The SQL PASS 2006 Community Summit wraps up this afternoon. The entire conference has run very smoothly; the organizers and volunteers should be very pleased with themselves.
I got here this morning just in time for David Campbell's keynote. David was the primary architect of the SQL Server 7.0 storage engine, and is currently a Technical Fellow with Microsoft. David's primary topic was "Microsoft Connect", the company's product feedback system. All you need to participate is a Windows Live credential and a completed registration at https://connect.microsoft.com/registration. Once you've got that done, head to https://connect.microsoft.com/SQLServer and add SQL Server to the list of products on which you'd like to provide feedback.
The principle is disarmingly simple -- you enter your "wish list", and you can examine the wish lists of others. Your wishes are passed directly to the appropriate MS product team as untriaged bugs, and your voice is heard. The Universal Thread folks have been here all week, and they've got a nice write-up of the whole process here.
After David's talk, I was off to Advanced Report Patterns and Recipes, presented by Paul Turley of Hitachi Consulting. This was a very interesting talk, but as a BI noob, some of it traveled slightly over my head. The contents of Paul's talk will probably make a lot of sense to me once I've gotten my feet wet in the technology.
It was then time for lunch; faithful readers of this series of posts will know that I had an appointment to meet up with Rob Garrison. While the fare was a definite step down from previous days -- box lunches, very close to the typical Microsoft style -- the company and the conversation were both enjoyable and interesting. One universal truth I've uncovered in many of these conversations is that we database types struggle mightily to communicate successfully with senior management. We need to find ways to express set-based issues in a manner that's understandable and actionable by linear thinkers. The development of this skill set might be just as important as our technical underpinnings.
After lunch, it was time for the homestretch: Solving Business Problems with MDX (Sasha Juric and Robert Zare of MS), which was way over my head since I'd never seen MDX before; Hidden Gems in SQL Server 2005 (Cihan Biyikoglu of Microsoft), which was the least BI-focused session I've attended and contained ten great insights into the product which I'll post here if they don't show up on Cihan's blog); and Tips and Tricks - Doing Interesting Things With Reporting Services (Wayne Snider, Mariner), which so far is exactly as advertised.
All in all, with the exception of portions of Monday, this has been an excellent use of my time, and a very useful method for starting to bring myself up to speed on the Business Intelligence space. As wonderful as the technical aspects have been, though, the networking I've been able to perform is by far the most valuable aspect of my attendance here.
I hope to be in attendance for many years to come.
UPDATED 20 November 2006 for grammar.