Upcoming Events: SQL Saturday Charlotte

Key Details

What: SQL Saturday Charlotte.
Where: 9025 University Rd, Charlotte, NC, 28262
When: Saturday, December 7th.
Admission is free. Register on the SQL Saturday website.

What I’m Presenting

10:15 AM — 11:15 AM — Optimizing Backup Performance Using Data Science Techniques

This is a brand new talk that I’ve put together for SQL Saturday Charlotte.

PolyBase Revealed for $7 During Cyber Week

Springer + Apress have a huge sale going on between now and Monday, December 2nd. You can get computer science ebooks for just $7 using the discount code CYBERWEEK19 on the Springer website.

This includes PolyBase Revealed, scheduled for release in January. List price for the ebook is $19.99 and $27.99 for the softcover version, so this is a huge discount. You should probably buy a few dozen copies of it as a result, as this will make a great Valentine’s Day gift, I promise.

While you’re dropping $7 at a time on books, you should also buy Ben Weissman and Enrico van de Laar’s SQL Server Big Data Clusters. It won’t include all of the changes since RC1, but will get you up to speed on one of the more interesting SQL Server 2019-related products out there.

Upcoming Events: Live! 360

Key Details

What: Live! 360 Orlando
Where: Orlando Royal Pacific Resort at Universal, Orlando, FL
When: Tuesday, November 19th through Thursday, November 21st.

Tickets are still available for purchase.

What I’m Presenting

Wednesday, 8:00 AM — 9:15 AM — Getting Started with Apache Spark
Wednesday, 9:30 AM — 10:45 AM — Data Virtualization with PolyBase
Thursday, 9:30 AM — 10:45 AM — Launching a Data Science Project
Thursday, 11:00 AM — 12:00 PM — Panel discussion: AI — For Data Scientists or Developers?

They’re going to keep me busy in Orlando and I love it.

SQL Data Partners Episode: PolyBase

Back in August, Carlos L. Chacon, Eugene Meidinger, and I recorded an episode for the SQL Data Partners podcast on PolyBase.

Episode 180 is now out for all to hear, so give it a listen.

Since then, there have been a couple modifications to PolyBase functionality, but the episode stands up well.

While you’re at it, you can pre-order PolyBase Revealed if you are so inclined. According to Amazon (and my secret connections at APress), it should ship sometime in late January, making it the perfect Valentine’s Day gift. Or something like that.

Upcoming Events: PASS Summit

Key Details

What: PASS Summit
Where: Washington State Convention Center, Seattle, WA
When: Wednesday, November 6th through Friday, November 8th.

What I’m Presenting

Wednesday, 4:45 PM — 6 PM — SQL Server Machine Learning Services in Production

With SQL Server 2019 having been released this week, I’ve shifted my presentation to focus more on 2019 than prior versions, especially around package installation and management. But there’s still plenty of information for people running 2016 and 2017.

New Website Design

I’ve been working on this for a little while now, but I finally decided to flip over the Catallaxy Services website to its new design today.

The old design was something I came up with about seven years ago and it definitely showed its age. In particular, it had a crummy mobile experience, with different font sizes, needing to pinch-scroll to see anything, and other dodgy bits.

I like the new website a lot better. Granted, if I didn’t like it as much, I wouldn’t have made the switch, but there are a few things I want to point out.


I do a lot of stuff, and it’s nice to be able to sort out most of those things in one location. That’s the Resources section.

Some of the things I do.

I also broke out resources by section, so if you want an overview of my community resources, you can click the button to show just those resources. Or if you want to give me money in exchange for goods and/or services, I have a “Paid Resources” section too.

Mobile-First Experience

I wanted to make sure not only that the site would work on a phone, but that it looked good on a phone. When I present, this will often be the first way people check out my site, so I want it to be a good experience.


I’m still working on this, but one of the things about the old site which made it fast but boring is that it was entirely textual. There were no images. Now, there are images on pretty much every page. I want to see what I can do to improve things a bit more, but it’s a start.

Presentations Page

Like the Resources section, you can see a list of presentations and also filter by topic.

These machines, they never learn.

For each presentation, I have the same contents that I had before: abstract, slides, demo code, additional media, and links/resources. I’ve shuffled things around a bit so that it looks reasonably good on a wide-screen monitor but also works on a phone or tablet. Here’s a presentation where everything’s nice and filled out. For other talks, where not everything is filled out, I at least have sensible defaults.


Something I didn’t do a great job of calling out before was availability for consulting and paid services. With the new site, I emphasize this in a few ways, whether that’s consulting, paid training (though actual paid training is forthcoming), or books + third-party offerings like PolyBase Revealed.

What’s Next

I have a few more things around the site, namely around custom training, which I intend to work on during the winter. I also have a couple of smaller ideas which I plan to implement over the next several days, but won’t call them out specifically. For now, though, I think this is a pretty good start.

Upcoming Events: NDC Sydney

Key Details

What: NDC Sydney
Where: 488 George Street, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia
When: Wednesday, October 16th through Friday, October 18th.
Tickets are still available on the NDC website.

What I’m Presenting

Thursday, 10:20 AM — 11:20 AM — Getting Started with Apache Spark

I intend to revise this talk a little bit and focus a little more on Databricks. Having spent a lot of time in Azure Databricks this summer, I think I’m going to include a bit more in Databricks and less in self-run Spark than before.