Notes from the February 2011 MagicPASS Meeting

I attended the second meeting of MagicPASS (no web site yet) on Feb 16 at Stetson University in Celebration, FL. Great facility – classroom style seating, dual projectors and screens, couldn’t ask for better. The only downside to it so far is that it’s $200 per meeting for the space, quite a chunk of overhead to add to a chapter. Parking is limited but good enough for a chapter meeting. I’d love to see a SQLSaturday held there, serve the south side of Orlando one year, but parking would definitely be a problem.

We started the meeting early at 5 pm with an informal class/presentation by me on using SQL Profiler. We borrowed the idea from the Dallas group, and I’ll be doing two more of these at the March and April meetings respectively. I think we had at least 10 show up for the early session, and I think ended up with about 22 for the main meeting.

Kendal Van Dyke (President!) did a nice meeting kick off, lead into a good discussion of SQLRally. We asked who had not heard about it (some), and who wasn’t interested in attending. The latter was a good question, we had one attendee whose primary focus isn’t SQL, but the remainder of the ‘not interested’ were more on the order of challenges – couldn’t afford it, couldn’t take time off from work, etc. One person was more interested in the depth that the pre-con seminars interested rather than the 2 day event, which is good, and by design! It was nice to slow down and talk about it, though I worried we were taking time away from the main agenda. Seemed to work out ok. The lesson here is that it’s not enough to just say ‘SQLRally’, turn it into a conversation. Contrast it with SQLSaturday and the PASS Summit. Talk about conference style learning versus all day learning on a single topic.

Kendal also had a nice networking segment, people drew names out of a box to find someone to chat with while we took a break for pizza. Then a nice plug for the meeting sponsors, and on to the feature presentation by Bradley Ball. He did a nice presentation on compression, did a good job of explaining compression results without getting mired in the details, yet managed to show a good bit of detail – if that makes sense! We chatted afterward about trying to figure out what should or shouldn’t be included, a standard question for all presenters.

A few of us migrated to the Celebration Tavern for some post meeting chat. Not right next door, but maybe a 4-5 minute walk, with the parking lot in between meeting and bar so it’s fairly convenient. A good meeting, good location, good people to network with – couldn’t ask for more!

Note: Splitting the original oPASS group into two groups was (and is) a risk, but so far the results seem encouraging. Travel time is definitely a consideration for most attendees.