Wednesday, November 9, 2011

My PASS 2011 Experience - In a word, "WOW!" - Part 1

Part 1 - Introduction

I attended TechEd 2009 in Los Angeles, CA. I thought LA was a good venue, but there were many sessions that there just wasn't any content for a SQL DBA.  However, there is no shortage of things to do in LA, so I was able to take advantage of some of the local sites/attractions (I also made good use of the labs and vendor hall).

In 2010, I attended TechEd in New Orleans.  Not a lot to do in New Orleans other than hit Burbon Street (I don't drink, so aside from listening to some live Jazz artists, it wasn't my cup of tea), but the SQL content overall was much better.  There were several session times that I had multiple sessions to choose from, but most time slots I had only one session that really appealed to me.

Just before TechEd 2010 in New Orleans, I found out about the PASS Summit and I convinced management to send me to PASS Summit 2011.  Wow!  Just ... WOW!  Every single session time slot was jam packed full of delicious sessions.  Most session times I was doing good to narrow it down to only 3 or 4 sessions that I was interested in.

Overall my PASS experience blew me away and I can't wait to go again next year.

The week before PASS I signed up for a Twitter account (@SlocumMatt).  I thought it might help me while @ PASS.  It totally did and I highly recommend to anyone going to PASS to create a Twitter account (if you don't already have one) so you can more easily connect with the SQL community while @ PASS.

Without further ado, I'd like to present to you, My PASS 2011 Experience (Warning, OutputVerboseLevel = 2).

Sunday, October 9th.  
I got up at 3am ET to catch a 5:30am ET flight (and I was very excited the night before, so I only got about 3 hours of sleep).  I had a brief layover in Philly and arrived in Seattle almost 45 minutes early (10am PT).  After collecting my bag from the baggage return, I headed to the train station (attached to airport, very convenient).  Train from the airport to Westlake was inexpensive ($2.75) and took about 40 minutes.  I walked two blocks to the hotel (Sheraton) and got checked in (nice room on the 31st floor).  

Sheraton Hotel (Convention Center is to the right of the hotel)
By this time it was only 11am, so I had almost an entire day to kill.  I walked over to The Cheesecake Factory and had a nice lunch.  Then I caught a movie (Lion King in 3D).  The restaurant and theater were within 1 block of the hotel, so I didn't have to walk far.  The Convention Center was on the next block to the North of the hotel.
Washington State Contention Center
I crashed in the hotel room for a little while and got settled in, then I walked over to the Convention Center just after 5pm and registered for PASS.  I wasn't all that hungry (from travelling and being so tired), so I hit a grocery store and picked up some Baked Lays (they really help settle my stomach) and crashed in the hotel.  I watched some TV and got TweetDeck installed.  About 7pm I was going to go hang out with Aunt Kathi (Kathi Kellenberger - @auntkathi on Twitter), but she wasn't going to get to the hotel until about 8pm and I was just about ready to pass out from lack of sleep (and I was still on ET), so we decided to meet for breakfast the next morning.

Stay tuned for scenes from my next episodes (including pre-con sessions and remaining PASS coverage).

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