This is the first in series of blog posts about getting ready for the PASS Summit 2011. Why am I doing this? I am preparing for my webcast on Sep 20 @ 1pm ET (Details to come) about this subject. I thought that I'd get this information out in a blog format as well.
Even before the Conference Begins, there are some great training opportunities. Check out the great pre-cons happening Mon/Tue here. Pre-cons are $395 each except for the 2 hour Don Gabor Networking Session (3-5pm) which is $70.This is a great way to learn how to hone your networking skills! I also want to point out a special pre-con with Dr DeWitt on Tuesday. Dr. DeWitt is well known by our attendees as a favorite keynote speaker. He is presenting an entire day on a Peek Inside a Database Engine along with a group of his colleagues. My head is already starting to hurt.
On Tuesday evening, a special "First Timers" session will start at 5:30 right before the Welcome Reception. There will be some snacks and beverages there as well as the Quiz Bowl game (prizes!). The reception will be in the Washington State Trade and Convention Center (WSTC) on the 6th floor. This is also where the Keynotes will be held. The reception is set to start at 6:30pm and go until 8pm. There will also be some tables set up where you can learn more about Virtual Chapters and become more invloved.
Start your day off right with a Keynote each morning. The session will begin promptly at 8:15am each morning and last until 10am. These keynotes will full of announcements, demos, and deep thinking (especially Friday!). Learn about the direction that MSFT is taking with SQL Server and how your life will become easier. Don't miss these!
Perhaps the toughest choice that you will have to make is which session to attend. There are up to 15 concurrent sessions and 4 time slots / day. (More about Session in a later blog post) Content is what brings people initially to the summit. The experience and networking is what brings you back.
Another great feature at the summit is the Expo Hall. This is a great place to meet the people who make your favorite tools or provide services focused on SQL Server. They have offerings that will make your life easier. And they are fun to talk to as well! The Expo Hall will be open on Wednesday and Thursday only with a Wednesday Evening Reception in the hall from 6:15 - 8:15pm. Again there will be food and beverages available. If you are bringing a significant other, there is also a guest pass that may be purchased for the evening events. Many Vendors participate in the popular PASSPort to Prizes or have their own give-away program. SWAG can consist of pens, squishy balls, t-shirts, etc as well as the occassional really cool thing that nobody thought of before. This is the BEST time to talk with the vendors because it doesn't overlap with any sessinos or other activities at the summit. Take advantage of this time to look around and learn about an offering that just may make your day easier.
The Weather in Seattle can be very unpredictable. Last year in November, we had some sunny (and almost hot) days. The Average Hi temp is 60 F. October only averages 3 inches of rain for the month. My advice is to dress comfortably. If you are comfortable in jeans and a t-shirt, great! If you feel more comfortable in a suit/tie or a dress, that is fine too. You can even wear a kilt! (more on that later) I suggest that you dress in layers so that you can adjust accordingly as sometimes the heating/air conditioning can be tricky in these flexible spaces.
WiFi will be availble throughout the summit areas. Remember that about 3000 of your best SQL friends will also be jumping on the connection as well (some with multiple devices!). I have generally had good luck with the connection over the years, but there are times when the network may be overused. Power Outlets are available, but often hard to find. Remember that many of the session rooms have at least one air wall which means no outlets on that wall (difficult to put an outlet in a wall that isn't always there). Bring along a small power strip and make friends fast!
Be sure to check out the Summit webpages located here.
Register for the event here!