Thursday, December 28, 2006

2006 – A Year of the Damn Data

It’s been almost exactly a year since I started “The Damn Data” (TDD). I have a great memory and love to reminisce about good times in the past so I’ve decided to put a data year-in-review summary below and list my professional resolutions at the end.

January 2006 – Come up with idea for “The Damn Data” website while sitting in a boring meeting at work arguing about data quality, thinking that the problem ‘is just the damn data’. Goal was (is?) to develop a brand about data of all types stored in all types of structures and manipulated by all types of tools.

February 3 – Present first ever session at South Florida Code Camp titled “It’s all about the Data: Building a Data Warehouse using SQL Server 2005”. I’ll never admit it but I was kind of nervous about the appeal of the topic but the 65 people in attendance convinced me that I was onto something. The post party at Tarpon Bend was quite enjoyable, I especially enjoyed talking with the pretty ladies who are also techies, and I think they were from Ft. Lauderdale. Oh well.

March – Much to the angst of Joe Healy, I skipped the Orlando code camp to watch my beloved St. Louis Cardinals play three spring training games in Jupiter, unknowingly watching the precursor to Game 7 of the NLCS (Cardinals @ Mets).

June – Roadtripped in the ‘shaggin’ wagon’ (since sold God bless it) with Healy and Tom Fuller to the Tallahassee Code Camp. Presented “Data Warehousing Essentials with SQL Server 2005” with 14 people in attendance. Slightly disappointed in the post-party at Paradise Bar and Grill due to lack of college students in town during the summer. Strongly suggested to Keith Rowe that TLH Code camp be moved back to September (which I’m told it will be). The best part was seeing city-boy AKA Fuller in his Buffalo Bills visor eating at “Hog Heaven” bbq on the side of U.S. 19, a place where only a redneck would feel at home (like Healy and I are at heart).

July – Wasted a good weekend at the Homewood Suites in Tallahassee working on a contract project and arguing with a batch load guy about the appropriate way to load data into tables. Even worse was the lack of a good bar in close proximity of the hotel. Jumped out of a perfectly good airplane with a fellow techie (Laurie) against my own judgement, but it was well worth it. Attended the Tampa code camp and presented two sessions “Data for Dummies: Parts 1 & 2”. First session went good, about 32 people in the room, some good questions, but a problem with my SSIS demo. DOH!!!!! I must have scared a bunch of people away because only 4 came to the second session. Enjoyed the candid feedback received from the evaluation forms, some of which said “speak more slowly, covered material too fast” and “speak faster, spent too much time on basic material”. MORAL – can’t please ‘em all.

August – Attended the Tampa Bay Technology Forum Summer tech jam (www.tbtf.org) at Channelside. It was a lot of fun and I got a chance to meet up with a lot of recruiters (many of them were very pretty and you know who you are, and I’ll still take you up on that dinner with your friend, Michelle). I also socialized with old coworkers and friends who I hadn’t seen in a long time. At the end of the month, I roadtripped with Healy, Kabza, Fuller, Schultes, and Zimmy to Jacksonville for the code camp (thankfully I did not drive this time). Shared a room with Kabza and Zimmy at the Hyatt on the St. Johns River. JAX is a beautiful town and I highly recommend it. Drank a couple with the guys at the Landing and ended up presenting “Data Warehousing Essentials with SQL Server 2005” as a fill-in in the afternoon with a pretty good hangover. Received an eval comment that said “too relaxed” contrasting with a comment saying “slow down and relax”. Went to the Bucs @ Jags preseason game with Kabza, riding the water taxi to the game; it was fun and worthwhile and one of the highlights of my summer.

September – Presented “Introduction to SQL Server Integration Services” at the Tampa SQL user group meeting with about 16 in attendance. The presentation went well and I enjoyed socializing with the group at Courtside Grille afterwards. Spent too much time chasing women and socializing to think a lot about data…….

October – Didn’t do a damn thing related to data, but I did hop on American Airlines and found myself at Game 5 of the World Series, watching the St. Louis Cardinals decimate the Detriot Tigers for the championship. I thought about data warehousing after noticing that it took 3 days for my AAdvantage miles to post to my account after my trip. In contrast, Delta posts the miles to my account by the time I get home from the airport. Could this be the difference between a batch load and a trickle feed (right time) data warehouse? Interesting…. Oh, and thanks to Kabza and Schultes for joining me at the Green Iguana (after Russ’ MSDN event) and Courtside Grille to watch the NLCS game 7.

November – Courtesy of my employer, attended The Data Warehouse Institute (www.tdwi.org) World Conference at Universal Studios in Orlando. I was able to walk around CityWalk during lunch and found it to be enjoyable. I learned a lot about ETL architecture and data warehouse design considerations. At the end of the month, went out with Tim, Kabza, Vinay, Schultes, and Healy to a good bar (The Independent) and Indian food restaurant in downtown St. Pete. It’s always a treat to socialize with these guys and I value those moments highly.

December – Attended the Visual Studio Team Systems for Database Professionals launch in Tampa at the Grand Hyatt. I unexpectedly was recognized in front of the 120 people there for my tribal knowledge and my wonderful website thanks to the Microsoft guys. Later in the month I attended the Hot Spaces.net Tech Social where my nametag with my name WES @ www.thedamndata.com drew quite a few stares. Met some great people and hopefully a hookup for some Tampa Bay Lightning tickets although she flaked at my first request.

Wow – now that I have written that I feel great and remember what a wonderful year it really has been. The goal now is to make 2007 even better, and tomorrow I will write a post with my thoughts on those goals.

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