Monthly Archives: September 2011

Your first Time….at the PASS Summit


We’ve had lots of great blog posts lately on what you need to do for your first time at the SQL PASS Summit.   I thought I would add some info as well.  Hopefully you will benefit from it.

Start at the beginning.


Layers of clothing are best in the Pacific Northwest areas like Seattle.  You can expect 50-60’s during the day.  You can find more info here. I typically bring a light jacket that has fleece inside and blocks the wind.  I’ve yet to take an umbrella to PASS.  I’ve lucked out in either needing to not walk far in the rain or it just not raining that much to matter.  Typically the rain is light and since most activities are close to the convention center you can cab or walk easily.   Bring plenty of cables; Surge protectors can be very helpful since there are never enough outlets when you need them (in hotel or in the convention center).  Comfy shoes, these are very important you will do lots of walking while at the summit.  Bring an extra bag, or bring one that can be folded down so it packs easily on your way to the summit.  You typically get lots of Swag at the summit and you need a bag to ship back or bring it home in.  Consider shipping as an option since Airline fees for luggage can be horrible (there is a fedex center in the convention center).  Laptop/Netbook/ Ipad are all up to you on what to bring you will have Wi-Fi in the convention center and in most hotels there is some sort of Wi-Fi or internet in the rooms for a fee.


Lots of debates on this, some suggest planning all your sessions out and all the events you plan to intend.  I do my planning every morning at breakfast.  I sit down with others at a table and ask them what they plan to attend and what they like.  This gives me a chance to meet others and socialize, ultimately I still make the decision on what I want to attend but chatting with others gives me a perspective that I wouldn’t get sitting at home planning my schedule myself.  I’ve done this for just about every summit I’ve attended.

For after-hours events I do plan this time out so I know where the major vendor and PASS events are located and the times.  I also keep a close eye on twitter to find changes to events or where my friends will be at various times.  You can find the PASS after hour’s page here.  I would suggest putting these items on your calendar in your phone so you will have them all available to you.  Contact any vendors you do business with at work as well and find out if they will have parties during the summit.  Make sure to visit the expo hall and ask vendor’s about any parties they have planned they can get you an invite to the party during the evening.  Personally I would not miss SQL Karaoke always a good time try and make it out if you have the chance!

Take a problem that you have at work and make a list of questions for the problem so that when you meet a MS employee/MVP/MCM/Fellow DBA you will have questions to ask and conversation with them.  Remember what makes the PASS Summit a great event is the socializing aspect.  You can learn so many things just being out in the hall with experts asking them questions.  Don’t be afraid to approach someone and start a conversation, if you’re worried about meeting someone or coming out of your shell feel free to find me I’ll introduce you.  🙂

The Big Week

Here are some general tips during the week that will help you out.

  1. Have Fun!
  2. Socialize!
  3. Learn!
  4. Register during an off time. If you come in Sunday afternoon register Sunday night it’s usually pretty dead.  If you are attending a pre-con it’s not a bad idea to get to registration early as it can be busy.  If you’re starting on Wednesday then try and register Tuesday night.  Registration is open pretty late most days so take advantage of it.
  5. Get to your sessions early and don’t be afraid to sit up front.  I find it’s the best spot for me to stay focused on the presentation and I can see well up front.  On the opposite of this don’t be afraid to miss a session if you’re having a good conversation with others out in the hall.  Remember if you’re getting your questions answered/solved and you’re learning something you’re succeeding at the summit.
  6. Talk to your neighbor/Socialize.  Before the session gets started is a great time to chat with the person next to you and find out if they have enjoyed the summit.  Perhaps they are someone who can help you with your problems at work.  I started a conversation with 2 people years ago during a pre-con and they are now lifelong friends (2 of the best Db professionals around as well).
  7. Be courteous to your speakers put your cell phone on Vibrate.  We understand you have to take calls and help your company be courteous of others and excuse yourself and take the call.
  8. Give honest feedback to the speakers good or bad.  PASS values the feedback we give as attendees and I know the speakers value it even more.  The only way to make a speaker better is to give them feedback.  If you see a speaker in the hall later don’t be shy to say thank you and that you enjoyed the session.  Speakers put a ton of time and effort into their presentations and hearing that feedback is great.
  9. Handout business cards and when you get business cards from others write a quick statement on them what you talked about on it.  This will help you remember when you get back to the office who you spoke with and what topics you discussed.

For more resources on your first time check out the PASS Summit First timers page lots of good links in there about all sorts of information.  You can find it here.

