Looking forward, with renewed enthusiasm

With SQL PASS Summit 2009 now over, it’s time to return to the real world. Fortunately I booked a few extra days off; it’s time needed to recover from the cold I picked up in Seattle and gather my thoughts about all of the things I learned and people I met in the past week.

The five days were a flurry of scurrying from room to room, chatting with SQL Bingo players and squares, talking to vendors and meeting as many people as I could.

Some quick learns:

  • Use Alt-Shift in SSMS to select text vertically.
  • Send SQL failsafe alerts to the receptionist, who is most likely always to be at the desk.
  • Hover over a column title in SSMS Activity Monitor to see which DMV is being used.
  • Don’t use ORDER BY unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use sp_executesql instead of EXEC for dynamic SQL.
  • Use an OUTPUT parameter instead of result set wherever possible for minimal columns.
  • Using a function in the WHERE clause will force SQL to do a scan insteadof a seek.
  • Don’t run DBCC FREEPROCCACHE in production!
  • The first use of a temporary object in a stored procedure forces a recompile of all temporary objects.
  • Add indexes to all foreign keys.

There are so many new things that I want to try out when I get back to work this week that I’m torn about what to do first! I do know that I have to start setting aside time for reading blogs. Blogs are usually a source for troubleshooting issues for me, but I need to be more proactive and learn before the problems surface.

Probably the single item of greatest value that I received last week was the revival of my passion for working with SQL Server, a passion that I hadn’t even realized that I’d lost. I can see now how I’ve let my work priorities slip, and will start to address that with the planning for next fiscal year that’s about to kick off.

I was a bit disappointed by how few people approached me wrt SQL Bingo. By Thursday, I was actively seeking people out; if I saw someone with a bingo card in hand, I asked if they had my square filled in yet. I helped two people finish off their blackouts by directing them on where to find other squares. It sounds like Bingo will be tried again next year and I hope to be a part of it, but it really needs more visibility and advertising.

A big shout-out to all those people I met at Summit (by no means a complete list): Wendy Pastrick, Blythe Morrow, Jeremiah Peschka, Jack Corbett, Kendal Van Dyke, Tim Mitchell, Ron Wildt, Tom LaRock, Wes Brown, Jason Strate, Mike Wells, Rushabh Mehta, Merrill Aldrich, Arlene Gray, Jen and Sean McCown, Stuart Ainsworth, Michelle Ufford, Todd McDermid, Tim Ford and Pinal Dave.

It was also a thrill to meet many authors, mostly of SQL Server MVP Deep Dives: Paul Nielsen, Kalen Delaney, Greg Low, Adam Machanic, Paul Randal, Kimberly Tripp, Itzik Ben-Gan, Aaron Bertrand, Louis Davidson, Bill Graziano, Kathi Kellenberger, Kevin Kline, Andy Leonard, Brad McGehee, Gail Shaw, Erland Sommarskog, Scott Stauffer, Joe Webb, Allen White, Grant Fritchey and Joe Celko.

The whole conference was such a blast that, when the URL for 2010 Summit discount pricing was tweeted on Friday, I immediately forwarded it to my boss, asking him to put it on the training list for next fiscal year. Regardless of whether or not my employer pays next time, I still plan to attend. You should too!!

PASS Summit 2009

PASS Summit 2009