Speaking at SQLSaturday Denver 2017

Cathrine Wilhelmsen Speaking at SQLSaturday Denver 2017

On Saturday, September 16th, I’m speaking at SQLSaturday Denver 2017! I’m presenting my Level Up Your Biml: Best Practices and Coding Techniques session: Learn how to centralize and reuse code with include files and the CallBimlScript methods. Make your code easier to read and write by utilizing LINQ (Language-Integrated Queries). Share code between files by using Annotations and ObjectTags. And finally, if standard Biml is not enough to solve your problems, you can create your own C# helper classes and extension methods to implement custom logic.

Since I last presented this session, BimlExpress 2017 has been released with a bunch of new features. I have updated my session to include some of these new features, and I’m looking forward to presenting with the new preview expanded Biml pane. Being able to see the expanded Biml is hopefully going to make it a lot easier for me to explain some of these things and for attendees to follow along :)

If you really like Biml, check out the three other Biml sessions at SQLSaturday Denver: Biml 101: Automation and Patterns by Yuliya Quintela, Stop Repeating Yourself – Automating Azure Data Movement With BimlScript by Levi Syck (@levisyck), and Metadata driven development by Bill Fellows (@billinkc).

Will you be attending SQLSaturday Denver? Come and say hi when you see me! :)

3 Mistakes I Made While Presenting Remotely

3 Mistakes I Made While Presenting RemotelyTwo years ago I wrote about my experiences presenting a webinar for the first time. I learned a lot that day, and it helped me prepare for presenting remotely. But, a webinar is not the same as a remote presentation. And as much as you prepare and rehearse, you just won’t be prepared for every little thing that might happen until you’ve experienced them. So in addition to the advice I shared in my other blog post, here are 3 of my mistakes you don’t want to make if you’re planning to start presenting remotely :)

I didn’t ask the organizers enough questions before I started presenting

How many people are attending? What does the room look like? Is the screen large or small? Are people sitting close to the screen or in the back of the room? Can you see my webcam? Where is my webcam placed on the screen that the attendees see? Will I see your webcam?

I should have asked the organizers to spend 5-10 minutes with me before the session started so I could get a better idea of who I was presenting for and what they would see. When presenting live, I walk to the back of the room to check how much I need to zoom in during demos. I can see what everyone else sees on the screen. I can adjust to different room layouts. When presenting a webinar, I know that everyone will see the same as me on their own screens. I can watch my own webinar on a second screen so I can adjust to the lag. When presenting remotely, I don’t know anything about what the attendees see unless I ask. Maybe my webcam covered parts of my demo? Maybe I clicked too fast through my slides? I don’t know, but I should have known.

I didn’t test running all my software at the same time

We did a test call and Skype, my camera and my microphone all worked. But generating SSIS packages from Biml in Visual Studio at the same time as sharing my webcam plus my sound plus my screen? Uh, yeah, that didn’t really go too well on my old and tired laptop. Demos that usually take 2-3 seconds ran for nearly 30 seconds. Demos that usually take 30 seconds (and make my Visual Studio stop responding just long enough for me to grab a sip of water and joke about it) ran for several minutes. It felt like an hour. I don’t have that many jokes! I ran short on time because of this.

Waiting... Waiting... Still waiting...

I should have tested more before starting my presentation. While asking the organizers questions before the meeting (see previous point), I should also have asked them to do a quick dry run with me. They could have given me feedback on the most important part of my demos: Was everything visible from the back of the room? Is the call quality good enough to present in regular speed, or do I need to slow down more? And most importantly – does everything actually work with all the software I’m running at the same time?

I stared at my microphone while presenting

I used a Jabra speakerphone, that flat, round gadget that looks like a hockey puck. It was next to my keyboard, and I kept staring at it all through my presentation. Because, you know, all the attendees were sitting inside it, and I was presenting for them :)

I should have looked more into the camera. I didn’t, I looked at where the sound came from. I also leaned down several times to hear questions better, which must have looked rather funny. I’ve only presented with headphones in the past, so this was a new experience for me. I should have rehearsed more with this camera and microphone setup to get used to where to look and what gestures to make.

I made these mistakes so you won’t have to!

Well, ok, I didn’t do it on purpose ;) But I do hope you can learn something from my mistakes, so you will become a way better remote speaker than me! I also hope you can learn something from my previous experiences. What advice would you give to new speakers who are presenting remotely?

Presenting remotely for Malta Microsoft Data Platform User Group

Cathrine Wilhelmsen Presenting for Malta Microsoft Data Platform User GroupWoohoo! On Tuesday, March 28th, I will be doing a remote session for the Malta Microsoft Data Platform User Group. I will be presenting my Biml for Beginners: Speed up Your SSIS Development session, one of my favorites :)

The meeting starts with my remote session, then there’s a short break before moving on to Gossip Geek – “… your one and only source into the fabulous lives of Geek’s elite…”. I have no clue what that is, but it sounds fun, so make sure to attend if you’re in the area :D And if Business Intelligence, SSIS and Biml is not your thing, maybe Columnstore Indexes are? The meeting finishes with Slawomir Drzymala (@sdryzmala) presenting Columnstore Index – do we need another one?!.

The Malta Microsoft Data Platform User Group is brand new. It was started in January 2017, and this will be their third meeting. I’m very happy I get to help support a new local group! If you’re a speaker and want to do a remote (or on-site!) session, you can find Malta Microsoft Data Platform User Group on Meetup, Facebook and Twitter (@MMDPUG).

