I drove up on Friday, just under 7 hours with a couple quick stops on the trip. Listened to Team of Rivals audio book and did a few calls, didn’t seem like a long as drive as it was – hopefully will be be that going home as well. Checked in at the Clarion Inn, functional if fancy and then off Wal-mart to pick up a couple things, and then towards downtown to get flyers printed at Office Depot. The flyer has SQLRally on one side, PASS Summit 2010 on the other, and I didn’t the final PDF until Thurs night – too late to get printed in Orlando. I get to Office Depot and find that I only have one side, so I call Kendal Van Dyke to get the other one emailed to the store. Finally got it done – last minute stuff always takes longer than you want it to!
Drove around some, and then headed to dinner at Grecian Gardens. Very good crowd at the dinner, probably 30-35 speakers and volunteers, we got to mix for a while before sitting for dinner – probably would have done more mixing but they didn’t want to serve drinks until we were seated. Dinner was good, conversation was great, and I think we wrapped up there around 9:30 or 10, and then a bunch of moved to the sports bar at the Holiday Inn Express down the street until 11:30 pm or so when it was time – for me at least – to call it a day.
The event was hosted at Midlands Technical College. Good facility, easy enough to find, not more than five minutes from my hotel. Pretty good layout, sponsors set up near the stairs putting them on the traffic flow, more or less. Check-in was smooth, everything calm and organized. Wandered around some to see where everything was at and grab coffee, then off to set up for my DBA 101 presentation. Actually not “my” presentation, this was done by Steve Jones and I was just delivering it. The content and concepts I knew, but it’s hard to deliver content someone else wrote. Maybe would have been easier if I had seen him deliver it – how does he use the embedded images? What kinds of questions are common? I think it went ok, full room of 25-30 attendees, seemed like I struggled to connect with them to get them to ask questions. Maybe it’s the beginner nature of the topic, not sure. Didn’t go horribly, just didn’t feel like a huge win.
As I write this I’m watching Going Spatial by Matthew Campbell. I’ve spent almost no time with the spatial features, so it’s good to sit and listen. Most of what I’ve done over the years has been more about distance and radius and returning rows rather than visualizing the data. Great demo of dropping a map into Reporting Services and then adding a layer. I definitely need to do that once to get comfortable with it. Watching this I realize that because – not surprisingly – because I don’t really know how it works, I don’t tend to consider it for solutions. It’s not a tool in the toolbox I can use easily, so I don’t use it. How many opportunities am I missing? Not sure yet.
I did my presentation on Building a Comprehensive Professional Development Plan to about 20 or attendees. Went well, made a few notes to tweak the blog portion. It’s an element, but maybe too emphasized in my current pitch without supporting examples. Several good chats afterward about portions of it.
Lunch went smoothly, assorted sandwiches and the all important iced tea. I sat outside in the sun for a while and relaxed. The rest of the afternoon flew by, tried to look in on speakers I had not seen present before, chats with Brian and the volunteers about the event details, chats about PASS. The end of the day raffle went well, maybe about 10 prizes total – a good amount, save the best for the end of day but keep it short. Then off to the Carolina Winghouse for the after party. Not a big crowd, maybe 20 or so, and I finally left about 7:30 to go find the bookstore and some coffee and settle in for a quiet evening.
Overall things went very well, calm, well organized. Maybe one more sign needed, but the location wasn’t hard to find. They used the main auditorium for one of the tracks and that bothered some I think, even with a good number of attendees the room feels empty, hard to get that informal feel with a small crowd when you’re up on a stage. Not much that needs to be changed for next year, maybe the biggest thing for me would be to get more sponsors on site. Sponsors add more than just money to the event, it’s good for attendees to get that exposure to products and services.
Left about 7:30 on Sunday morning and was home by about 2:30 after dropping off the rental car. Seemed like a longer ride coming home!