October 20, 2010

SQL Saturday 49 Orlando: 1,040 Miles Later

That’s right, this was a 1,040 miles driving journey to and from Orlando, and if you want to know if it was worth it, just keep reading.

 I had originally planed to carpool with John Welch (blog), but he faced some last minute plan changes that left me with 2 options: either canceling the trip or tackling the long drive by myself. Fortunately, the power of ‘la familia’ kicked in, and Isabel - my wife -  and my 3 kids: Carlos, Isabella and Diego decided to come along, so I didn’t have to do the long drive alone. I love you guys - You all rock!

We headed out on Thursday night and spent the night in Savannah, GA, which is roughly  mid point between Charlotte and Orlando. The next morning, we resumed the driving, and decided to make a few hours stop in St. Augustine to do some emergency shopping –  we had forgotten/lost Diego’s shoes :) . Finally, we arrived to our hotel just in  time for the speakers dinner. At the restaurant, I had the opportunity to say hello to Eric Wisdahl (blog), Andy Warren (blog), Louis Davison (blog), Aaron Nelson (blog), Ed Wilson and his wife Teresa, Tom LaRock (blog), Jose Chinchilla (blog) and Patrick Leblanc (blog). I also had the pleasure to meet Jack Corbett (blog) and Mike Walsh (blog) and  Pam Shaw.
The next morning, I was at the event site by 8:30, and just in time to attend Eric’s presentation on SSIS Data flows, which was great and well attended. Then, I stayed in the same room for Jose’s introductory session about SSIS which was packed with ~50 attendees. The third session was my talk “ETL architecture and SSIS”. Although the room wasn’t to its capacity, I had a great and very engaged audience. It looks like tying up the evaluations forms to the prize drawing was a good way to get feedback from them. I ended up with 23 evaluations averaging a +4 out of 5. After my session, I had the opportunity to meet the SQL Chapter lead of Pensacola, Jamie Beck, Ivan Gonzales, and Jorge Segarra (blog) and Noel McKinney (blog) among other great people.

3 Things I really liked:IMAG0029
  • The Speaker’s gift. A really nice hand-made coffee mug. Time to say bye to my old ‘geek’ coffee mug.
  • Picnic style lunch. Weather was great to be outside.
  • The opportunity to hang out with people that enjoy this type of events as much as I do.
All in one, the event was well organized from end to end. If I had to pick something to be improved, I would say to make sure all rooms are well suited fro this type of presentations. I am not sure if the SSIS track was the only one with that problem, but in this room the screen was not at the centered of the room centered and sat very low, making impossible for attendees to read the content in the bottom part of the slides. An item to add to every organizer to-do list: Validate every room is well equipped and suited for this kind of presentations – that would be fair to all speakers and attendees.
IMAG0027BTW, thanks to Jack Corbett for the ride to the hotel and  to Confio for sponsoring such a great dinner. Also thanks to Ed and Teresa for the PowerShell t-shirt for my eldest son – he wore it right away (see picture). Finally a big thanks to the organizers and all volunteers for making all this possible and giving me the opportunity to be there.

The drive back home was little rough for the little ones as we decided to do it in on shot, and it does not look like we will be jumping into any other long drive for such few days remaining on the year. …Wait, it looks like  DC SQL Saturdays was just announced. 

You can download the slide deck I used in my session from here:


  1. Thanks for making the trip Rafael, I really enjoyed your session and getting to meet you. And yes, the SSIS room had very few seats where the screen wasn't blocked, fortunately not all of the rooms were like that.

  2. Noel, the pleasure was mine. I am glad to hear other rooms were ok. I hope to see you soon again!


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