Disaster Recovery for Speakers

I have seen a few comments and remarks being thrown around about speakers doing a bad job because a demo failed or a machined crashed when getting plugged into a display adapter. I wonder why these IT professionals making said remarks still have day jobs, I mean clearly they are 100% awesome and everything always works. Surely they have more important things to do. PFFFT!

So I recently blogged about melting down and losing a machine. I had my slides & my data all backed up on OneDrive or still in email. So there was really only getting everything together and having the NEW MACHINE ready to present. That only took a couple hours on Friday afternoon. I have a somewhat bad habit of not backing up/uploading items while I am actively working on them. OOPS!

In the middle of the night I wake up and  realize this is a new machine with a 4k screen and I don’t have a display adapter for it. Hell I don’t even know what type of video out it has. But this was an emergency of swapping of machines at the last minute. When I arrive early at the event (I was holding down the Pass table) I ask the organizers what connection are there in the rooms, HDMI. Holly moley I am in luck! That is until I get in my room (last speaking spot of the day) and discover I am in the one room with no HDMI. Never sweat this folks, there is always someone around to borrow one from. I hollered upstairs for my darling husband, thinking he would hunt down a connector but much to my surprise Eugene saved the day again! He came running down with an adapter and all went well.

This morning I ordered HDMI to DVI and HDMI to VGA adapters for my visual pack. Yes I have a zipper pouch that has a remote c licker, Microsoft Wireless Display adapter, a display port to VGA/DVI/HDMI adapter, and a USB 3 hub with Ethernet.  Guess it will now contain 2 additional adapters.

Although I had busted my ass, worked out the minor issues I still ran into one problem. Okay 2. First the resolution on the display was terrible and I was scared to death to try changing any settings (see previous comment about device crashing). Second the built in zoom (on my Logitech M705 mouse) didn’t work on SSDT, but I was able to work around some of the horrible display issues. I feel terrible but I worked with what I had and didn’t skip a beat.

When my new adapters arrive I will be trying several different TVs and monitors around the house to see how they react and hopefully test out some options for if this happens again.

This is what I would say makes a good presentation packing and backing up check list:

  • Slides backed up to OneDrive and possibly a thumb drive if you are really worried.
    • My slides usually contain step-by-step instructions for doing my demo. My new deck doesn’t have them yet but should before Indianapolis. This helps me remember and gives attendees something they can use later.
  • Data being used backed up to online storage and possibly a thumb drive especially if it is large.
  • I normally carry a print out of my slide deck for reference and in case of emergencies, maybe you can get copies made.
  • A display adapter with multiple options.
  • A network adapter if your machine doesn’t have one.
  • Mouse/pointer clicker/office remote on your phone – I have all three available but generally stick with mouse or phone.

Last year (2016) for #SQLSaturday Nashville I put together “Speaker Ready Kits” with a cute note about this being the first event of the year and I wanted everyone to be prepared; in it are items that I also find super useful when traveling but even more helpful for speaking. This year we left refills in the speaker room and handed out first aid kits. Here is what my kit now contains:

  • Throat coat tea bags. Yes this stuff works.
  • Throat lozenges
  • Chap stick
  • Advil, I have been advised the kits need more Advil.
  • Pepto tablets
  • Individually wrapped dental floss
  • Individual eye drops (wetting drops)
  • Packet of Kleenex
  • Lens cleaning wipes
  • Shout stain remover wipes
  •  Safety pin
  • First Aid kit
  • 2 AA batteries & 2 AAA batteries

While you can never be prepared for everything you can be prepared for common things. Pay attention when other speakers tell stories, because there is more than likely a lesson to be learned there. And now that you know what’s in my wallet you should never be afraid to ask me to borrow something. Honest I still have a few pouches if you want one just ask, need refills – JUST ASK! 🙂 Also, let me know if there is a must have that I am missing. I’d be happy to try and work that in for 2018!


Indianapolis, United States

Well here we are it’s August already. I have been slow to start on SQLSaturday events and have IMO missed some great ones. Hopefully next year will come easier.

I am traveling to my home state of Indiana to present at #SQLSatIndy on August 12. I will be doing my new presentation “Reduce your DBA (& DEV) task list by using Microsoft BI tools” just before lunch. I am evolving this session as I go along, trying to incorporate ideas the class comes up with.

Hope and John do an awesome job for this event. This year they have brought back their beginner track. This track is open to anyone . . . → Read More: Indianapolis, United States

Melting Down

I am here to tell you that it is okay to have a melt down and it’s okay to talk about it. I also want to let you know that if you ever find yourself in this position and need a shoulder to lean on, an ear to listen that I am here for you.

