As you're probably aware if you subscribe to any SQL Server-related content, this week Seattle was host to the 2006 Professional Association of SQL Server conference. I had a great time at the conference this year, and really got a lot of value out of the experience. Good job, PASS!
While I was there, I did a couple of short talks at the Simple Talk
booth, did a session for the conference on ADO.NET 2.0, and spent most of the rest of the time networking and discussing my favorite topic (SQL Server, of course) with the best minds in the industry. One of the greatest features of this year's conference was the "Microsoft Interaction Lounge," an area at the back of the main hall where various SQL Server team members were stationed at tables, ready to answer questions from attendees. I spent a large amount of time in that area and was able to get some wonderful insights into the product. Unfortunately, I was often the only non-Microsoft attendee in sight, so I think the area was a bit under-utilized. Too bad for other attendees, but great news for me -- and my sincere thanks to those Microsoft employees who were patient enough to let me bend their ears for the hours I spent there!
Alas, the week was marred on either end by air travel, to and from Boston from Seattle. A couple of weeks ago my Alaska Airlines flights (booked three months in advance) were canceled by the airline, and their absolutely deplorable, obviously misnamed, "customer service" department refused to help in any way when I asked them to get me on another set of flights. I managed to book Delta to Seattle, and was shocked to discover upon arriving at the airport that the flight was a code share with... who else but Alaska Airlines! Typical very poor coach flight: zero leg room to begin with, made worse when the person in front of me moved her chair all the way back as soon as we left the ground, and the guy next to me -- probably 150 pounds overweight -- literally spilled over onto my lap.
Coming back I was lucky enough to book the flight with jetBlue
. This was my first time flying that airline, and I knew something was a bit different when I got on and noticed both the lack of first class seating, and was greeted by a jetBlue employee with a big smile instead of the usual "who cares" attitude I get from the airlines. I also knew that I had made the right choice when I noticed that Tony Mann from Rational Press
was on the flight! Leather seats, probably twice the leg room I had on the flight out, and a TV for every seat, translated into a pretty great flight (well, as far as flights go, at least). Plus the snacks were better, and the airline hands out free samples of various products (such as an eye mask and lip balm). Such a better experience than what I'm used to; I will definitely prefer jetBlue going forward.
So all in all, a pretty great week, ending on a better note than on which it began. And I have plenty of blog fodder in mind. So watch this space as I decompress and get back into technical mode!