Last week was the eleventh SQL Bits conference and it was a fun time in Nottingham. I traveled over to the Red Gate offices for a few days before driving to Nottingham for the event. This is my second SQL Bits and it’s one of my favorite conferences. It’s a little bigger than most SQL Saturdays, with more amenities, but it’s a low cost and it retains the charm, casual atmosphere and fun that many of the larger events have lost. Spouses and children typically have little problem attending with the data professionals, and the less formal proceedings seem to make this as much of a social event as a professional one.
The format is a little different from many events in that there are paid days (a nominal fee for a conference event) and a free day. You can attend part of all of the conference, and all of the sessions are filmed and available online. The event moves around the UK, and I’ve been to the Liverpool, and now, Nottingham, events. The East Mindlands Conference Center was a very nice facility, nice conference rooms and facilities, one of the better venues I’ve seen. The highlight of the event was the Friday night social, with a medieval theme. It was very surprising how many people participated. I had expected the organizers to dress up:
However I was surprised to see many others, including the Red Gate staff
And dozens of others. As I was leaving the Red Gate office on Thursday, someone gave me a bag and told me to wear it. I hadn’t checked it until Friday afternoon, and I was a good sport in just putting it on.
I had fun walking around throughout the evening, seeing the various costumes, some of which were amazing. The Lego costume was really stunning. I’m not even sure how I’d make that one. I haven’t seen a picture yet (and forgot to take one), but it was incredible.
I delivered my Searching Binary Data talk, and it went well (I think). I also attended Matijah Lah‘s talk on semantic statistics and learned a few things. I saw an amazing advanced DR/HA talk from Christian Bolton, and a few more interesting sessions. I also marked a few more to watch later.
I love most events, but typically the smaller ones, however I am looking forward to the chance to come back.