As some of you may know flying isn’t always easy for me, I get anxiety. I do a good job of handling it but some days anxiety is a cruel beast that wins and completely makes no sense at all. Last week I was home alone all week, this is the first time I’ve stayed . . . → Read More: Melting Down

Columbus, United States here I come

Yes folks for the second year in a row I will be traveling to COLUMBUS OHIO for #SQLSat653. I am really excited to be visiting them again this year.

If this is your first visit to Columbus I have to recommend you visit the zoo. It is an awesome zoo with a lot of walking but most of it is shaded by natural walkways. Do it!

If you are new here SQLSaturday is a one day free training event for data professionals. These events are organized by volunteers and the speakers pay their own way. It is a great opportunity to get a day full of free #sqllearning and . . . → Read More: Columbus, United States here I come

Chattanooga here I come!

I am so honored to be speaking at SQLSaturday Chattanooga again this year. This is going to be a great trip! Sadly it is my first speaking event this year, we were a little side tracked with other things. We will be traveling from Arrington with Dean, Stacia, Tess, Cricket and Mimi. In a shocking twist we are not leaving early but we are staying late! Yup not leaving till Monday morning. We need to figure something out to do Sunday, but I am sure we will manage.

So what am I presenting on? Uh….well it’s a new session. Much like my 45 minutes till your first SSRS report, this . . . → Read More: Chattanooga here I come!

Local Venues

It seems to me that every time I turn around someone is looking for a venue to do something. Either a small party or a small meeting. Since I have just gone through looking for locations for both I thought I would share what I currently know about the local area.

Sportsman Grill Back room holds 40. Day min $300 night $400. Can limit menu choices. Has TV and you can connect to it. $$$$$$$$ weekends. Stoney River 3 rooms hold 30 each, 2 of them together 60. $2400 min Has TV JJ Wine bar Holds 20 people Connors 50 people 72” TV Lunch $300 min S-Thur $1500 min, $200 . . . → Read More: Local Venues

World Hijab Day

Yesterday (2/1) was World Hijab Day. This was a day to show support for women around the world for their right to wear a hijab. This is the 5th year of the event and their goal is to focus on fighting bigotry, discrimination, and prejudice against Muslim women. I saw several hash tags being used throughout the day like #worldhijabday and #istand4hijab. There was a call to post a selfie or photo with these tags while wearing your hijab, Instagram is even full of post.

Well last week when I discovered that this was going to be a real thing, I did what anyone would do research and place an . . . → Read More: World Hijab Day

Great Things from Pass Summit 2016

I have been home from Pass Summit 2016 for less than two days and needed to express some of the greatness last week had. First I’d like to share something personal; I had the great fortune of padding a few days before and a few days after the Summit for some fun and sight seeing. I got to visit Woodinville one day on both weekends and it was pretty amazing. If you want to skip and get to just the news click here.

On our first trip we met Kevin White at his winery. There were 2 things that made visiting with him so memorable. Currently in Washington everyone is . . . → Read More: Great Things from Pass Summit 2016

Elections and no Politics – VOTE for Pass BoD

It is that time of year again, time to vote. Not only do Americans get to vote soon for the next POTUS, Pass members from around the world get to vote for three (3) board of director seats. This year there are 2 Regional; USA/Canada & LATAM. The 3rd is an open, meaning any candidate can assume this seat. Why it is important to vote These seats are important to everyone, not just the region they represent. Each board member is assigned a portfolio to manage, those portfolios have a great impact on the community. For us locally the big portfolios are Chapters & SQLSaturday, these hit closer to . . . → Read More: Elections and no Politics – VOTE for Pass BoD

The Season of SQLSaturdays has begun

Date Location Submission Status 4/2 SQLSat 497 Huntington Beach CA SPEAKING Speaking just after lunch! 5/21 SQLSat 521 Atlanta GA SPEAKING! 6/4 SLQSat 517 Philly SPEAKING! 8am (someone hates me) 6/25 SQLSat 498 Chattanooga SPEAKING! Mid Morning 7/16 SQLSat 527 Columbus, OH SPEAKING! 8/13 SQLSat 530 Indianapolis SPEAKING! Last slot of the day, pretty sure that I have held that spot every time.

This is the current plan, of course there will be more added. I have been working on a new session, guessing that deadline of needing to present it on 4/2 will really help. I’m planning a what’s new in Microsoft Business Intelligence 2016 – More Love . . . → Read More: The Season of SQLSaturdays has begun