Tag Archives: Summit

Photowalking at the PASS Summit 2015

PASS Photowalk 2010 Group shot

It is that time of year again for us to get the #sqlfamily together for a week long education and discussion with our great friends!

This post serves as the official announcement of the PASS photowalk.  It will once again take place on Tuesday the week of the summit(10-27-15).

I’ll keep this post short since I have all the details in my event brite.  Feel free to sign up on the event brite and we will get an idea of who is going.


I hope to see you all at the summit!





PASS Summit 2014 Goals


As I write this I’m packed and ready to fly out for Portland Sunday.  You didn’t read that wrong and I’m not flying into the wrong city.  I tend to fly out on Sundays so I can take some photo adventure before the PASS Summit starts.  This year it’s flying into Portland renting a car and driving up to Seattle.  I did this several years ago and it was great fun.  I will not be taking anything that resembles a straight line to Seattle and I won’t be doing it quickly.  I’ll be catching up with the other Photo Nuts most likely that evening for some good beer and food somewhere in Washington.

I started attending the PASS Summit in Orlando in 2004.  Basically I’ve been to a few and every one that I go to I have some key goals when I attend the Summit.  Many are photo related but some are technical as well and all of them revolve around #sqlfamily.  I wanted to share them with all of you so hopefully some of the people I run into will help me achieve the goals.


  1. Come out of my shell: I’ve said this for years and really I’m probably seen as much more of a social person than most but still to this day I have to push myself to talk to new people.  I strongly urge everyone to meet someone new at any technical conference you attend.  If you don’t that’s a huge loss to what you could have received from the conference.
  2. Meet people that are not working with SQL Server: Now why would I attend a SQL Server conference if I want to talk to people not working with SQL Server? SQL Server is still at the core of our architecture but we also integrate and work with other nosql and opensource projects.  My goal is to learn what others are doing and how they are doing it.  I hope to find others that have found ways to integrate with other technologies not just the MS stack.  If you would like to see what I have done feel free to watch this presentation recorded at BMD/SLC SQL Saturday.
  3. Meet Organizers of events: I put on a lot of events (not just SQL Saturdays). I like to hear about the cool things others are doing so that I can find new and cool things for my events.  I have at least 3 events planned in the next 6 months and would love to find out what others do.
  4. Catch up with #sqlfamily: I have unfortunately been very out of the loop for about the last 6 months. Both because of work but also because of events.  I want to catch up with my good friends and find out what they have been working on and what they have been doing.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

  1. Get “the” shot:  At previous summit’s I would take anywhere from 700-1500 pictures throughout the week.  I’ve learned a lot through the years and know when to hold my shutter button and when to pull the trigger.  I will have 5-6 shots that I want/need at the event and my goal is to achieve those.  If you see me (I’m a large person with a camera on his waist all week) feel free to check in with how I’ve done on the shots and which ones I have planned.
  2. 50mm all day!: I have a fun lightweight 50mm 1.8 lens that would be great for some of the shots I have planned. I’m going to try and choose a day and use that lens all day long.
  3. Night shots: I will have a car on Sunday night so this most likely means a Trip to Kerry park. While I’ve achieved the shot I have wanted from this location we all know things change and getting another copy of the beautiful Seattle skyline is never a bad idea.

I hope that as you go through the summit and you see the big guy with the camera you take a minute to stop and say hi.  Would love to chat with you about photography, Data projects or events you have planned.

Super excited to see all of my #sqlfamily very soon!




PASS Suggestions #1 Giving Feedback

Board Q&A 2013

PASS Board Q&A 2013 Summit

This year at the PASS Summit the Board held an open Question and Answer session.  They have done this for the past few years and it’s been very helpful for us to ask questions of the board.  I wanted to extend those ideas after the summit but wasn’t sure the best ways to give feedback to the board. 

Now don’t get me wrong I’m good friends with several board members and I have no doubt that I can send them an email (I already have) with this information and they can consider it.   But what if you are not in my position?  What if you are member of PASS that just wants to make suggestions to the organization?  Perhaps you have worked with other large volunteer organizations and you have great ideas on how to make things better.   Well unfortunately your only choice from the website is to email a member of PASS HQ on the about us page.  So who do you email?  From the titles you can probably figure out the right area that might help you but what then? How do you know what happens with your suggestion from that point? My suggestion to PASS is to start giving us a way to easily give feedback and to track that feedback until completion.  A simple ticket tracking system.

As DBA’s and Developers we track all sorts of things through ticket tracking systems.  Bugs, Projects we are working on and feedback from end users.  I’m suggesting the same thing here.  PASS needs to get a simple form we can use on the website to give feedback.  That is then assigned to a Board member/portfolio and worked on till completion or if the task is not appropriate then it can be closed in some manner that gives a reason why it can’t be done.  The requestor would get the feedback from the ticket so they knew the status of the suggestion.  We would have ownership and accountability as a Board member/portfolio would own the tickets.

This process would allow us to talk about specific items in the future events and PASS meetings.  We would be able to track progress exactly and what items are being worked on.  Overall it would make management of the many projects going on much smoother.

One suggested tool could be Trello, we use it in two different organizations that I volunteer in and it’s a great way to create simple stories and put them on a board to be worked on.  I am sure lots of tools exist for this sort of thing the important thing is getting something in place to capture feedback in the future and to give the end user knowledge of where that feedback stands.

Another suggestion that Thom made as well is User Voice.  Looks like a good site that could have some great tools as well for managing the projects.

As I mentioned above I have sent this to the PASS  Board already and hopefully they will consider it as a future project.   If you think this is a good idea perhaps sending an email to a board member of your choice mentioning this idea would be good.

I put a #1 at the top of the post since I have a few more suggestions for the PASS organization as well and they will show up as future blog posts.

Packing list for Summit 2013

Quick post listing out my Tech/Geek essential packing list for the summit, I’m starting my summit adventure very late Saturday evening so I can get some photo time in on Sunday afternoon.  Because of that I need to make a reminder list of everything I need to take from the gadget side of things. No I have not listed clothes/bathroom needs that would be a separate list or just something easy enough to figure out.    Many of these things already reside in my laptop bag but I double check to make sure I have them.


o Phone
o Ipad
o Laptop
o Camera (little one) – I have more than one.
o Portable USB Drive
o Usb mouse(small travel one)
o Speakers (I like listening to music in the hotel)

Camera Gear (Probably won’t have all of this on your list) 

o Camera w/battery grip
o Camera Batteries X2
o 11-16mm lens
o 85mm lens
o 50mm lens
o 2 X sb600 (flash)
o 4 X 4 sets AA batteries (16 in total if saving weight buy these on site)
o Remote trigger release
o Lens cleaning cloth
o Bounce card
o 4 X Sd cards

Cables /Connectors/Chargers

o Phone charger
o Ipad charger
o 1 x ipad cable
o Extra phone battery
o 2 x usb micro
o 2 x usb mini
o Mac  cable for vga/hdmi connections

o Laptop power cable
o Surge protector
o Camera charger
o Car USB Charger (I’m planning some driving)
o Network cable(rarely need this anymore)
o Logitech Presenter( if presenting)
o Mouse Pad mat (doubles as a lens cleaning cloth)

Those are all the geeky tech things I need to get around for summit.  If I was doing larger photo shoots at the summit I would have more gear like light stands and soft boxes and so forth but I’m not this year so really I’ll be packing “light” in the camera world.

Looking forward to seeing everyone at the summit in a few days!

Simple rules for attending a conference

I want you to have a great conference!

I want you to have a great conference!

It is just about time again for another PASS Summit.  As I’m getting ready to help out my first timers group and get ready for the summit myself I figured I would put a few tips together.  The amount of first timer posts out in the community is staggering and instead of trying to write yet another 2 page novel with lots of tips and tricks I thought I would keep it very simple.  This should apply to almost all conventions that you want to attend.  I make the assumptions in this post that you are

1. An adult

2. Most of the time you act like an adult.

Here are the rules.

1.  Communicate/socialize.  The best reason to attend a convention is NOT for the training it’s for the networking that you will be exposed to.  Remember you are all at the convention for similar reasons everyone has something to talk about so TALK!

