SQLSaturday #171 Pittsburgh recap

SQLSaturday 171 This past weekend I made the drive from Cleveland to Pittsburgh to attend SQLSaturday #171.  They picked the perfect time of year to host this event, the leaves changing color made for a really pretty drive.

The Event

The weekend started with the speaker dinner, held inside the Rivers Casino.  It was an evening of good food and good conversation.  I met some folks I’d previously only “met” online, and got to see some now familiar faces again.  The drive back to the hotel was quite interesting.  This was my first visit to Pittsburgh and, based on this experience, I can say it’s full of winding, hilly streets, one way roads, and divided roads.  There was a moment when I was sure my phone’s GPS was just messing with me.

The next morning it was off to the event itself, held at La Roche College.  Let me just say now that Gina, Madhu, Matt and everyone else involved in the hours of planning that went into this event did a fantastic job.  Truly.  You would never have guessed that this was Pittsburgh’s first SQLSaturday.  Everything was laid out very well for good traffic flow.  Volunteers were always on hand to ensure that attendees and speakers had everything they needed.  Room proctors handled the distribution and collection of session evaluations and there was an interesting twist on the whole eval/raffle thing. Rather than lug books for each session to each room for raffle prizes, the raffle winners were given a ticket to redeem for the book of their choice back in the main hall.  I thought this was a smart time saver.

As will happen, there were a few last-minute schedule changes due to speaker cancellations, but Gina and Matt handled it well, finding speakers, including me, who were willing to fill in with an extra session.

My sessions

Because it’s all about me, isn’t it?  (I keed, I keed.)  I had originally planned to just give my talk on DDL auditing, but due to a speaker cancellation, I also gave my talk on getting started in blogging.  I had a small group of attendees for the blogging session, but they were a interactive bunch, which I’ll take over a large stoney-faced group any day.  This session isn’t really technical at all, it’s about getting past your hangups and just doing it, so I like it to have some energy.  And it’s just better when the energy isn’t all coming from me.

Right after that, it was on to my DDL auditing session.  Can I just say that talking for 2 hours straight is hard.  I’m not used to talking that much at a stretch, I don’t know how other speakers do full-day precons.  But the session went well, with the exception of a ZoomIt malfunction (someone in the room said other speakers had had problems with ZoomIt also), and I know I got at least one person thinking about what she could implement at work.  So… yay!

That’s all folks!

This event was my last SQL Saturday of the year.  With the holidays looming and other changes happening, life is just going to be too hectic for a while.  So I plan to spend the next few months developing new sessions and revamping my blogging session to make it more advanced.  Next year I hope to have all new material to talk about.

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