Tag Archives: Professional Development

Recap: #24hop (24hrs of PASS) – Day One

I am very happy that the committee behind #24HOP made two decisions.  One they decided to split the 24 hours into two days.  This is huge for people in the USA as we don’t have to pull all nighters.  Second, I am very glad day one fell on a Wednesday.  Why would I be exited it falls on a Wednesday?  I am excited because it is no pants Wednesday.  No pants Wednesday  means I don’t work on Wednesday’s so its very easy to attend sessions.

Day Two

If you didn’t catch it in the first paragraph there is a day two.  That’s right peeps you can still signup and attend some great sessions.  If you need some help picking a session or two I wish I could attend the ones listed below.

The following is a short review of the sessions I attended on September 15th 2010.

Gather SQL Server Performance Data with PowerShell

Allen White (Blog | @SQLRunr) showed a very slick way to automate the process of collecting WMI counters and save them in a database.  This alone was very slick but to add the icing on the cake he also showed the crowd how to build reports that work inside of SSMS.

My eyes were opened up wide when I saw how easy it was to do WMI and SQL calls with PowerShell.  I will defiantly check out http://powershell.com in the near future to get my learn on.

It looks like Allen has a great PreCon session for the SQL PASS Member Summit 2010 lined up that will get you well on your way with automating your DBA tasks.

Hardware 201: Selecting and Sizing Database Hardware for OLTP Performance

Glen Berry (Blog | @GlenAllenBerry) ran through tons of statistics behind selecting CPU’s, Memory and Disk’s for your new database servers.  I have to be honest quite a bit of this was over my head but below are a few items that stuck.

  • Optimize your hardware purchases to take advantage of your SQL and Windows Server editions
  • Don’t go cheap on CPU’s. You rarely upgrade the CPU unlike RAM or disks.
  • Xeon X5680 and Xeon X7560 were recommended CPU’s
  • SSD (solid state drives) are good for random writes (user data files) not sequential writes (log files)
  • 10K drives = 100 IOPS
  • 15K drives = 150 IOPS
  • Make sure High Performance is enable in power settings on your servers

Identifying Costly Queries

Grant Fritchey (Blog | @GFritchey) showed us several different tools you can leverage to identify costly queries.  He showed us how to setup SQL Profiler using stored procedures to lessen the load on your production boxes.  Grant also showed me a new tool I haven’t used before. This was the SQL RML Utility tool that can be helpful show how long a query really took.  Grant also showed us server DMV’s that can be used to get real-time understanding costly queries.

For some samples and resources used in the demo check out his resources blog page.

How to Rock Your Presentations

Douglas McDowell (Web | @douglasmcdowell) delivered the most important session for me.  This year I started to focus more on giving back to the community through technical presentations.  I am always looking for some tips that will improve my presentations.  The following were a few tips I plan to implement on my current presentation schedule.

  • Treat presentations like a development project
  • Storyboard each topic
  • Build an outline
  • Make sure to add RM, WIIFM and KWUC to all presentations.

You can find more in his PowerPoint presentation at http://downloads.solidq.com/DMcDowell/RockPASS_DMcDowell.zip


This was another great day of #24HOP.  The best part is it continues today.  The sad part is I will miss out on the sessions.  If you catch them and have good notes.  Please add them as a comment or blog them so the unlucky ones can check out the info.

Upcoming Speaking Engagements

With football season starting I thought I would share some travel dates.  If you are at any of the following events please don’t be shy and say hi.  I look forward to hitting the road and making some new friends as I continue to connect, share and learn.

Sept 18th : Reston, VA
Microsoft Regional Leadership Summit (Non speaking)

Oct 16th : Pittsburgh, PA
Pgh.NET Code Camp 2010.2 (SQL Server 2008 for Developers)

Oct 23rd : Dallas, TX
SQL Saturday #56 BI Edition (Submitted: SQL Server 2008 for Developers)

Nov 8th – 12th : Seattle, WA
SQL Server PASS Member Summit (Submitted Chalk Talk – SQL Server 2008 for Developers)

Nov 19th : Pipestown, WV
AITP Region 18 Fall Conference

Jan 29th : Houston, TX
SQL Saturday #57  (Submitted  SQL Server 2008 for Developers)

24 Hours of FREE SQL Server Training

On May 19th there will be 24 live back-to-back presentations including ones highlighting new features provided in SQL Server 2008 R2 and more.  I attended parts of the 24 hours of PASS last year and was blown away by the content.  If you work with SQL Server I highly recommend you attend.   You can register online now at http://www.sqlpass.org/24hours/2010/

The following speakers are lined up for this great event.  Adam Machanic, Andy Leonard, Brad McGehee, Brent Ozar, Brian Knight, Chuck Heinzelman, Dean Richards, Don Kiely, Don Vilen, Donald Farmer, Glenn Berry, Greg Low, Jacob Sebastian, Jessica Moss, Kevin Cox, Kevin Kline, Louis Davidson, Maciej Pilecki, Peter Myers, Peter Ward, Rushabh Mehta, Sean McCown, Simon Sabin, Thomas Grosher

Watching Paint Dry
Watching Paint Dry

“But John I have to do xyz watch the paint dry on May 19th and the 20th.”

