I left for the US just over 2 weeks’ ago to attend the PASS Summit in Seattle, followed by a week in San Francisco doing the tourist thing.
Basically, the Summit was awesome. The pre-con sessions were amazing (and intense!) – I think my brain was physically stretched during Itzik Ben-Gan’s session on advanced T/SQL.
I attended quite a few level-400 & 500 sessions on SQL Server internals, memory management, etc, as well as some “peripheral” topics like Event Notifications and Bob Ward’s excellent “Inside TempDB” session.
I got along to the networking dinner at Lowell’s on Monday night, where I met & had dinner (and a few drinks) with Sarah Barela (blog|twitter) and Andrew Calvett (blog|twitter) which was a nice start to the week. I also managed to see a little of Seattle on the weekends before and after the Summit, and got some nice photos along the way.
I’ve definitely arrived back at work feeling re-energised, and with lots of new ideas about different ways of monitoring our systems, troubleshooting existing problem areas, and how to better architect new features in future.
After PASS, I flew down to San Francisco where I had decided to stay for a week (it’s a long way to travel from New Zealand to the US just for 1 week). I hired a Harley Fat Boy for 4 days and got out around Northern California a bit which was awesome. No planned routes, just a rough idea, and I rode each day until I was tired and then looked for a motel to stay the night.
I ended up travelling from San Francisco up the coast to Monte Rio, then up through Fort Bragg and around to Clear Lakes, then across to Lake Tahoe, down to Placerville, and back to San Francisco by Thursday afternoon.
An amazing experience, and one I’ll definitely try to do again (maybe with my wife next time).
The one very sad thing that happened while I was away though was that South African were knocked out of the Rugby World Cup. But at least New Zealand ended up winning it, so I can kinda half claim that as a home team victory I guess.