Two Weeks, Two SQL Server Conferences

It sure has been a busy time: in the last couple of weeks I’ve had the pleasure of being able to attend not one but two different SQL Server conferences.

Nordic SQLRally 2011

The first event was the Nordic PASS SQLRally in Sweden last week.  And I have to admit, it was a special experience.  When we arrived at Arlanda Airport, we decided to go to the conference center using a taxi.  There was a lot of choice on drivers and we selected one that looked trustworthy.  Before entering the car, obviously we first asked him the price to Bålsta.  He said it would cost about 500-600 SEK, so we got in the car.  After about one kilometer he pretended to have misunderstood the name of the village (funny how one can misunderstand a written address) and suddenly the price went up to 895!  Long story short: the correct price was 650, but others got ripped off even more, up to 1600 SEK has been paid for a trip of 35-45 minutes!  So, small warning when travelling to Sweden: check in the airport what taxi companies can be trusted.

As we arrived on Monday and left the country on Thursday, we had plenty of time for networking outside of the session hours.  During that time we met some great people.  One of them was Mark Rasmussen.  This dude decided about half a year ago to reverse-engineer the MDF file, in his spare time.  And he succeeded!  But that’s not all, he wrote an assembly that allows you to query the tables in the MDF file without attaching that file on SQL Server!  He also delivered a session in the first slot on the second day.  Thing is, practically no one new this was going to be a level 500 session.  Yes, it was a tough wake-up, and a session worth attending!  If you’re interested in his project, which is open source, it’s called OrcaMDF.

Mark also convinced me to create a Twitter account.  As we all know, the SQL Server community is one of the greatest around, and apparently also on Twitter.  Who am I to ignore advice from such a smart guy, so I am now occasionally tweeting on @ValentinoV42.

One of the other things that I learned was that, in SSMS, you can drag the Columns node into your script to generate a list of fields, very useful when creating source queries for your ETLs!  Thanks Aaron, you’ll have to find another hidden feature now to fulfill the “I want you to learn at least one thing from this session’” rule. Smile

Drag Columns node to generate field list

Belgian SQL Server Days 2011

imageThe second event, our own SQL Server Days earlier this week, was also a bit special.  I’m part of the organizing committee and this year it was the first time that the conference took two days.  And that’s not all, but we had a record on international speakers as well, nine in total!

To keep the speakers busy, we treated them on a visit to the Duvel brewery on the first night.  And if that wasn’t enough, the Speaker’s Dinner on the second night was certainly worth repeating as well!

I’m happy to say that everything went as planned, everyone was happy and isn’t that how it should be?

My main task in the SQLUG is speaker communication.  Besides that, an additional task this year was to play taxi driver for a day.  To avoid speakers getting ripped off when travelling from their hotel to the conference center (what, you mean taxi drivers aren’t honest all the time?), we decided to take care of their transportation ourselves.  I have to say, I enjoyed it!  And it gave me an opportunity to give the car a good cleaning. Smile

To Conclude

Ordina Jobsite

Thank you Ordina for letting me spend my time at such great events, thereby allowing me to stay up-to-date and well-connected!  Want to become my colleague?  Check out our jobs through the link above!

Have fun!

Valentino.

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