That’s fine, it looks like these sessions will be recored and made available through PASS within two months.  If you access the event this way you can watch 24hrs of PASS and the paint at the same time 🙂

A good friend of mine Thomas LaRock(blog | twitter) is organizing this bad boy.  For more information check out his post or the 24 hrs of PASS site.  I know it will be a big hit!

Book Review: “Confessions of a Public Speaker”

This year I made a goal to read six new books and to share my experience with everyone via book reviews.  This is the first review of the year and I am excited to give feedback on a book I really enjoyed.  Normally self help books put me to sleep but this was an exception as it was informative and entertaining to read.  If you plan to do public speaking in the near future I highly recommend this book.

My motivation for reading “Confessions of a Public Speaker” by Scott Berkun is simple.  I find myself doing more presentations and I want to improve my craft.  This year I will be speaking at PGH.NET Code Camp in April and also at SQL Saturday #36 in Wheeling, WV. Public speaking is not easy for me.  I completely agree with Adam Machanic’s blog post.  It takes a lot of practice and some reading to see how others succeed. Therefore, I want to take any advantage I can to make my presentations better.   The lessons I learned in the first chapter alone made this book worth the $17 on Amazon.

The following are some very important lessons learned.  Most people at your presentation hope you do well but also hope your presentation ends soon.  It’s funny, after I read this I started laughing because it’s so true. I also learned to know your material but know you shouldn’t be perfect.  Normally, I try to be a perfectionist so this is something I had to know.  I cannot go back in time and correct my mistakes. Ummm… maybe I can I will have to add this to my todo list.   Finally, I learned it’s the mistakes you make before you present that matter the most.  I will dive into this with my confession below.

Being that the title of the book is “Confessions of a Public Speaker” it’s only fair to include a confession of my own.  With experience I learned that I must take control of what I can control.    Three years ago I did my first presentation at the Pittsburgh Code Camp and did a presentation on extending the Reporting Service API’s.  While no one booed or threw fruit at me the presentation was a hot mess.  I was modifying slides in the speakers room, I didn’t do a practice run of the demos, heck I didn’t go through the audience’s point of view when I built the presentation.  If I would have taken care of what I could control (my presentation) this could have been a killer presentation.  Regardless, it was a great learning opportunity which made my future presentations much better.

If you want to improve your public speaking I highly recommend Confessions of a Public Speaker. This book will stay on my bookshelf within an arms reach for quite some time.

December events to attend in Wheeling, WV

Hello everyone,  I want to share some cool events going down in Wheeling, WV in December. 

If you like wine or technology I highly recommend catching the Greater Wheeling Chapter of the Association for Information Technology Professionals meeting on December 9th.  This meeting is open to the public. We will meet on the forth floor of Wheeling Central High School at 6pm.  All attendees will have the change to share their 2009 accomplishments while we chow down a pizza dinner.  Dinner will be followed by a wine tasting at the Good Mansion Wines store. Check out the event page to signup for the 2009 December meeting.

Are you a young superstar go getter? If so, OVConnect is the group for you.  The mission is to bring young professionals in the valley together.  This months installment includes a holiday toy drive with a happy hour twist.  On December 17th at 5:00pm we will socialize and get our drink on at River City.  In order to attend all you have to do is signup and bring a toy or make a ten dollar donationAll donations benefit Catholic Charities.

Bonus Pittsburgh Technology Event

Are you a .NET programmer and interested in what’s going on with MVC?  If so, this months installment of the PGH.NET User Group is a must attend free event.  The PGH.NET meeting is on December 8th. You can find more info here or register here.

AITP Region 18 Conference

This past weekend I attended the AITP Region 18 Conference in Columbus, OH. This was a great opportunity for me to meet and network with several Information Technology Professionals.  If you have never attended a AITP meeting I highly recommend that you do.

The following was our agenda and a brief afterthought of the topics:

  • Ice Breaker – Got to trade name tags and learn a few facts from a new friend.
  • Leadership – Caught up on the leadership changes within AITP on the national level.
  • VMWare – Learned how VMWare is moving into the cloud.  I was very impressed with the ability to move in and out of the VMWare cloud.
  • Cloud Computing – This really makes it easy to do a SaaS startup.  I am looking forward to trying azure out.

Following the technical sessions we had a great dinner and networking session at the Buckeye Hall of Fame.  Unfortunately, it looked like my presence cursed Ohio State.