I had a great time at SQL Saturday Atlanta last weekend. I drove from Orlando to Atlanta on Friday with Andy Warren and took advantage of the long ride to talk about PASS, user groups, volunteering, blogging, networking etc. Andy's a great guy to talk shop with because of the experience and perspective that he has on things. We arrived in time for the speaker's dinner Friday night where we had the chance to meet up with Stuart Ainsworth (@stuarta), Robert Cain (@arcanecode), Louis Davidson (@drsql), Geoff Hiten (@sqlcraftsman), Paul Waters (@pswaters), Joe Celko, and many others. After dinner we headed to another local spot for drinks with Peter Shire (@peter_shire) and the SQL Sentry crew to finish out the day.
Saturday's event was held at Microsoft in Alpharetta, GA. I thought the facility was perfect for the event: Plenty of parking right outside the doors, open spaces to mingle, a comfortable speaker's room, and rooms set up with projectors, lighting, and hardware designed for presentations. There were 3 smaller rooms for roundtable discussions and 3 larger rooms with walls that retracted to form one large room that was used for the opening comments, lunchtime presentation by Joe Celko, and closing raffles.
I spent most of my morning in the speaker's room preparing for two afternoon presentations and had the chance to meet up with K. Brian Kelley (@kbriankelley) and Kevin Kline (@kekline). I had a bit of a hiccup before my first session (XML in SQL Server) when my user profile on my laptop went corrupt and I couldn't log in. I lost about 10 minutes recovering but I still managed to cover the most important points. Fortunately my second session (Disk Performance) was all slides and I didn't need to jump through any hoops so it went better. I finished out the day by meeting up with Stuart and a couple of other attendees for dinner at an ale house a short distance from the event.
Other random thoughts about the weekend:
- Stuart and the AtlantaMDF crew did a fantastic job putting on the event. I've been to several SQL Saturdays and this ranks near the top in terms of location and execution.
- I bought and used a Logitech 2.5GHz Cordless Presenter based on Steve Jones's recommendation and really liked it. The built in timer and laser pointer are very handy. The forward\back buttons are great if your presentation is mostly slides but otherwise useless if you're doing a lot of demos because you tend to be behind a keyboard pushing buttons already.
- SQLBatman's influence was ever-present (see picture on right)
- I need to work on my networking skills. While I managed to meet up with several people I've talked to on Twitter I didn't do such a good job of meeting someone I've never talked to before.
- It's a long drive from ORL to ATL. While the conversation with Andy was great, I'll probably consider flying next time.
- Presentation tip: learn how to keep an audience captive in the event that something goes horribly wrong with your presentation. I did my best to interact with people while I worked out my corrupt user profile issue but it would have helped to have some discussion points in mind ahead of time.
3 days, 1,000+ miles, 20+ hours of driving, and good times: All in all a great weekend. Next up: SQL Saturday #15 in Jacksonville on May 2 where I'll be presenting all 4 topics I submitted for the 2009 PASS Summit.
Slide decks and demos for my presentations from ATL are below.