Get me off of this stage

How not to give a presentation to a user group

I spoke at the Dallas user group last night in a feeble attempt to teach PowerShell to DBAs. Of course, it wasn't there fault, it was the fault of both the cosmos and me taking equal credit for the train wreck that I like to call "The train wreck in my user group presentation caused by both me and the cosmos."

So what went wrong? Well, for starters, everything. My laptop wouldn't work with the projector. We tried for almost 30 minutes and couldn't get it working, so we had to yield the floor. Originally, I was going to speak for 45 minutes, then have a 30-minute vendor presentation, then the main user group presentation. Instead, I yielded to the vendor, so we could work on our problem. I ended up switching to someone else's computer and putting all my presentation stuff over there, which you know automatically is a recipe for presentation success.

I got it going on the new box, then botched one demo after another. I don't think the entire thing was a wash, but it was definitely one of those nights. The keyboard didn't have the same layout, so I was constantly losing my train of thought to hunt for keys, etc.

To top it all off, the main presenter backed out at the last minute, and I had to go for like an extra hour past my material. So I'm up there just trying to come up with other stuff to teach. Anyway, this proves I'm far better behind my MidnightDBA camera than in front of a group. I'm one of those who have a face for radio.

On a lighter note, though, I got an e-mail about my last post, and I wanted to share my reply with all of you. Someone wrote and asked for some examples of new coding constructs that would make someone's life better were they to learn them. That's a pretty valid question, so I sent some off the top of my head. Here they are without any further editing or formatting:

look at the merge statement... you can compare an existing table with rows coming in and decide if it's an insert or an update on the spot... before you had to do it in different steps... 1 for the insert, then another for the updates... and yet another if you had deletes... now it can be done in a single statement...

another is using synomyms for table names that may have to change frequently... like aging out tables to keep dated snapshots so you suffix them with a date... so synonyms keep you from having to rewrite views or write dynamic sql to keep track of the new names...

look at the ability to pass @table into SPs now in katmai... how did you pass multiple rows into SPs before that? you either had to call the sp 100 times, or pesist the data to a table where the sp read it in... now you can just pass them directly as an array and not have to worry about the middle step or the poor performance of putting that in a cursor...

so there are 3 off the top of my head... then you can get into the older alternatives to the new time datatype, CTEs, partitioning, etc...
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