Where the blazes is Nottingham? Travel to SQLBits for International Travellers

If you’re thinking of coming to SQLBits from outside of the UK, what’s the options available to you? Here is a summary of the sections in this page, and I hope you will find it useful. Any comments or questions, please leave a comment so I can add new detail, to benefit everyone.

What is Nottingham all about, then?
Travelling from the United States

  • Travelling from Manchester
  • Travelling from London Heathrow 

 How do you get from the centre of Nottingham to the East Midlands Conference Centre and Orchard Hotel?
Driving in the UK

What is Nottingham all about, then? 

  • Well, it’s the home of the Raleigh Chopper.
  • DH Lawrence was born near here. You may have read Lady Chatterley’s Lover, which is a historical landmark in British legal history surrounding obscenity. In 1960, Penguin actually went to trial for publishing it. Penguin were found ‘not guilty’ due to the novels’ literary merit. Take that, Fifty Shades of Grey!
  • King Charles I started the Civil War near here.His execution led to Interregnum, where England was a republic for a short time. Thought we always had a monarchy? Nope. Take a look at the official British Monarchy website for more information.
  • In 1607 the founding Pilgrim Fathers left Bassetlaw to start their new life in Holland. It was 13 years later – in 1620 – when the Pilgrims finally reached Plymouth, USA. Which segues us nicely into the section entitled:

Travelling from the United States

You can arrive from Manchester, or London airports. Manchester is about 70 miles away from Nottingham.
If you come into London, Heathrow is perhaps a better choice than Gatwick, since Gatwick is at the very south of London.

  • Travelling from Manchester

Manchester may be slightly cheaper than Heathrow.  How do you get from Manchester Airport to Nottingham?

National Express

Service NX350National Express Coach – they operate buses from Manchester Airport. Some services go direct to Nottingham, other services require that you change at Leeds. Here is an example for Service NX350, which takes you from Manchester Airport to Nottingham. This is a long journey though – three hours minimum. Not what you want, if you’ve just had a 9 hour flight from the US. That said, Manchester is a great place to stop overnight if you want to see a different part of England.
National Rail might be a better option. It is quicker, at 2.5 hours to get from Manchester Airport to Nottingham. You can get a train from Manchester Airport to Manchester Piccadilly station, and then catch a train from Manchester Piccadilly to Nottingham. 

  • Travelling from London Heathrow
Heathrow offers lots of options to get yourself to Nottingham. 
Train from London Heathrow:
If you want to use the train, I think that going from:
London Heathrow to Paddington using the Heathrow Express, then…
Paddington to St Pancras then….
St Pancras direct to Nottingham, is probably the simplest. Other suggestions, please leave a comment.
The Heathrow Express takes you from the airport to Paddington Station. 
You can then take an Underground tube from Paddington to London’s St. Pancras station.  Here is a map of the St. Pancras area so I’d suggest you take a look at it. Here are two routes, which take about 15 minutes. The reality is that both trains go from Platform 16, and follow the same route. Here is a tube map to help you to see what I mean.
  • From London Paddington, take the Circle Line (Eastbound, Platform 16) which is a direct service to Kings Cross St Pancras Underground Station 
  • From London Paddington take the Hammersmith & City Line (Eastbound, Platform 16) which is a direct service to Kings Cross St Pancras Underground Station.
 Once you get out of the tube station, you will see the magnificent St. Pancras station. St Pancras International was named after St Pancras Old Church. Dating back to 400 AD, it is believed to be one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in England. Just look for the clock, and you enter the station from the archway.
London’s St. Pancras Station is a fantastic example of Victorian Gothic architecture. Here is the staircase, inside St. Pancras hotel.
It has Betjeman poetry engraved on the walls. Some of the train sheds were bombed during the Second World War, which has only been partially reglazed at the time of writing. 

Once you get to St. Pancras, you can get your train to Nottingham. To book your tickets, go to the National Rail website.

How do you get from the centre of Nottingham to the East Midlands Conference Centre and Orchard Hotel?

The official EMCC website is here but they seem to advise getting a taxi.  Here is the number of the EMCC to ask for a taxi, if you need one: 0844 346 1216

Driving in the UK

There are some nearly quarter of a million miles of roads in Britain. Many of the roads are built on the old roads laid down by the Romans centuries ago. Roads in Britain range from wide modern motorways down to narrow country lanes usually bordered by hedges, stone walls, grassy banks or ditches. Cities and towns tend to have narrow streets because they date back to well before cars were invented. A lot of towns, like my nearby St. Albans, date from Roman times and were not designed for today’s traffic.

There are plenty of car hire places, but I’d suggest that you specify an automatic or you might get a manual / gear stick / gear shift or whatever you call them.

We also drive on the left hand side of the road in the UK. Why? Because it’s the law.
Don’t text / tweet / talk on the mobile (cell) whilst you drive.
Roundabouts – these are the most contentious for non-Brits. Here is what the British Government’s ‘Highway Code’ has to say about the issue. It boils down to:

  • If there are two lanes: if you’re turning right, go into the right lane. If you’re turning left or straight ahead, use the left lane. This is the rule, unless the road markings say otherwise.
  • Always give way to the person coming from the right. He has priority over you. Let any traffic from your right, go first. Then you go. The people on your left hand side…. they’re waiting for you.

Any questions, please leave a comment and I’ll pick it up here, for everyone’s benefit.

See you at SQLBits!

Jen x

Spanish Error when Installing SharePoint 2013 Server on a VM

I’m in the process of installing SharePoint Server 2013 on a VMWare machine, with Windows Server 2008 R2 and SQL Server 2012 Service Pack 1.  After I’ve installed all the pre-requisites, I start to install the server itself. That’s when I get a cute Spanish error message:

In case you need more detail, it says:

Error 1335. El archivo.CAV “Proof.CAB” que se necesita para esta
instalacon esta danado o no se puede usar. Esto puede indicar un error de 
red, un error al leer desde el CD-ROM, o un problema con esta paquete.

