Monthly Archives: November 2010

What am I thankful for?

Jason Strate (Blog| Twitter) sent out a blog post asking all of us to post what we are thankful for. I’m going to keep this as what I’m thankful for in my technical life. Thank you Jason for the idea!

I’m thankful for the community. I know we say this often but I really appreciate anyone that helps out in the community. It’s amazing to me that we have people out there that will take time out of their personal lives and family time to give us blog posts, web casts, presentations and local conferences. The prime example I want to single out here is Wayne Snyder (Twitter). Wayne has been on the Board for PASS since before my first summit in 2004. He’s held the position of PASS President while I was a board member; he has given TONS of his time to the community.

I’m a big believer that you have to cherish and remember the little moments in your life. I had one of those little moments on my way to the PASS Summit this year.

I made it to the airport Early Sunday morning before the summit; I make sure to arrive early to the airport whenever I fly since I never know when I will get a colonoscopy from the TSA. Luckily I missed out on the invasive groping this time around. I was surprised when I ran into Wayne at the airport. I was really quite shocked since I didn’t know he was even in SLC. We sat down and were able to have a great breakfast together talking about PASS/Summit/Board/Photography. I’ve mentioned in my blog before that at the 2004 PASS Summit I was able to see Wayne speak on volunteering for PASS. This didn’t just start my career in PASS but it also started a career in volunteering that has me now managing Code Camps, SQL Saturdays and other local events, it helped me to earn an MVP award years ago, one of the great honors of my career to be included with those great individuals.

Keep these things in mind when you think your just having breakfast with someone or maybe you sat down at a hotel bar to discuss something it’s moments like this that you’ll not only remember but you may be very thankful a few years down the road. I’m sure many of you at the summit this year at similar moments that will now change and affect you going forward.

It’s people like Wayne in this community that give of themselves for no other reason than to help others. That’s what makes this community great and what I’m thankful for. I hope that all of you out in the community work to help others through whatever means you have.

Happy Holidays to all


Branding Me?


Tim Ford's Picture of my camera without me!

I wasn’t really planning on writing something for the Un-SQL Friday that Jen McCown (Blog |Twitter) was putting on. Not because I didn’t think it was a good idea just that I have horrible branding skills and didn’t think I could add much. So I’ve decided I will write blog my to-do list I have planned for my own branding hoping that will give other people ideas in the future for what they can change.

1. Start with the “Brand Wheel” That Thom mentions in this post.

2. Start getting my name associated with @SQLAsylum.

3. Generate a list of what I plan to “market” about myself and make goals to meet the list.

4. Work on marketing my brand to more locations.

While I work on these items I know one part of my “Brand” that won’t change and will drive all the items on the list. The desire to help people, I’ve always been one to not worry about things I’m getting in return but just to give. I’ll elaborate on this in a future post that I have planned.

I’ll have follow up posts that I can use to detail these items out and show progress. Sounds like a new great blog post series coming up for me. J

The PASS High


Last week several thousand technical professionals got together in Seattle. The primary goal of this conference was to Connect, Share and Learn about SQL Server. I have no doubt that goal was reached for most if not all the attendees.

Many of us old timers of the PASS Summit call the feeling as we are leaving the conference the PASS High. Going to a conference like PASS rejuvenates you with ideas and plans for what you want to do with your environments when you get back home. So the question is how do you keep that going? When you get back to work on Monday you may have millions of things that you want to change and the reality is that you may not be able to change all of them quickly.

My first suggestion is to make a list of all the items you want to change/research. This doesn’t have to be a detailed plan of all the steps for making the change just a simple list. For Example,

1. Create a policy to check file growth settings on Db’s

2. Verify location and size of Tempdb for performance reasons.

3. Check for any Primary Keys set as a GUID(Really bad idea)


Another aspect of the PASS conference besides what you have learned is the networking and the relationships you have built. How do you keep that going? First and foremost you should reach out to those you have met and send them an email. Mention won’t you spoke about and hope to hear from them again in the future.

I would suggest creating a twitter account if you don’t already have one to keep up with the community. The most important step is to head to Brent Ozar’s Blog and pick up the simple Twitter book. This is a must to getting started on Twitter. Much of the SQL Community communicates and operates through Twitter. This doesn’t mean you have to watch it 24 hours a day but being aware of things you can do with twitter is important. Like using the #SQLHelp hash tag. While you are working on the list you made above you can use #sqlhelp to get assistance with things you may have forgotten at the conference.

