Newcastle Coders Group is Third Stop on Down Under Tour

train

I just made a whirlwind trip to Newcastle to speak at the Newcastle Coders Group, on “Getting the Most Out of the SQL Server 2005/2008 Profiler”. I took a 3-hour train ride from Sydney to Newcastle in the afternoon, made my presentation at 6:00 PM, then returned to Sydney the following morning. I didn’t get much opportunity to see much of Newcastle, although the train ride went through part of the Australian Blue Mountains.

The group is run by volunteers Peter Drew, David Williams, Sharon Parry, and Stephen New, and meets the 1st Wednesday of each month at 6:00PM at Forsythes IT and Training. Peter was very helpful in helping make the arrangements for this trip.

One thing I learned new from my trip is that much of the sand that you find on the beaches of resorts in Hawaii actually comes from Newcastle. While I knew that Hawaii imported a lot of sand (because the islands aren’t old enough to have created much of its own), I didn’t know that Newcastle was one of the sources of the sand.

Tomorrow, I am off to the SQL Server Code Camp in Wagga Wagga.

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Perth SQL Server Users Group is Second Stop in Australia

Brad-McGehee--Perth On Friday, October 3, I spoke a second time at Perth, this time at the Perth SQL Server Users Group. My presentation was on “Introducing the SQL Server 2008 Performance Data Collector.”

Again, the event was hosted by Mitch Wheat, who is also the leader of the Perth .NET Users Group. After the presentation, Mitch, and several other attendees, took me to a local restaurant for dinner, where I got to learn more about what it is like to live in Australia, and to learn to speak a little “Australian”. Do you know the difference between “freshies” and a “salties”? Now I do.

On Saturday, I spent the entire day getting back to Sydney, and then spent Sunday off, taking a tour of the Sydney Harbor on an 1850’s style 3-mast sailing ship. Although it was cloudy and rainy when we went out for the 2-hour cruise, it still was a great way to see more of Sydney.

Next, I’m off to speak at the Newcastle Coders Group on Wednesday. I’ll be taking a train from Sydney, staying the night, and returning back to Sydney the following day. This weekend, I’ll be presenting at the SQL Down Under Code Camp in Wagga Wagga.

Perth .NET Users Group First Stop of Down Under Tour

Mitch-Wheat

As the first stop of my five city speaking tour of Australia, I spoke at the Perth .NET Users Group on Thursday, October 1, 2009 on “How to Interpret SQL Server Graphical Execution Plans.

The group is run by Mitch Wheat, a Visual C# MVP (left in the photo), who helped me a lot with coordinating my down under speaking tour, and who is very active in the user group community.

The users group, which has been in existence for over five years, averages about 42 attendees each meeting, which are held the first Thursday of every month, at 5:30 PM at Excom Education, in downtown Perth. For more information on upcoming presentations, visit www.perthdotnet.org.

Arrive in Sydney To Begin 30-Day Australia & New Zealand Speaking Tour

Sydney-Opera-House

I’ve just began my 30-day tour of Australia and New Zealand, where I will be making 11 presentations in 9 different cities. I began my journey from my home, on the Big Island of Hawaii at 9:30 AM on Saturday, and arrived in Sydney at 8:30 PM on Sunday. Hawaii is located at -10 GMT, while Sydney is located at +10 GMT, a 20 hour time difference. It is not as bad as it seems, as we crossed the International Date time, so while, technically speaking, we are 20 hours apart, in effect, the time change was only 4 hours different.

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30 Days of Adventure in Australia and New Zealand

Starting Saturday, September 26, 2009, I will begin a 30 day, 9 city, and 11 session speaking tour of Australia and New Zealand. While I have been on several 2 and 3 week speaking tours, this will be my longest and most complex.

I have spent nearly a year making the arrangements, coordinating the tour with various user groups so I could make as many presentations as I could in the shortest time possible. This past two months have really been intensive, as I have had to book flights, train rides, and hotels for all these locations. The entire journey will include nearly 20,000 miles of traveling.

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Support Your Local SQL Server User’s Group

SQL Server user groups can be a powerful tool in advancing your DBA career. I attend dozens of them every year, and I can personally vouch that taking a few hours out of your busy schedule each month to attend a meeting can produce a high rate of return. For example:

Learn Something New: The focus of most meetings is continuing education. Where else can you get free training on a monthly basis?

Network: Whether it is to keep up with old contacts, or to make new contacts, attending user group meetings allows you to connect with people who share the same career goals, and interests, you do.

Get Answers to Your Questions: If you have a difficult DBA-related question, ask other members for their help and advice.

Look for a New Job: If you are looking for a new job, let everyone know. Many job opportunities are never published, and a group of DBAs is the best source of this inside information.

Fill Vacant Positions: On the flip side, if your company has a DBA opening, share it with the group. It is a lot less expensive than taking out an ad or paying a technical recruiter.

Get Free Stuff: Most user groups meetings give out lots of free prizes, including tee-shirts, books, software, high-tech gadgets, and much more.

Get Involved: Besides attending user group meetings, many members like to get directly involved with the group, participating in user group governance, speaking, managing the user groups’ website, or volunteering  for helping out at a community event, such as local Code Camp, TechFest, or SQLSaturday. This high-level participation is great personal branding; helping to get your name known throughout the SQL Server community.

SQL Server user groups are scattered throughout the United States, and the world. In fact, there are more SQL Server user groups outside of the United States than inside. To find out if there is a user group in your area, visit the SQLPASS Chapters webpage. And if there isn’t a SQL Server user’s group in your area, start one. Information on how to start one is available from the SQLPASS’s Potential Chapter Resources webpage. Additional information on user groups can be found atwww.ugss.codezone.com.

So tell us what you think about SQL Server user groups. What benefits have you received from attending, and why would you recommend other DBAs to participate?

Microsoft Offers User Groups Direct Support

If you are a leader of a Microsoft-related user’s group, and you haven’t done so already, you will want to check out Microsoft’s User Group Support Services at ugss.codezone.com. Once your user’s group is registered and approved by Microsoft, a wealth of services of available to you, including financial support, help with finding sponsors, managing your membership and events, publicizing your events, finding speakers, and much more.