Last week was SQL Bits in the UK, and it was a blast. I think this might be my favorite conference, despite the long trip for me to get there. This is my third SQL Bits, and each has been more fun than the last.

This one was in Telford, which is NW of London, W of Cambridge, and a two hour drive from Red Gate. There’s not a lot around there, though Grant did want to stop at the Ironbridge Gorge, which we did.

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The event is a lot of fun, with three different days and different feels. Thursday has pre-cons, and there were a lot of people walking out as I arrived Thur afternoon. Everyone I talked to that presented a pre-conference session was happy with the day, and as I queried people on Friday and Saturday that had paid for one, all felt it was worth the time and money.

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Thur night was quiet for me, hanging out with friend and chatting while a pub quiz (trivial pursuit type, bingo event) took place in the conference center. It’s a nice mix of professional and casual that seems to excite me at SQL Bits. We learn a lot, and there are great sessions, but it’s not as strict and big a deal with badges being constantly checked as happens at some other conferences.

Friday was a day I didn’t have to present, so I walked around learning. I saw sessions on SSDT, Unit Testing, security, and more. It was interesting, and Andreas Wolter is a scary security presenter. His talk made me want to build an alert for anyone querying @@version on my systems. That seems to be the start of ways in which hackers can learn about what to attack inside your instance. Simon Sabin presented a great security session on encryption in which he also deployed changes to a live system without interrupting things. That was really cool.

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Friday night was the main party, which always has a theme, and is a lot of fun. Last year Red Gate gave me a costume, and I ended up looking like this:


This year the theme was Steampunk, with an older carnival type flyer. I wondered what that would mean, and I have to say that I was surprised when I walked into the party.

Photo Jul 18, 2 18 23 PM

Yes, there was a carousel, along with a two story slide, various entertainers, and carnival booth games. Lots of people dressed the steampunk way, including Grant. Here’s one that was taken, showing the types of outfits.


It was a little loud, but a lot of fun, and I stayed much longer and later than I planned. Saturday morning was hard to wake to, especially as I needed to pack up and leave.

Saturday at SQL Bits is the free day. I had two sessions, and while I sat in a few others, I also needed to prep. It had been quite some time since I’d actually worked with one of my sessions and the technology.

My branding session had a packed room and went over well. People asked a few questions, and hopefully I helped a few people. My CI session wasn’t great. The room was packed, but my VM acted up. I suspect that some of the changes to the config of HyperV at Red Gate caused a few issues, and I couldn’t demo everything I wanted to. Some of my processes failed when I didn’t want them to, and passed when they did. My apologies to the attendees is coming soon.

I didn’t stick around Saturday night as I had to get back to Heathrow for an early Sunday flight. Things were uneventful from then on for me.

I met lots of new people, as well as seeing many more that I’ve known for years and only see in the UK. The event was run as smoothly as any I’ve experienced, and was a lot of fun, with quite a few spouses and even some kids there.

Thanks to everyone that attended and huge thanks (and kudos) to the organizers. I’m already looking forward to next year and hoping to get to speak again.

Vote for me at SQLBits

SQL Bits XII is coming this July to Telford in the UK and voting is underway for sessions. I’ve submitted a few and am hoping to get accepted to go back. You can help.

You can log into the site and vote for the sessions you’d like to see. I’d prefer you vote for me because I’d like to go see friends and meet new people, but feel free to vote for the sessions you’d like to see.

The ones I’ve submitted are:

I’m not sure how long voting lasts, but take a few minutes today and pick your ten favorite sessions.

Vote for my SQL Bits sessions

“Rob? Tsk tsk tsk. That’s a naughty word. We never rob. We just sort of borrow a bit from those who can afford it. “

Robin Hood

SQLBitsLogoSQL Bits XI is coming to Nottingham forest, home of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire. This is a fun three day event, with a day of pre-cons, a paid day of sessions, and a free day. It has taken place twice a year in the UK, though the organizers skipped this past fall.

I’ve submitted a few sessions and I need your votes to get the chance to go back. I’d really like to since I really enjoyed the conference.

You can vote for these by logging into the site and clicking on the description for the sessions. You get to vote for ten sessions, so pick the ones you are most interested. I’m hoping you pick a few of mine, but whether you vote for me or not, vote.

I really enjoyed SQL Bits a couple years ago and I’m hoping to get the chance to go back this spring.

Bits Bound

I'm excited about my first trip to SQLBits

I can’t believe I’m driving to the airport again today for a trip out of the country. Given the troubles that I’ve typically had crossing the Atlantic, it seems crazy to me that I’m going to go for the second time this year. In my life, I’ve flown to Europe 9 times and each trip has always been a one-stop each way, yet I’ve never had less than 5 planes and had as many as seven. A few years ago I thought that would end as I flew to the UK and made it back to Chicago with three planes. I then proceeded to get on, and off, three more planes before the fourth managed to get me to Denver.

This time I’m trying a new route, actually flying through Calgary. My one Canadian trip was smooth, so maybe I’ll have an easy trip over the SQL Bits 9: Query Across the Mersey. Simon Sabin and the rest of the organizers have invited me to come quite a few times and I finally committed this year. I’ve been wanting to attend the event, which many friends have greatly enjoyed. I’m looking forward to getting to the home of the Beatles, Liverpool and seeing Chris Testa-O’Neill’s band along with the Fab Beatles, entertaining everyone on Thursday night. Assuming I can get there in time.

SQL Bits has a great format that I’d love to see duplicated in the US. They have a day of pre-cons called “Training Day“, which is packed this year withAndy Leonard (blog |@AndyLeonard) and Allen White (blog | @SQLRunr) from the US along with Maciej PileckiMark S. Rasmussen, and more. It’s a great way to get a pre-con at a great price. That occurs on Thursday, with a paid training day on Friday where I and many other speakers will be presenting on various topics. Saturday is like the US SQL Saturday model, with a free day of training for anyone that can register and come.

I love the SQL Saturdays, but I think this model would work in the US as well. I’m looking forward to seeing the event and then with Karla Landrum’s (@karlakay22) help, hopefully seeing an event like this in the US.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcasts