Well, this has been a great "conference season" but I'm also glad that it's over for a bit. In the past 4 weeks, Paul and I have been to Vienna (check out Paul's post here), Barcelona (for TechED EMEA ITPro), Las Vegas (for SQL Connections) and finally to Seattle (for PASS). We live in Redmond – about 15 miles from Seattle – so, this was a nice and rare "conference at home" but I have to admit that a conference "at home" is even a bit harder than one on the road. See, when we're on the road, we're only moments away from the conference (and often even in the hotel of the conference) and we don't have any of our regular "home obligations"… And, so, a conference "at home" is actually even harder to coordinate. And, wow, we almost got bitten by the Seattle traffic with it taking an hour to get into Seattle the day we did our PASS pre-conference workshop. However, we *did* start on time (ah, it was close though :).

And, so, after 4 weeks on the road, we're *finally* starting to post all of our demo scripts and continue to respond to all of the great emails we've received from folks (and, we have received quite a few!). Here's a quick rundown of what we did over these 4 weeks:

  • We delivered the equivalent of 7 days of lecture at a customer (we did 3 days together and then 2 days separated (with different teams))
  • We delivered 5 sessions and 4 ILLs at TechED EMEA
  • We delivered 2 full day workshops and 4 sessions at SQL Connections
  • We delivered a full day workshop and 2 sessions at PASS
  • I also joined in on the Women In Technology panel at PASS and it was *great* fun – we had a great discussion around advancing your career, how to start your own business (and network!) and just in general, how to strive to have a better work/life balance (and, as many admit – this is NOT super easy regardless of whether you're a woman or a man!!)

And, now we're tired… Actually, it's amazing how much energy I seem to have when I'm presenting but when all of these events are over, wow can I sleep! In fact, this weekend I've been a bit in a haze just starting to adjust back to regular-non-conference life… and, it's included a lot of Blokus with the kids and some Wii time.

So… check out our "Past Events" page as we've posted all of our demo scripts there. And, if for some reason I missed a script that you remember but can't find… let me know. I'll either add it to the zip (and let you know) and/or respond with a blog post on it. There are definitely some really good scripts and some interesting demos in terms of internals, indexing for performance, optimizing procedural code, etc. and so I'm happy to find that script and send it to you if for some reason you can't find it (and/or I forgot – which is always possible?! :)).

Finally, DVDs… over these past few weeks there have been a lot of DVDs flying around. For some events, we handed out DVDs. And, for some events – we just found out – Microsoft handed out DVDs (specifically the SQL Server 2008 Resource Kit – a 3-DVD pack). So, I thought I'd write a bit here to clear up the madness because one of the Resource kit DVDs is actually the same as one of ours – but, with all of the files renamed (and, for virtually no reason). There is one *tiny* difference – which I'll explain – but, I thought I'd clear everything up so that we're all on the same page, per se.

The DVD we handed out: SQL Server 2008 Hands-On Lab DVD, August 2008
This is a packed DVD that includes a self-extracting executable to create a virtual PC environment. There's a "Readme1st.txt" file which gives you a bit of insight into the requirements (16GB of disk space for the virtual PC hard drive (.vhd) and 1.5GB of memory – by default – for the virtual PC). The DVD also includes all of the labs manuals in .doc form. This DVD was created in August (make sure it says "August 2008" on the right hand side) and there are some specific setup/installation steps that you need to do to get everything "up to date". Check out my blog post on these instructions here: http://www.sqlskills.com/blogs/kimberly/post/SQL2008HOLsVPC-setup-instructions-and-a-note-for-the-August-2008-release.aspx. This VPC expires on December 31, 2009.

The SQL Server 2008 Resource Kit – DVD #2
This is a 3-DVD set. I haven't reviewed all of the DVDs but a few folks were asking about the 2nd DVD so I grabbed a copy to check it out. It turns out that the second DVD is the same as the August 2008 DVD – with one exception. After I burned about 1000 of our August DVDs, I found out about the password expiration (which is explained/fixed in the setup instructions in the link here/above) and rebuilt a new image for the SQL team. However, instead of using that image – they renamed it and rebuilt it again (not sure why – other than to rename it). Anyway, on DVD2 of the SQL Server Resource Kit you can run the exe in the root and it will bring up a nice interface (ok, this is nicer than ours but – it's also a bit confusing). The interface is confusing because it says that you need to "DOWNLOAD" the virtual PC (and, a few folks asked me about how long it would take to download – because it's 4GB+). Anyway, there's NOTHING to download (luckily!!), it's actually on the DVD in the DVD:\AlwaysOn subdirectory. See, this is the frustrating part… about 3 years ago I created a DVD that was called "the AlwaysOn DVD". Unfortunately, (since then) all of my HOLs DVDs seem to be named this – even though they're definitely NOT all AlwaysOn Technology related. And, I had renamed it (on my version)… and, well, they renamed it back on the resource kit. LOL. In the end, it really doesn't matter. I'm just *VERY* happy to see that this content is freely available (yeah!) and that it's included in the Resource Kit. Finally, if it turns out that you can actually order this… I'll let you know. I've got an email off to a few folks to see if it's possible.

And, there was still some interest in SQL Server 2005 Hands-On Labs (yes, the SQL Server 2005 Always On Technologies DVD and the SQL Server 2005 Manageability DVD - which were combined into one for SQL Server 2008) and well… since I was home… I grabbed some of these *EXPIRED* DVDs (DVDs that were earmarked for the bin). And, I just want to make sure (if you requested one) that people know there's a trick to using "expired" DVDs… Before the DVD expires – you need to disable the Virtual PC clock synchronization (so that the VPC does NOT pick up your computer's local time). As a result, you can set the date inside the virtual PC back even further. This is something that I've read about on other blogger's blogs. So, do a "windows live search" :) :) and check out how to disable the virtual PC clock synchronization.

What's going on right now?
Paul and I have a few more weeks of craziness. We're still completing our writing for the new SQL Server 2008 Internals book by Kalen Delaney (available for pre-order here) - she's doing the lion's share of the work (I don't know how she does it!!) and we're each writing a chapter (Paul on DBCC, Conor Cunningham on the QP, Adam Mechanic on XEvents/Profiling and me on Indexing – not a surprise for me/Paul, eh?). We're also editing/working on a new title called the SQL Server MVP Project – with Paul Nielsen. PaulN really had the initial idea and drive for this project and there are a few editors (PaulN, Kalen, Adam, Greg Low, Paul [Randal], and myself) bringing everything together from dozens of Microsoft SQL Server MPVs. For this project, many MVPs have submitted a topic or two and in it they are describing a tip/trick and/or best practice – so this title will be all about tips and tricks from the trenches AND the title will completely go to benefit a children's charity (Steve Balmer had challenged MVPs to "give more" at the MVP Global Summit 2008). And, next week, I'm heading off to Dublin for a week (and, I'm speaking at their local SQL Server user group – again – as we were just there in Sept!) and then after that, it's time to relax for the holidays…………… yippie! Next year we'll being heading west a lot more (India, Thailand, Australia…). We'll keep you posted for sure!!

I hope everyone's had fun at these conferences and may all your queries/procedures be optimized!

Thanks for reading,
kt