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Louis Davidson

PASS 2016 Resolutions Followup

Wow, it's been over a year now since I made my second round of foolish promises and plans. Now I take a quick pass at saying how I did at these promises before the major annual gathering of SQL Server loving needs called the PASS Summit.

Like all resolutions, you win some, you lose some. But I have stayed busy, so busy that I didn't finish this until the night before the Summit starts, at midnight Pacific Time (which is 3 hours off of normal time!)

1. Keep involved locally.

I was definitely able to stay involved locally (even after moving), attending most of the Chattanooga User Group meetings (speaking at the last one of the year), and speaking at the Chattanooga SQL Saturday. Larry has a great group, with some great leadership in place. I don’t plan any change to my Chattanooga involvement, unless needed. I do plan on trying to expand into a new group, possibly in Cleveland TN or south of Knoxville (I am about an hour south of that area), depending on if I find others interested who could not ever make it to Chattanooga. A lot depends on whatever happens that is unknown to me now, and if I can find anyone else in the areas north by northeast of Chattanooga that want to start something up.

2. Write more.

Well, based on the title, I was definitely able to meet that one. Most of my free time has been consumed with writing projects… just mostly not my blog, and certainly not the DMV book update I was hoping to.

I finished my database design book, and wrote half of an exam ref book for the 70-762 exam for Microsoft (Stacia Varga wrote the other half). Since those projects ended, I have written 5 or 6 articles about SQL Prompt for Red Gate (and am really big fan of the tool, more-so after digging deep into its features) and have been tech editing a couple of books. I have blogging plans to make for next year, but more on that after PASS Summit is over.

3. Continue to speak, but do so "economically."

I have spoken quite a few times this year, at several SQL Saturday events, as usual, but at more local user groups than in the past. Nashville, Richmond, and Birmingham, not to mention Chattanooga (SQL and the .Net group also). Early next year I will be speaking at Hampton Roads.

A few new experiences this year, Scenic City Summit in Chattanooga was a great experience. And tomorrow (It was next week when I made my first draft!), I will be one of the speakers at Jason Brimhall and Wayne Sheffield’s Freecon.

I did not put in an abstract at the Summit this year, as I was involved with the program committee in a way that was different from last year that I just didn’t want to make it look conspicuous in any way. I still have memory of working on the group and getting selected while a few friends of mine at dinner one night did not. At least one of those people were better speakers than I will ever be (though I don't feel inadequate, just not "great", which I felt this other person was. I didn't like that feeling, even though I had little to do with the choice in question.

However, I did end up getting a speaking slot at the Summit when a number of people dropped out and they needed a replacement (and they knew I was already there on their nickel :)). I can't wait to see how this experience affects my feelings on speaking at the Summit/other larger events. They promised me the smallest room, and I have loosened up my speaking style in the past few years by doing more simple, straightforward, demo oriented sessions.

4. Start recording of my old presentations and put on (possibly) YouTube.

Nope. Still haven’t done this. However, I do have some plans this year for some video training. Either on my own, or something similar. More on that when I make next year’s ridiculous plans, we, resolutions.

5. Upgrade my website to advertises my talents better.

My site was upgraded this year, since my Office 365 site was about to be yanked from me. But it still needs a lot of work (which I will probably make a lot of crazy promises about in a few weeks!). Really the best part of the new site is that my downloads are all in Dropbox, which is really easy to maintain and get slides up right after I finish a conference.

6. Learn something new.

When I first heard about the new Graph feature in SQL Server .Next (now 2017), I was keen to eat it up and be one of the people who knew it best. But once I saw it, it is a bit underwhelming as a current feature so I didn't get into it until recently, but the future is going to be big, I believe and have started some design work to use graph objects soon.

I am doing my presentation at the Freecon on hierarchies, and I will focus about 1/3 of my time on graphs, and using relational tables and the graph feature to implement a graph. But while some aspects of the feature are awesome, it is not currently a tremendous improvement over existing ways to implement a graph or tree, except in some use cases.

7. Continue to stay involved with the PASS Program Committee reviewing and commenting on abstracts for people before they submit them.

As PASS often does, things changed this year. Rather than enhancing the way we worked on abstracts to comment and edit them for people, that whole process was axed. I did stay active with the committee (link here), and there will be two sessions at the summit from 12-1 in the Community Zone where we will talk with people about abstracts and pretty much anything that is desired about the process.

8. Get more fit. 

Of all of my resolutions, this is the one that has seen the most movement. Though I have not lost much weight this year, I am a lot more fit, thanks to the move to Cleveland TN. Two big reasons, first, there is only one restaurant on OpenTable within a 30 mile radius of my house, and it is too expensive except for special occasions. There is also no great soul food places or hot chicken joints around either.

The second is the YMCA that is only 4 miles from my new house. ~1 hr every day has really kicked my fitness up a notch. I am constantly tired and hurting from my workouts, but at least I will probably be around a few extra years (or at least it will feel like it!)

I will use a cane most of the time at the Summit, due to some ongoing knee issues and weakness in the hip that kept me from PASS Summit 2 years ago. 3-5 miles of walking and I start looking like a Weeble Wobble but I can indeed fall down.

9. Keep stretching my comfort zone.

The kilt will be making the trip to Seattle again, as will my new Halloween Costume… I have been thinking about this one all year, and while my family will find it humorous for the shock value of seeing me wearing a squirrel mask, I had hoped that my SQL friends would find it even more humorous. Alas, the mask didn't make the trip, but the rest did and will be worn. I believe this will be my first costume I have worn (at least the first that is photographed) since I was a little guy shaking down my neighbors for lunch candy 40 years ago.

10. Start working on following through on my secret resolution from last year.

My secret resolution is still just an idea, and perhaps it is an idea someone else may beat me to if I share it. The idea is to start a new conference (series?) of just advanced and even expert level sessions (SQL at least, but other disciplines too). I like, nay, love, SQL Saturday events, the PASS Summit, and all the many conferences there are, but often times I don’t learn more than a nugget or two about the stuff I am interested in, and sometimes that is from writing my session, or jawing around in the speaker room.

I don’t know if I would present or not, but starting a session expecting that everyone already knew the basic - intermediate material would be a lot of fun.

11. If I am not having fun, disregard any of the previous items except #8 (because that one is truly important).

There’s an old saying that no one ever says on their death bed “I wish I worked more.” That is baloney. For a few reasons:

  1. You might not be on your death bed if you had worked instead of sleeping in everyday and had money to afford proper food, shelter, etc.
  2. Work is fun, especially when it benefits others.
  3. We have no idea what everyone in the world has said. That is statistically impossible!

The thing no one has ever likely said is “I wish I had worked so much that I didn’t do anything other than work”. Sometimes all of the speaking and writing and being away from family is tiring as can be. But I still love it, at least after preparing for it, and still look forward to sitting in this chair typing away, or sleeping the sleep of the tired in a hotel bed between conference days; at least most of the time. Sometimes it is a drag, I won’t lie. But 90% of the time, I still enjoy working on the latest feature in SQL Server, and the other 10% is still valuable to keep me employable if my 20 yrs at CBN doesn’t become at least 37 (Full retirement age :).


Well, that's it…So many ideas swirling around my head for projects that I have always wanted to do (for example modeling and implementing a database for conference registrations and speaker management…) but I have another project I plan to do next year that I will spill the beans on in PASS year's resolutions, unless I get inspired (or offered) something better to do!

Published Tuesday, October 31, 2017 12:13 AM by drsql
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