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Biml in Belgium at SQL Server Days 2015

SQL Server Days 2015 - Cathrine WilhelmsenLast week I visited Belgium for the first time to attend and speak at my first SQL Server Days 2015. It was a truly great event, and I would like to say a huge thank you to the organizers and volunteers for making it a wonderful couple of days for speakers and attendees!

The venue was spectacular, but unfortunately none of my pictures do it justice. Take a look at the great pictures on the SQL Server Days Facebook page instead. I loved the huge open area in the middle where everyone could meet during breaks, and I was so happy there was unlimited coffee and chocolate! :) The rooms were all unique and fun to present in. One room looked like a library, another like a bar, and I presented in the room that was decorated like a train station – with trains in it!

I presented my Don’t Repeat Yourself – Agile SSIS Development with Biml and BimlScript session. It is based on my Biml introduction session, but included some of the more advanced features like C# classes / methods and Transformers in Mist. My attendees were a mix of people who were completely new to Biml, people who had tried basic Biml and people who had already created advanced Biml frameworks. It was a bit tricky to cover everything for everyone in just one hour, and I know I went too fast through a couple of demos, but I hope it wasn’t a waste of time for those of you who attended :)

The slide deck is available on SlideShare, and I have uploaded all the demo files on my Biml Resources and Reference page for you to go through at your own pace. Some instructions are included in the README.txt file, and feel free to contact me with any questions. I will continue to update the demo files with new and improved examples. You can always find the latest version on my Biml Resources and References page.

SQL Server Days 2015 - Speakers
Speakers! What a great bunch of people :)

SQL Server Days 2015 SQL Server Days 2015 - Room 4
First picture: Attendees eating lunch. Second picture: The room I presented in, wow!

Thank you so much for having me, and I hope I can come back in 2016! :)

356labs – Presentation Design for Technical Presentations

Technical presentations vary from introductions for beginner audiences (where it is more about the why than the how), to deep dives for expert audiences (where it is all about the details). Some speakers prefer a more fast-paced and inspirational presentation style, while others spend more time on content and have a more informational presentation style.

A 5-minute lightning talk is completely different than a full-day workshop, but they have one thing in common: The content should be delivered in the best way possible so the audience leaves with new inspiration, new ideas and new knowledge.

Presentation design is not just about making things pretty. It is about making content understandable and communicating effectively. It is about creating a logical flow and a story that grabs the attention of the audience, keeps them engaged, and helps them remember the content when they leave.

Which of these two slides are you most likely to remember?

Presentation Design - Bad? Presentation Design - Good?

Presentation design is important. But let’s face it. It can also be really difficult and time-consuming!

I have a tiny designer living inside me and I love spending hours tweaking my slide decks, finding new fonts, searching for pictures and creating illustrations for my content. Presentation design is important to me, I enjoy the process, and I always try to improve and learn more.

But what if you don’t enjoy tweaking pixels as much as I do?

356labs is a presentation design agency that focus on creating high-quality slide decks, and also offers training on presentation design and presentation skills. They can help you make things pretty and understandable.

It was launched earlier this week by Boris Hristov (@brshristov), one of my biggest inspirations when it comes to presentation design for technical presentations. (Also check out his Presentation Design webinar and Introduction to Presentation Design course on Pluralsight.)

I’m a pixel-perfect control freak with OCD tendencies, but if there is one person I would trust to create a presentation for me – it’s Boris. I can’t wait to see the amazing presentations that 356labs will create in the future! Good luck :)

SQLSaturday Oslo 2015 Summary and Pictures

Thank you for making SQLSaturday Oslo 2015 a huge success!
After many months and countless hours of planning, it’s hard to believe that the second SQLSaturday in Oslo is over. It was a huge success thanks to all our organizers, speakers, volunteers, sponsors and attendees – thank you! I’m so proud of everything we accomplished, and I hope everyone had a great time :)

SQLSaturday #414 Oslo 2015 Pictures

Pictures from the event
A special thank you to Rodney and Erik who were our photographers during the event, and to Pål for sharing some of his great pictures!

An international event in Oslo
A total of 164 attendees out of 196 registered showed up during a sunny day in Oslo. Did you know that we had attendees from Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Lithuania, Germany, Austria and England, as well as from all parts of Norway? On top of that, we had speakers coming in from Sweden, Denmark, Iceland, Germany, Russia, Italy, Bulgaria, Israel, The Netherlands, Belgium, England, Ireland, Portugal, USA and Norway. Crazymazing!

Pre-conference workshops
This year we decided to organize two pre-conference workshops (precons) on Friday before the main SQLSaturday event. David Peter Hansen (@DPHansen) presented Understanding SSIS Internals and Performance Tuning for 22 SSIS developers, and Margarita Naumova presented A Practical Approach for Troubleshooting Performance Problems for 21 DBAs. It was a great addition to the main event, and we plan to have two or three precons next year as well – and we plan to let you guys decide which ones :)

See you next year?
We hope you enjoyed SQLSaturday Oslo 2015 and that we’ll see you and your coworkers again next year! Follow us on twitter (@SQLSatOslo) and make sure you join SQL Server User Group Norway for more free training and networking while you’re waiting for SQLSaturday Oslo 2016 :)

Costumes for Charity at PASS Summit 2015

PASS Summit 2015 Costumes for CharityIf you attended PASS Summit 2014, you probably noticed the Rainbow Unicorn Hoodie, the Fluffy Rainbow Leggings, the Rainbow Wings and the I ♥ Unicorns ribbons. It was the result of Argenis Without Borders and the SQL Server community raising over $13000 (!) for Doctors Without Borders.

And they’re doing it again with Argenis Without Borders 2.0! Please help support a good cause and let’s have some fun while doing it :)

PASS Summit 2015 is close to Halloween, so this year it’s all about Costumey-Crazy Hat-Crazy Fun. #SQLFamily raised over $1000 and reached the first goal in just 1 hour (!) and we all look forward to seeing Argenis in a Ted costume :D

The next goal is $5000. A whole bunch of people from the SQL Server community, myself included, will dress up in costumes and/or hats during PASS Summit when we reach this goal. At $10000, one lucky donor will win a PS4 or Xbox One. (Hey, even if you don’t care about supporting a good cause, donate anyway for the chance to win a really cool prize!) And there are more fun things to look forward to if we do better than last year. Can I tempt you with some embarrassing dancing to beautiful trombone music?

This is such a fun and silly event that it can be easy to forget what it is all about. We can help save lives. Imagine what Doctors Without Borders could do if each of the 5000 PASS Summit attendees donated just $5? What if we decide to skip a drink during PASS Summit and raise the amount to $10? So little, yet so much.

Donate to Argenis Without Borders 2.0 today! :)

Speaking at SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg

SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg, SwedenThe very first SQLSaturday in Sweden, SQLSaturday #433 Gothenburg 2015, will be held on September 5th. I’m very happy to announce that I will be speaking! I will be presenting an updated version of my Biml for Beginners session, and I will also be available the rest of the day if anyone wants to chat about Biml or learn more about the advanced features :)

I was planning to attend this event even if I wasn’t selected to speak since it is the first SQLSaturday in Sweden. It’s so great to see the Nordic PASS community grow, and I want to help and support my neighbors in any way I can. It’s going to be a fun couple of weeks for me doing the whole Scandinavian SQLSaturday tour: SQLSatOslo on August 29th, SQLSatGothenburg on September 5th, and SQLSatDenmark on September 19th. Yay!

Take a look at the great schedule, register, and I hope to see you in Gothenburg! :)