And of course, if you’re from Malta, make sure you join and attend the meetings! If the sessions that day aren’t super interesting, attend anyway for the networking :)

Wow, I haven’t written one of these posts for a long time! It feels great to slowly move back into the world of speaking again. Thanks for inviting me to speak, MMDPUG! I wish I could be there in person, but I’m really looking forward to presenting for you :)

Speaking at Microsoft Ignite and SQLSaturday Minnesota

Hello, cold weather! I can’t believe it’s the middle of September already. Since I last wrote here I’ve been on vacation in Colorado, organized the third SQLSaturday in Oslo, road tripped around the fjords and mountains on Norway’s west coast, and worked three days a week for my client in Stockholm. But those are stories for later blog posts, Instagram, Facebook and Snapchat :) Now we’re back to speaking season!

Microsoft Ignite

Cathrine Wilhelmsen Speaking at Microsoft Ignite 2016I’m speaking at Microsoft Ignite! Whoa! I decided to give it a try and submit a session, but I never thought I had a chance since I’m speaking about Biml, a third-part product. But whaddayaknow, they selected my session! And my hubtalk! I was shocked, now I’m just nervous :) I’ve never been to a conference this large before, so I don’t really know what to expect.

On Tuesday, September 27th, I will present Avoid repeating yourself – an introduction to Agile SSIS development. It’s a 20-minute version of my Biml for Beginners session. Since I don’t have a lot of time I will focus more on the why than the how. Exciting!

On Thursday, September 29th, I will host an Automate Data Warehouse and Business Intelligence development hubtalk. A hubtalk is more like a discussion than a presentation, and I will be drawing on a Surface Hub. (So nervous!) I will be talking about Biml and metadata-driven development, and I hope to get a good discussion going with the attendees and learn from their experiences as well.

SQLSaturday Minnesota

Cathrine Wilhelmsen Speaking at SQLSaturday Minnesota 2016Since I was already going to the US, I wanted to try to squeeze in a SQLSaturday as well. I may be slightly addicted :D I really wanted to go to Kansas City since they have a Biml track, but I just couldn’t get it to work this time. However, I managed to get good tickets to Minnesota the weekend after! I originally registered as an attendee, but offered to step in as a speaker when someone had to cancel.

So – I’m speaking at SQLSaturday Minnesota as well! :) On Saturday, October 1st, I will present my Level Up Your Biml: Best Practices and Coding Techniques session. Dave DuVarney (@daveduvarney) will present Building Metadata Driven ETL Solutions with BIML before me, so I hope it will be a great day for those interested in learning Biml.

Are you going to Microsoft Ignite or SQLSaturday Minnesota? See you there! :)

Speaking at PASS Summit 2016

Speaking at PASS Summit 2016

The first time I submitted to PASS Summit was in 2015. My Lightning Talk was accepted, and I was so excited about getting the opportunity to speak at the largest SQL Server conference in the world! I had a fantastic time, so I decided to try again and submit for PASS Summit 2016 as well.

While on vacation in Spain with my family, I woke up to an e-mail from PASS HQ. The Call for Speakers Results! I was reading the e-mail on my phone, so it felt like I was scrolling and reading and scrolling and reading and scrolling and reading until I finally got to the actual results.

Accepted!

Accepted!?

ACCEPTED!??

I didn’t just get one of my sessions accepted. I got 2 general sessions and 1 lightning talk accepted. I nearly fainted! I had to read it several times before it sunk in. I’m going to speak at PASS Summit 2016. Not once. Not twice. But three times in one week.

…WHOA!

Wuuut!?

I have mixed feelings. I’m super excited, super happy, and extremely honored to be selected! But I also know several amazing speakers who definitely should speak at the PASS Summit who weren’t selected this year. In one way it feels like I stole a session from someone who deserves it more than me. At the same time, I literally jumped around of joy when I read my e-mail. It’s difficult. I’m happy that I was selected, I’m happy for the other speakers who were selected, I’m especially happy for my friends who are speaking at the PASS Summit for the first time, but I’m also sad to hear about all my friends who weren’t selected. But next year! I’ll cross my fingers that it’s their turn next year :)

My sessions at PASS Summit 2016

I will present three sessions at PASS Summit 2016:

Biml for Beginners: Speed Up Your SSIS Development (General Session, 75 minutes)
Advance Your Career by Becoming a Volunteer (General Session, 75 minutes)
5 Ways to Advance Your Career by Becoming a Volunteer (Lightning Talk, 10 minutes)

The Biml for Beginners session is one of my favorites, and I’m so happy I get to present it at PASS Summit! :D I’m happy I have 15 minutes extra compared to the usual 60-minute sessions at SQLSaturdays. It allows me to go a little more into detail on some of my demos, or spend more time on audience questions. This is going to be fun!

I’m also really excited about presenting a Professional Development session and a Lightning Talk version of it. Volunteering has truly changed my life. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for getting involved in the PASS and SQL Server community. I hope that I can pay it forward and inspire someone else to get involved – maybe an upcoming SQLSaturday organizer or speaker? :)

Every PASS Summit I’ve been to has been a new and unique experience. I can’t wait to see what PASS Summit 2016 is going to be like! I’m sure I will be freaking out about my sessions :D But I also know I will have lots of fun, and I can’t wait to see lots of friends from all over the world again. YAY!

 

Abstract Feedback

Several speakers have shared their abstract feedback after the results were made public. Brent Ozar has added a list of these speakers to his own feedback post. I appreciate the transparency, I learn a lot from reading other people’s feedback, and I hope that it will help the community as a whole and improve the selection process next year – so I’m jumping on the bandwagon :)

 

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