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SQL Saturdays: Free, Fun, Informative

To start up SQL Server Management Studio faster, you can turn off Online Help, error/usage reporting and certificate revocation checking. It also helps to exclude the SqlWB.exe and Ssms.exe executables from anti-virus and anti-spyware tools.

Those are all tips from SQL Server MVP Aaron Bertrand, who presented at the recent SQL Saturday #34 Boston 2010 event (actually held in Waltham, Mass.).

Those are all beginner tips, of course, but dozens of other presentations targeted intermediate and advanced users, covering diverse subjects such as career tips, storage design and SQL injection attacks.

SQL Saturdays are held across the country, and chances are one is coming to a  city near you.

The SQL Saturday brand name and Web site is licensed free of charge to local groups that want to organize an event, courtesy of Andy Warren, Brian Knight and Steve Jones, who started them off in 2007. The all-day events are a great way to network with peers and learn from experts.

For Adam Machanic, head of the local SQL Server user group and organizer of SQL Saturday #34 (also called New England Data Camp), the payoff for all of his hard work is the community participation.

"It was great to see so many new faces--people I've never seen come out to the user group--show up on a Saturday morning for a full-day, community-driven event," Machanic said of the data camp, which attracted some 350 attendees. "Some of these people even agreed to show up at 7 a.m. to assist with setup. For someone to do that without any prior interaction with me or the local SQL Server community is truly amazing and I think really illustrates the power and community nature of these events."

And community-driven certainly doesn’t mean quality-lacking. He pointed out that an entire track was dedicated to performance tuning and three SQL Server MVPs and two Microsoft employees were on the presenter roster.

To see for yourself, many of the session materials can be downloaded.

The next event is #33 in Charlotte on March 6 (yes, after #34; I forgot to ask why the events’ numbers have no correlation to the calendar schedule). Fifteen more are scheduled through August. Check them out.

Do you have any experience with SQL Saturdays? Or any other similar community-driven events? Comment here or send me an e-mail.

Posted by David Ramel on 02/11/2010

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