I would also suggest seeking out your Local SQL Server Chapter. You can find a list and map here at the PASS Website. It’s always surprising to me how many times I’ve met someone from my local community at PASS but have yet to see them at a local user group. Attending the Local user group is a great way to keep the PASS High going and meet with others in your area that can help you with problems in the future.


If you’re like me and feel sentimental and sappy and enjoy looking through pictures of the summit and all the fun times we had. You can do a search on Flickr for the Sqlpass tag. I’ve also included all the photos from the summit on my Flickr stream at\asylumphoto . Feel free to stop by and remember all the good times. If you want full sizes of any of the pictures please email me and I will happily get them for you. If you would like to use them on a blog post that’s fine as well as long as you link back to the original picture.

Hopefully you can keep your PASS High going until the next PASS Summit!

PASS Summit Sessions

The PASS Summit is on and in full force. I’ve had the advantage to attend many more sessions this year than the last 2 years. As a Board of Director your ability to attend sessions is greatly diminished by meetings and activities during PASS.

I was fortunate enough to attend Kimberly Tripp’s (Blog | Twitter)  session on GUID’s. Before I get into some session details I just have to say it’s been a few years since I have been fortunate enough to see her present and she still does not disappoint. I really appreciate the time and effort she puts into presentations for the attendees benefit.  It’s not really a question of what she is presenting on.  Attend and you will learn something.

I wanted to get a quick summary out about what I learned mostly for my own future benefit.  This will not be an exact exhaustive detailed post about the presentation if you want to know the thousands of numbers she quoted buy the DVD or attend the session next time she presents it.  🙂

I unfortunately have a system that uses a GUID as a PK.  I know this is bad and wasn’t on that part of the original design but I really didn’t know it was that BAD.  Let me tell you based off the numbers presented today it really is THAT bad.  Just a simple number she put out to show the point.  14 seconds for a load using int’s 1:45 seconds for the same sequential GUID  (which is similar to my system).  That right there is a huge difference!  Not to mention the Fragmentation and the Excess number of pages because  of the GUID just makes the IO thrash that much more.  The one good thing about all this is that I found a new way I can really try and Punish my SSD’s/HDD for testing purposes.

Unfortunately you may not have many easy solutions to get rid of these horrible datatypes.  Maintenance will help you to keep them somewhat in check but only to a point.  At some point maintenance will take so long that it will cease to be effective and you will need to design them out or get better hardware.

After the session it was painfully obvious to me these poisonous datatypes have very little place in the world.  🙂

Taking Pictures at the PASS Summit

I mentioned in my post yesterday (here) that I will be taking lots of pictures and sending them straight to Flickr.   I wanted to encourage everyone else taking pictures at the summit to do the same.  Sure you might not be able to wirelessy transmit them up to Flickr but I’m sure you’ll be unloading them on your computer so why not setup a free Flickr account and share them with thecommunity?  PASS HQ I know uses the tag SQLPASS on Flickr to find pictures about the summit.  If you post pictures to Flickr all you have to do is add that tag and it will show up in the stream.  Much like using a hashtag in twitter, let’s make this the most photographed PASS summit yet!

The only reason I suggest Flickr over Facebook is that you don’t have to be logged in to Flickr to see the pictures.  So we can share the pictures with all of the community where Facebook requires an account in many situations.

Hope to see you all there taking lots of pictures at the summit next week!

Bringing the PASS Summit to the people through Photography

Pass 2009 Photos-26

BrentO At the 2009 PASS Summit

BrentO Posing at the 2009 PASS Summit

Last year I mentioned in this blog post how I was looking to take a different approach to the summit and focus on the people at the PASS Summit.

This year I intend to go even further. I’ve purchased an Eye-FI Card (link) this is a SD card with a built in wifi card inside the card, meaning that my camera can transmit the pictures online as I take them. In my opinon that is #PureAwesomeness. So my intent is the same as last year I will have my camera with me pretty much 24X7 but this time as I snap a picture in the hall at a bar or just about anywhere, it will be sent up to the web for your viewing pleasure. Of course I will need to be in range of a wireless network so at times some of the pictures may take a while but for the most part they should be up quickly to my FlickR stream. They will all get tagged with #Sqlpass so you can easily locate them on flickr. I have also setup a tweet to go off when they are completed you can follow #sqlpasspics to see all my uploads  You do not need a flickr account to view any of the pictures so feel free to share.

