Tulsa User Group

I love user groups.

I have a special place in my heart for people who go out and give their time and knowledge away for free. I've written before about user groups. I used to think a good year of training involved a pretty specific list.

1) 12 local user group meetings (monthly visit)
2) Local SQL Saturday
3) Try to visit a few SQL Saturdays outside of your state if you can. Houston, Dallas, Kansas, New Mexico all have SQL Saturdays and are close to here. (Oklahoma, ours is August 23rd, 2014!)
4) Keep up with free training.
5) Try to present something, even a lighting talk for 15 minutes just to get up and involved.

I think I need to expand that list now. Jeremy Marx did a fantastic presentation on BIML. So far it was the best one yet. Tulsa invited me up to speak not too long ago and I have to say that it was a rather awesome experience. The people were exceedingly friendly, the venue was rather nice and it was overall just a great event. 

I'd like to add to my list. I think it's worth it to make that 90 minute drive each way if the training is right. Those same presentations that you're going to a SQL Saturday for are given first in these user groups. We go to presentations that interest us or at least address a specific problem. You have the ability to ask the presenter specific questions without a very strict time limit and when you do get into a discussion after the event... you're not rushing to the next class. 

I'm not saying to go to every user group meeting in a 200 mile radius... but I am saying that it's worth it to check into the ones around you. Every now and then they'll have one of those presentations worth taking a half day from work to attend.

To the Tulsa group; thank you for inviting me to such a wonderful event. I had a lot of fun.


SQL Saturday Houston

I spoke for my first time at a SQL Saturday in Houston this past week. I had a lot of fun doing so! I got to meet other speakers starting out, see some of the old hats and overall just get to give something back to the community. 

A few thoughts on SQL Saturday Houston.

It was run rather well. I really liked the food layout and the rooms. It was a very nice facility and short of finding the building, the whole event was really well done. I did show up before they put out the "SQL Saturday this way" signs in all fairness. 

The rooms were nice and clean, the food was good, the facility was well managed and the coordinators were practically jogging it seemed. They did a great job.

More than a few presenters

There were 54 presentations, 9 tracks 6 deep. If you wanted any track, you may even have had 2-3 to choose from. I'd like to thank all of the presenters that mostly came out to do this for free on their own time to either get their name and brand out or just to give back to a community that gives so much. Even a vendor said they preferred SQL over Oracle just because of how open and helpful the community is. Bravo for that.

Overall it was a fantastic experience and I have to give it to the folks down in Houston. They did an amazing job. If you get time, swing by their local user group. http://houston.sqlpass.org/ If their user group is half as good as the SQL Saturday was, you'll surely be impressed. 

I also recently went up to Tulsa for their user group and That post is scheduled for next Monday.

To both Tulsa and Houston; Thanks for having me! It was a blast.


Searching SSIS Packages or searching XML In General

Today I'm posting a small script with a simple purpose. I wanted to search all of my SSIS packages in MSDB for a specific word. This does not work on encrypted packages. That being said, here's the script in question.

, CONVERT( xml, CONVERT(varbinary(max),PackageData) )   AS XMLSource
FROM msdb.dbo.sysssispackages
--where convert ( nvarchar(max), CONVERT( xml, CONVERT(varbinary(max),PackageData) ) ) = ''

I know it has a lot of converts, but it works. It takes about 19 seconds to run on my server if that helps. 

If there are better ways to do this, please add it in the comments. I'd love to get a better version for my archives. 

I know this is a short post. Prepping for my first SQL Saturday has taken a bit more time than I expected. Thanks for reading everyone!