The most important things to remember about the summit are to never eat alone, have fun and learn something.  If you do that you’ll have a great first time experience.


PASS 2011 Photowalk

First a lesson on what is a Photowalk?

Photowalking is a simple way of saying get out and take pictures! We require nothing more than a good pair of walking shoes and a camera of some kind.  You can come along even with a cell phone camera to enjoy the sites and socialize with your fellow photo buff.  Any experience level is welcome and encouraged to come along.  One of the joys of Photowalking is seeing how everyone gets a different view of the world around them; don’t be shy to ask someone why they are taking a picture a certain way this is what makes us better as photographers.  If you would like to see some of the past Photowalks and what they are like visit my flickr site here.

Tim Ford (aka SqlAgentMan Blog |Twitter) and I have been coordinating the PASS Photowalk for the last 3 years. We knew we had other photography inclined people in the SQL community so we figured let’s get together get social and see this wonderful city we all spend lots of time in.  This year the walk is going to take us a little out of the city up to a Park known as Volunteer Park, We’ll take a short Bus ride up to the capitol area and stroll around the park.  I’ll list the general guidelines info below that you need to know.  If you are a Kung Fu buff there is a very special cemetery next door to this park.  5 million Bonus points if anyone can tell me in the comments who is buried there(no the points don’t give you anything) .  🙂

What: Photowalk around Volunteer Park

When:  Oct 10th 2011 starting at 09:00 a.m. usually ending about 2 hours later.  Ending times are open to your schedule; the bus fare will have a 2 hour limit. If you only want to pay the one fare you need to be on the bus within 2 hours.  You are free to leave the walk at any time many of us will get together and get lunch after the walk.  The bus fare is 2.25$ they suggest cash for the bus fare so stop by the ATM and get some cash/change before going.

Where:  Volunteer Park, We will be meeting at Sheraton hotel main lobby at 09:00 a.m.  Look for a group of people with lots of camera gear.  I’m not a small person and pretty hard to miss, I’ll have a tripod with me as well.  Be ready at 09:00 since the bus comes at 09:15 right next to the Sheraton.  We will board the Route 10 bus towards the capitol.  The bus route is listed on this map.  Once we arrive at Volunteer Park we like to get a group shot of everyone and then you’re free to roam.

Why:   To have fun and socialize of course! #sqlpass #photowalk are the hashtags to use via twitter.

What to bring

  1.  Good walking shoes, a Photowalk usually is about 1-2 miles depending on how much your moving around.
  2. A light jacket, it’s Seattle in October this is a given!  Possibly gloves(hands get cold holding cameras)
  3. An umbrella(see above)  or something to protect your camera ( not all our waterproof)
  4. Any and all photo equipment you feel comfortable carrying around.

If the weather is really bad (raining really hard), I will work on making an alternate site in the convention center where we could have some fun with portraits.  I will be bringing some of my flash/portrait gear and we could do a quick lesson/session on doing portraits.

I think I’ve covered all the details I’ll put them in a little easy box down here that you can copy out and paste into your calendar item you’re going to put on your phone for the event.  J  Go do it now so you don’t forget!

What: PASS Photowalk

When: Oct 10th 2011 09:00-11:00

Where: Seattle Sheraton Lobby Map,

Volunteer Park Map, ( )

Bus: ROUTE 10 Map  ( )

Fare price $2.25

I hope to see you all at the photowalk!  If you have any questions/concerns feel free to leave a comment below or write me at here.

Thank you

Thank you
140 characters through twitter is just not enough to say thank you to everyone that made today a great event! We had record turnout for both Utah Code Camp and SQL Saturday #94. The most important question I ask attendees when they come to one of these events is “did you learn something” we got a lot of yes answers today and to me that’s a successful event.
Thank you so very much to Craig, Nathan and Kerry on the board for Utah Geek Events you rocked it today and we’ll keep doing it for many more events to come!
Thank you to Tjay, Scott and Ben for helping with SQL Saturday and making it a great success.
Thank you to Todd who volunteered with Code Camp so well today and in the previous weeks.
Thank you to all the speakers! Whether they flew from 5 minutes away (Chad) or they flew hundreds of miles. You speakers that give your time freely to help others are the real heroes today and should be commended. I hope to repay the favor of my CO friends very soon and come out and present for you!
Thank you to all our wonderful sponsors that gave us the funds and prizes to make this a great event.
Finally and most important Thank you to the attendees , you are building a community that is capable of great things and we will keep bringing you these events as long as we are able to do so.
We look forward to many more great events to come.