2. Never eat/Drink/Hang out alone.  Conventions take place in some really cool places and places you may be tempted to go see the sites.  If so then go with others from the convention don’t go alone.  See rule #1 always be social always have fun.  If you want quiet/vacation time away from it all do it after/before the convention when everyone is gone.

3. Know your limits.  If you can’t stay up till 2 a.m. and still get up for a 6:30 a.m. session the next day then don’t worry about it.  Don’t feel that you have to see/do/be part of everything.  If you stick to rule #1 you are going to do just fine even if you were not at the fountain at 2:00 a.m. when someone fell in.  Also remember in this day in age most things end up on youtube.

4.  Be respectful/helpful.  Again you are all in this together take care of your fellow attendee.  Help them out when they may have forgotten rule #3.

5. Give feedback; Give it to the speakers, sponsors and organizers.  Conventions thrive on the feedback they get from the attendees.  We can’t make good events without that feedback so be suggestive and helpful in your message.  Things like “I really liked that the presenter was energetic and funny in her session”.  Not “This presentation sucked” that doesn’t help anyone get better.

Ok pretty simple 5 little rules.  This is not a long extensive list to remember or memorize it’s just simple common sense and really that’s the best thing you can do at a convention use common sense and be social.

If you would like to read more first timers post here is a good list and a link to the PASS first timers page.

My Post from last year

Midnight Dba’s Blog for PASS First Timers

PASS Community Blogs for 2013 summit

PASS First Timers

Have a Great Convention!

PASS Board of Directors Election

It is once again that time to vote for our PASS Board of Directors(official election page).  Having been a volunteer in this organization now for almost 10 years this is a process I am very interested in.  I have served 2 years on the board and spent some time in most of the various volunteer committees you will find in the PASS organization.

The most important thing for the election is that you get out and vote!  You need to exercise your right to a voice and vote for who you feel is the best candidate.  I’ve listed my endorsement for candidates below this is my opinion on these candidates but comes from years of experience working with them in a volunteer role.  I’ve worked with both of them closely on many different aspects of the PASS organization.

Allen Kinsel (Blog|Twitter|Candidate Page)


I have known Allen since 2004 and we both have been volunteering about the same amount of time with PASS.  He has a proven track record of getting things done in the PASS Organization.  He helped deliver the tools the Program committee now uses to pick sessions and allow for great PASS Summit sessions.  He helped with the Chapter tools we have now as well and forwarded the movement for the chapters as a board member.  He has consistently showed PASSion in the volunteer efforts he has been involved in.  I think his previous time on the Board and previous volunteering gives him excellent depth and experience in this arena.  For me he’s the best overall candidate that knows the organization well and is willing to go the extra mile for the PASS organization and SQL community.

Tim Ford (Blog|Twitter|Candidate Page)

Tim fordTim is truly awesome to me.  He has organization skills, business sense, funny, great photographer and an exceptional volunteer.  He has always helped out the PASS organization in many different roles.  He knows event planning and managing events from the SQL Saturday events he has put on and from founding and running SQL Cruise.  He is passionate about change and about making things better.  Tim is the best newcomer candidate I think. He not only knows the PASS organization well but knows the things that need to get done to keep it going on a path to greatness.


My third candidate/vote is yet to be decided for me.  I will be doing research over the next few days to try and determine my last vote.  I strongly suggest you do the same.  Don’t just take my word for it research the candidates and talk to them and ask them questions find out which ones you feel are the right fit.

The one thing I believe all candidates need when on the Board is a PASSion for helping others.  Volunteering at the level of the board is hard work and takes a lot of time and effort and that PASSion is what keeps you going.

Happy Voting

PASS Summit 2013 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.

This year the official photowalk is planned for Tuesday (10-15-13) morning @ 8:00 a.m.  I know that lots of people have volunteer meetings throughout the day on Tuesday so we are trying to do it early enough that people can get back to the meetings if they need to.

We will start out from the convention center and head towards Marshall Park.  This looks like a great spot for some views of the city and a nice park view.  I’ve created an eventbrite event for this and have included map and all other needed info.  Feel free to go over and register on the Eventbrite site so we know who will be joining us.

Eventbrite event https://passphotowalk2013.eventbrite.com/