Wheeling, WV to Dallas, TX? A SQL Saturday 56 Recap

Why would I travel from Wheeling, WV to Dallas, TX to speak at a free SQL Saturday? First, of all SQL Saturday’s in general are bleeping awesome. In a nutshell SQL Saturday is an all day multi-track, multi-session learning opportunity to learn SQL Server.  SQL Saturday #56 was was the first Business Intelligence SQL Saturday in the nation.  Second, I am blessed to have a great mother-in-law and father-in-law in Dallas and I enjoy hanging out with them so this was a huge bonus. Third, I enjoy connecting with people in the SQL Server Community so I can network and talk shop and see how we do things differently.

Facility & Logistics

First of all let me say this Pittsburgh we got gipped. Microsoft’s Campus in Dallas (yes campus not floor) was super cool. When I walk in the main door the first thing I saw was servers. You know I am a geek when I love the fact that servers are the first thing I see when I enter a business building. Anyways back to how the facility worked with the SQL Saturday event. The facility was a great fit for the 200+ attendees. There were several rooms that held 50 or more attendees and a gigantic room for the opening, main events and the end of day raffle. There were also some smaller rooms that brought everyone in closer and made for some good collaborative sessions.


I attended Jen McCowen (twitter) SSRS from Ground Zero session and was very impressed especially when I found out Jen only had one day to prepare. I already know the basics in SSRS so I was really interested in picking up a few tips while I see how an experienced speaker gives an introduction session.  I really liked Jen’s style as she just dove straight into BIDS and went over key concepts you need to know to start using SSRS.  I also got to steal a few minutes after the presentation and see how she records her videos for midnightDBA.  For those out there who are interested in recording demos it looks like she uses Camtasia Studio and from what she showed me it looks like it’s not hard to use. More on camtasia a little later.

Another session I attended focused on evaluating use case personas for a new feature coming up in the next edition of SQL Server.  I really enjoyed this session because it basically was an hour group discussion about how we do things in our shop.   I would love to go into more details but I signed an NDA. 

My Session

I gave a talk on SQL Server 2008 for Developers.  Overall I think the session went well and I was glad to take part as a speaker.  The session was interactive as there were great questions from the audience.  I didn’t do a head count so I would estimate that there were about 30 attendees in the session. 

The host crew did a great job with speaker evaluations.  I even recieved my evaluations a few minutes after my session was complete.  In fact, I had a really helpful evaluation from an attendee who mentioned I should have went over Change Data Capture and MERGE in more detail and skipped the other features.   Being that this was a BI SQL Saturday I agree so I am going to evaluate Camtasia and see if I can record a video over these features and add them to my blog over the next two weeks.


On of my favorite parts of attending SQL Saturday is networking.  I was able to meet a lot of great people.  I apologize in advance as I am sure I am leaving some super cool people off this paragraph.  I meet Ryan Adams and had a great discussion about how he uses visual basic to perform actions on alerts with MOM for SQL Server. I also shared some information about our TFS configuration with Robert Crocker during lunch.  I also meet Thomas LeBlanc, Tim Mitchell, David Stein and had several great conversation in the speakers room and at the after party.

Other Posts

The following is a short list of other bloggers recaps on SQL Saturday 56


In conclusion this was a great event. The North Texas SQL Server User Group did a great job.  I would love to speak at another one of their SQL Saturday’s.  I cannot believe they are going to have three within a twelve month period.

  • Wow, thanks for the shout-out and the recap, John! It was good meeting you…see you next time,

  • Jen, hopefully we will cross paths at PASS in two weeks!

    Once again, thanks for the ad-hoc quick demo of Camtasia.

  • ThSmilingDBA

    SQLSaturday is a great phenom across the SQL Community. It was great to see your excitement about SQL Server and your desire to learn more and give to others. God Bless, Dude.


  • Thomas thank you for your kind comment. It was a pleasure to meet you.