Notes From SQLSaturday Houston 2018

Various and possibly amazing notes:

  • Because I waited too long the best flight I could get was into George Bush instead of Hobby, which meant driving around (literally, on the beltway) Houston and it left at a not-so-fun 7 am on Friday.
  • I got a car from Dollar. Got the cheapest one they had, wasn’t going to do all that much driving, but the agent explained the economy car was about the size of a smartcar. I asked what model I would get, couldn’t tell me that. Decided that I would take my chances, turned out to be an entirely decent four door. Also they tried to sell me on their $12 a day toll pass because Houston has road where you have to have it (no cash or credit card). Turns out they also do toll by plate and you just pay the tolls at some point. I don’t mind a mild attempt at upsell, but this felt way over the line.
  • The upside was arriving in time to meet up the with event team at the site and then go to lunch with them. Lunch was Chuy’s, which was good, but there is one 10 mins from my house! They promised bbq for lunch the next day (and they bought me lunch, so I can’t complain too much more)
  • Great facility. Everything on one floor, lots of tables and chairs for lunch, room for sponsors, free parking. Couldn’t ask for better! Rooms and AV were top notch too.
  • Stayed at a Fairfield Inn and was first hotel I have stayed at where you could login to your Netflix account and it would log you out when you left. Watched Ragnarok while I caught up on other stuff.
  • Speaker dinner was decent. Second floor meeting room, temp was about 80 in the room when I arrived, cooled off about 45 minutes later. Food was ok, buffet style fajitas, seating was kind of tight, not really a room for moving around to see other people. One thing I liked was the explicit “+1” on the invitation, I don’t think we have made it that clear in Orlando.
  • Breakfast was Shipleys Donuts (local = good, we need to look at that in Orlando), plus fresh fruit and quite a few gallons of orange juice. We’ve been kind of minimalist in Orlando on breakfast and I don’t think its a must have to do more, but it was nice to see and I saw a lot of people enjoying it. Coffee was delayed due to a power issue, luckily I brought my own. (My suggestion: Cambro.)
  • My first session on devops went pretty well, some good questions.
  • Second session was the one on learning patterns and while it went ok, really it was doing it again that helped me figure out what I should be doing, so that session gets a rewrite before it gets delivered again.
  • Lunch was bbq. Allen was stressed because it was going to be one line instead of two, but I think it worked out ok, barely. Food was very good and they had iced tea too!
  • Sponsor sessions at/after lunch seemed to go well and they did a nice plug for them while people were eating in the main area.
  • Speaker gift was a towel. Useful if not glamorous. No speaker shirts, though Allen said they may offer them next year (and I have no issue with that either way)
  • In the afternoon they had tons of snacks – cookies, chips, cheezits, and more. No healthy food though!
  • Lots of sponsors there. Spent some time with Redgate, Dell, SQLGrease, CozyRoc, Quest and tried to say hello to the rest, though I realized mid afternoon that I had missed going back to see Idera. Next time! Kudos to Joe for building and maintaining all those sponsor relationships.
  • The end of day raffle went pretty well, almost everyone that won was present. They had a microphone, but the sound was inconsistent. Maybe need better microphone or practice, or both.
  • Nice after party at Main Event. Bar food/buffet, but good enough after a long day.
  • I called it a day about 9 pm (so I could finish Ragnarok of course)
  • My flight home was 5:30 pm on Sun, so I went to Space Center Houston for half a day. Walking through the 747 that carried a Space Shuttle was probably the best part, though it was great to see the original shuttlecraft from Star Trek too.
  • Flight home was on time, then delayed an hour just as they closed the cabin door, then five minutes later undelayed. Strange, but better than waiting an hour.

Overall nothing to complain about and much to admire, brought back a few ideas that we might use in Orlando. Thanks Team Houston!