2009 Keynote

The Keynote on Tuesday 2009 PASS Summit

My goal in doing this is to join a steady movement that is trying to bring the summit to those that could not attend. If you have not heard Jen and Sean McCown (Aka MidnightDBA) will be broadcasting from the summit as well. You can find all the info you need on their blog post listed here.   The keynotes will  be streamed live from the summit. You can find all the info here. Combined with the twitter stream that will be taking place I have a feeling this summit will be biggest and best yet!

I will be doing some video with my camera as well and it will get sent to Youtube directly. I’ll have a link to that when I have it setup.

So here’s the hash tags I will primarily be using for all things Photo while at the summit.

#SqlRoadTrip – Myself and @SqlSchizo will be roadtripping up from Portland on Sunday. Any pics we take for this will go here.

#passPhotowalk – This is for the photowalk on Monday morning.

#SqlPassPics –My Eye-fi card will be tweeting from my account whenever new pics are uploaded.

#sqlpass – For all the general news about the summit.

#sqlKilt – I will try and post specific SQL Kilt pictures I take in this tag.

#SqlKaroake – I will  be there and taking pictures and video. Not singing.  🙂

Don’t worry if you miss things on Twitter all my pics will be on Flickr.  You can always find the PASS Pictures by searching for “SqlPASS” hopefully everyone at the summit is using that tag.  If you want a great browser app to view photos check out CoolIris(link)  great way to view a photo stream of SQlpass pictures.

SQL Saturday #54 Recap

First and foremost thank you to all you that attended. We all say thank you to the organizers, speakers and sponsors for giving their time. But remember we would all be out of a volunteer job if we didn’t have attendees! The SLC community is great and it gets better with each event and we hope to keep putting on great events for you. Thank you to the wonderful SLC SQL Saturday Team Tjay Belt (Blog |Twitter), Scott Heffron (Blog) and Ben Miller (Blog |Twitter). I know they like to think I did much of the planning but in reality having them all as part of the Staff is a huge help to me.

I’ve listed out my Pro and Con list for the event. Basically I see this as things to improve or what we did well. This may come across as being overly critical; I see it as a list of how to improve things going forward. As an Organizer of an event you have to take responsibility for everything at the event, meaning you get the good and the bad. A manager of mine used to always start with the bad in our review meetings. She always said it’s better to end on a positive note so that’s what I’ll do here.


1. Printing –We need to order the paper earlier so there is less last minute printing. Next time I’ll probably send off for more items earlier.

2. Lunch – This will officially be the last time an event has lunch purchased through a sponsor, from this point forward the event will own this.

3. Speakers – We wish we had more of them. The ones we had were outstanding!

4. Surveys – We are working on a new online survey system that will make this better for next time.


1. Attendance – While not as many as projected it was a great first start for the SLC area. Next year this will get bigger.

2. Speakers – We had some top notch speakers not only from SLC but from other locations. Really thankful for those that came out to speak.

3. Registration – I really liked how it worked and it went well I plan to adopt some of it for Utah Code Camp

4. Sponsors – We had lots of great sponsors they really made the event excellent. I also loved the raffle ticket idea from SQL Saturday and plan to use it again in the future.

5. Social Networking – I saw lots of people getting to know each other and chatting in the halls. I also heard of at least 3 people that created twitter accounts after attending #sqlSat54 that’s great and I’m glad we can really start to build more networking into our area.

So how did you think we did? Here’s the break down from the surveys we received. Total of 17 surveys received.

Overall Fall 2010 5 is Like
Website Reg 4.53
Technical Content 4.44
Location 4.29
Overall 4.47
Attend Another? Counts Percent
Yes 16 94%
No 1 6%
Best Time Counts Percent
Beginning 9 53%
Middle 6 35%
End 2 12%
Heard about us? Counts
Twitter 2 12%
Email from Code Camp 5 29%
Sponsor 0 0%
Friend 7 41%
None Of the Above 3 18%

We received some great comments as well which we will use to help us plan the next event. In all it was a great event and I look forward to putting on another SQL Saturday. The next big event in my future is the PASS Summit (I’m not organizing that thoughJ). The next organized event is the Utah Code Camp which is now set for March 19th 2011 ( We will have some SQL sessions there as well so make sure to come out and see what we have to offer.

If you would like to read more wrap ups on SQL Saturday #54 here is a link to those that I’m aware of.

Nicholas Cain SQL Saturday #54 Recap

Jason Brimhall SQL Saturday #54 Recap

Tjay Belt SQL Saturday #54 Recap