Notes on the 2020 PASS Virtual Summit – Part 2

Writing most of this Monday afternoon while on lunch break. I’m attending the Advanced T-SQL Querying and Query Tuning pre-con by Itzik Ben-Gan. You access pre-cons via the Virtual Summit web site or app, but in this case (idk, may all pre-cons) it’s presented via GotoWebinar. Quick notes on the experience:

  • All users muted due to 100+ attendees
  • 75 minute blocks followed by a 15 minute break
  • I’m on the east coast, so for it’s noon to 8 pm and the “lunch” break at 2:45 pm (I ate during the 1:15 pm break and went for a walk during the lunch hour)
  • Attendees can’t see questions or interact with each other. Sometimes the moderator will break in, but more its Itzik checking the question queue as he goes.
  • At one point he tried dragging the question pane on his view over where we could see it, that sort of worked.
  • It’s definitely a little different when he poses a question and usually you’d have people raising their hand or calling out the answer, you just wait and see what he reads back to you
  • It’s the usual goto experience, not much to figure out or deal with
  • Using Paint as the whiteboard, works ok

Content wise, it is of course fine. As is often the case if you’re not a beginner the trick is to not zone out during the stuff you know so you don’t miss the stuff you don’t know. So far I learned three things, not bad. I suspect as it gets closer to 8 pm it’s going to be harder to stay attentive.

I went back to the Summit site and visited all the sponsors. A very varied experience. Quite a few raffle options, one ebook, one that has free training (Red Hat), and of course opportunites to get free trials and demos. I’d encourage all the sponsors to look at what the other sponsors did. Most are vanilla and the pattern tends to encourage that, but it’s a bit of downer to see no sponsor prize or click a link that just takes you to a landing page. Still, I appreciate the sponsors more than ever this year and I’ll do my best to read whatever email they send me (the first couple anyway).

There is a “grab bag” section which is, well, not exciting.

There is a “comic poster” section that has stuff from various vendors. It’s worth a quick look. You can get them as a PDF, but I don’t see an option to order/buy one. Maybe this could be something, not sure, but would be a lot more interesting as a printed poster. Could also be more interesting if this was opened up to attendees (or even non-attendees) to contribute, though I don’t know that I’d want to be the one reviewing them.

There is a section where you can find scheduled live demos from sponsors. I like that, it’s clear that it’s product focused. Looks like they are scheduled for an hour. I tagged one each day, will see how my schedule looks when I get there.

Also, I might be on Twitter a bit this week. Definitely missing the people part of the Summit.

Finally, I tried the information desk and couldn’t get audio to work, probably because I was logged in to gotowebinar, but was able to chat and found out they had 9 visitors and 10 questions so far on Monday, so people are finding it.