except for getting dinged on food (more on that in a moment), the Data Camp was very well received and I saw many requests that we do another.

Food. Yes, pizza is not the healthiest choice. Yes, I like pepperoni too. But guys, you’re getting first class training and breakfast and lunch, all for free. You need to cut us some slack because we’re doing the best we can to get as much together as quickly as possible. Pizza is easy. We spent, are you ready, $1400 on pizza. We only had $1200 in donations. We spent another $100 on drinks. That’s $300 that came out of the two user NOT FOR PROFIT user groups that hosted the event. We did the best we could (or Adam did, I just pitched in) and, as someone else pointed out, the door wasn’t locked and you came there in a car. If you have special dietary needs, run out for lunch.

The two sessions I presented seemed to be very well received. I could have done with a bit more preparation on the Visual Studio Team System Database Edition  session. I hadn’t rehearsed the new version of the presentation enough and it showed in a couple of places. The execution plan session went well, I thought. The big “ooh” moment in that presentation surprised me. Most of the audience didn’t know about the little plus sign in the lower right of the Management Studio execution plan window (it’s in 2005 and 2008 ) that lets you scroll around in an execution plan. When I get the full set of aggregated results from the evaluations, I’ll post them. I saw some positive feedback (thank you) and some interesting criticisms (thank you too).

Overall it was a great day. I hope Adam recovers and decides to put on another, but next time he should delegate more to others.

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New England Data Camp v.1.0

January 7, 2009 at 3:25 pm (PASS, SQL Server 2008, TSQL) (, , )

It’s getting a lot closer to the 24th. 

On Saturday, January 24th, the first ever New England Data Camp will launch. We’ve got a number of speakers registered. Aaron Bertrand and Andrew Novick are guys I’ve got a lot respect for. I’ve been to their presentations before and they’ve been consistently very good.  We’ve got a few guys I haven’t heard of personally, Talbott Crowell, Ayad Shammout, Sunil Kadimdiwan, Igor Moochnick. I’m going to present on execution plans and multi-environment deployments using DBPro (updated from the PASS presentation).  The other presentations cover topics from using the Resource Governor on SQL Server 2008 to Defending SQL Server from Injection Attacks to Create better and more Useful Cubes.

It’s shaping up to be an actual event. If you’re in the neighborhood (New England), stop by.

The main organizer is Adam Machanic of the New England SQL Server Users Group. That’s partnered with the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group. It’s all under the banner of PASS.

It’s taking place at the Microsoft facility in Waltham on Saturday, January 24th. You can register here. If you’re interested in presenting, speaker registration is here.

UPDATE: Misspelled Aaron’s name. Sorry man.

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New England Data Camp v1.0

December 11, 2008 at 10:13 am (PASS, SNESSUG) (, , )

Adam Machanic of the New England SQL Server Users Group (among other things), has contacted the Southern New England SQL Server Users Group to ask us to take part in a one day SQL Server code camp. Of course we said yes.

It’s taking place at the Microsoft facility in Waltham on Saturday, January 24th. You can register here. If you’re interested in speaking, speaker registration is here. I’ll be listing the sponsors as they become available, but it will be a PASS event.

As information gels around this, I’ll continue posting updates.

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