Category Archives: teaching

PASS Summit Free Pre-Cons

Are you going to Seattle for the PASS Summit this year?

If you’re going to be in town by Monday/Tuesday and are looking for some free training, you have some options. I love that SQL-server related vendors have really taken up the community spirit and do as much as they can for us for low/no cost. Sure, these have some content specific to the company putting it on, but the audience isn’t beaten over the head about it. When a vendor tool is shown as a solution to a problem, the alternative solutions are typically covered as well.

These are listed in chronological order. If there are any other events not shown here, please let me know.

Red Gate SQL in the City

Monday, Oct. 26 – Hyatt at Olive 8

In this continuation of a successful touring training event, they’re providing 2 tracks of content: SQL Development (code management, CI/CD processes) and SQL DBA work (performance tuning, uptime, DR, etc.). Just as with a PASS SQL Saturday, you can choose whichever sessions you want to attend. They will also be featuring a hands-on lab where you can try their products out.

SQL Solutions Group Summit Free-Con

Tuesday, October 27 – Hyatt Place Seattle/Downtown
Small fee for lunch

This is what happens when a group of MCMs decide they want to spend their time providing 8 hours of training to anyone who wants to sign up. Specifically, it’s Jason Brimhall ( b | t ), Randy Knight ( b | t ), Ben Miller ( b | t ), and Wayne Sheffield ( b | t ).

The session content is listed on their event page (link above) and on the SSG web site. All they ask in exchange is that you pay for your own lunch, which is < $12. You do need to sign up on the event site (the link above) because space is limited. I wouldn't wait too long. This one will likely fill up fast.

Also, I do see great value in the official PASS pre-cons. In fact, I’m personally taking a mix-and-match approach this year (including a PASS pre-con). But if you’re looking for quality content at low/no cost, you can’t go wrong with these options.

Presentation Materials for Test Data Builders (SDSSUG)

I’ll be presenting this information at the San Diego SQL Server User Group on August 20, 2015 for the first time. I’ve attached the slide deck and demo files for your convenience.

Building Your Way to Better Database Testing – Phil Helmer – SDSSUG Aug

You will also have the chance to see this material at SQL Saturday Las Vegas and (hopefully) SQL Saturday San Diego, both of which are coming up pretty quickly in September.

If you’re interested in speaking in San Diego on the 19th, the submission deadline closes Sept 1, 2015. It’s not that far from Vegas if you’re already going to be there for SQL Saturday the week before or at IT/Dev Connections.

T-SQL OUTPUT (San Diego SQL Server User Group)

The slides & files from tonight’s presentation on the T-SQL OUTPUT function are available.


I must say, I do have a particular affinity for language constructs that have come to the rescue on several occasions, and OUTPUT is definitely one of them.

Presentation Preparation

So, the SQL Saturday San Diego speaker dinner just wrapped up. Margaritas prior to a presentation, always a good idea, right?

Good news: the demo code works
Better news: we’re in San Diego
Even Better news: we get to meet old friends and make new ones
Best news: all of this help and learning is nearly free (travel expenses only)

Rather than bore you with rambling details about…. oh, already am. Whoops!!

Here’s the bottom line. If you’re going to present information to an audience in any educational setting, there is one big thing you can do to make life easier for you and more effective for the audience: know what you’re talking about.

No, I don’t mean you should know the name of the presentation. You should know the information so well that you don’t need to read from slides or can’t answer questions. The whole idea is to turn it into a conversation, not a “class”. For a technical topic, you describe a problem, then demonstrate/describe a solution. Simple, right?

The key is to make it so that the audience follows you on a journey where you are the guide. Who cares if you know your stuff? That’s why you get paid to do your day job. Don’t try to impress the audience with what you know. Impress them with what you can do to help them. Who knows, maybe you’ll even inspire them to become guides themselves.

Well, I’m in the lead-off spot tomorrow morning, so it’s time to hit the sack and I’ll see y’all cloudy & early-ish.

SoCal Code Camp 2011 Sessions Added

I have just submitted 2 sessions to the Southern California Code Camp, to be held in San Diego on June 25th & 26th.

Should you be interested in either (or both) topics and will be in the area that weekend, please register on the site and vote for them.

If you’re going to be in the area that weekend, I encourage you to attend as the variety of topics is quite broad. You’ll likely find many topics of interest among the submitted session abstracts.