Hopefully that’s more ‘search engine’ friendly than the image.

I don’t speak Spanish, but I can tell you that it simply means that the VM can’t see your CD drive properly. Super easy to fix. All I did, was use the *.ISO file as the CD drive, and you can see how to do this in the image below:

Once you do this, you can proceed to install SharePoint 2013. Good luck!

PASS Business Analytics – what’s so exciting about this new conference!

I’m delighted to announce that I’m speaking at the PASS Business Analytics Conference in Chicago, which takes place in April 2013. This conference is exciting since all about data, working with data, analysing it, strategy around data…. the types of discussions that will spark people who love data and analysing it, as I do!

If you work with data, and/or Excel and the other BI applications from Microsoft – this event is for you. We will be talking:

  • data discovery
  • data exploration and visualization
  • predictive analytics
  • big data
  • information architecture and delivery
  • collaboration
  • information strategies
  • Microsoft’s collaborative business analytics platform
It sounds as if it is the event for people who love data and I cannot wait to meet these new community members.Over 1,200 business analysts, data scientists, architects, and BA/BI practitioners are expected to take part in the 2-day conference, and I think that the sessions, plus the company of other Business Analytics and data enthusiasts, will lead to a refreshing environment for learning and networking – and also having fun! 

What will we be discussing?

  • sparks from the anvil – real-world insights
  • prescriptive guidance and best practices
  • strategic vision for successfully analyzing, managing, and sharing business information
    and insights

For more information and to register, visit http://www.passbaconference.com. or follow on twitter at @PASSBAC and I look forward to seeing you there!

SQLSaturday Edinburgh Preconference Training Day sponsored by SQLSkills

The SQLSaturday Edinburgh team are extremely proud to present the following one day, advanced level training with SQLskills Jonathan Kehayias and Joseph Sack. The Training Day will be held on Friday 7th June at the University of Edinburgh Pollok Hall, Edinburgh, Scotland. You can find full details here, such as travel, accommodation and venue., and you can register here.
I’m very proud that Jon and Joe are joining us. They are extremely well-respected for their knowledge in SQL Server.
You may well have read their books or material. Jonathan is the ‘go-to’ expert and authority on Extended Events in SQL Server 2008— for example, he wrote the definitive whitepaper on Extended Events for Microsoft.
Joe is a SQL Server author, and you can see his Amazon page here. In 2009, Joe took over responsibility for the entire SQL Server Microsoft Certified Master program and held that post until 2011.
Jonathan and Joe are part of the highly-respected SQLskills team. We are also delighted to announce that SQLskills are our official Preconference Training Day Sponsor, and we are grateful to them for their fantastic support of SQLSaturday Edinburgh.
The SQLskills team are brought together by Paul S. Randall and Kimberly L Tripp, two of the world’s most renowned SQL Server experts, is dedicated to providing the highest quality and most in-depth training and consulting in the market. The SQLskills team have an emphasis on real-world expertise that you can immediately put into practice, making you a better SQL Server professional.
The Training Day itself has the following Agenda and you can register here.
Leveraging SQL Server 2012 Features and Tools
SQL Server 2012 offers a number of new features that improve high availability, security, performance analysis, and scalability that can be immediately leveraged for an immediate return on investment associated with upgrading. In this session, Joe and Jonathan will go through a huge list of problems solved by these new features and tools – and will demo them along the way!
Some of the new SQL Server 2012 features that will be discussed:
  • partitioning enhancements
  • ColumnStore indexes
  • contained databases
  • distributed replay
  • server-level roles
  • predictable failover with failover policies
  • availability groups
  • multi-database failover
  • read-only secondaries
  • and… much, much more!
If you want an information packed session with practical reasons to upgrade and powerful tips and tricks for using the new release – this workshop is for you!
Who are the presenters?
Jonathan Kehayias and Joseph Sack are well-known SQL Server experts, part of the elite SQLskills team of expert consultants.
What will you take away from the session?
By attending this session, you will obtain advanced SQL Server 2012 knowledge that will help you to conduct your upgrade more smoothly, whilst helping you to understand the new SQL Server 2012 features can help your environment.
SQLSaturday Edinburgh offer very reasonably priced sessions aimed at helping the SQL Server community. Given the low cost of £125 (exclusive of VAT) for this one-day training course, we believe that you will recoup this investment by delivering your upgrade with the expertise that you will gain from this session.

Three Presentations, Two Continents, One Day!

I’ve just finished a Herculean effort for the community. I delivered two presentations at SQLLive360, Orlando, Florida… then stepped on a plane for a nine hour flight to London, to deliver a presentation on mobile Business Intelligence at a SQLSanta event that I helped to organise.

Why? Well, I’m not really sure, but I had a blast at both events.

SQLLive360 was an event which delivered four events in one location. Each event focused on SharePoint, Cloud, SQL Server and Visual Studio. The SQLLive360 team, which included my ‘go-to’ Big Data expert Andrew Brust, were incredibly helpful and worked very hard, and the event was a great success, judging from delegate comments. It was also great to see my SQLfamily: Tom LaRock, Allen White, Edwin Sarmiento, Grant Fritchey,William Pearson, Bradley Ball and finally, it was great to meet Lynn Langit at long last. Lynn’s been an inspiration to me for a long time, and it was great to talk with her.

So, then, straight after the Mobile Business Intelligence presentation, it was a mad dash to a town car, which took me to Orlando Airport for a 9 hour flight back to London. Once I arrived at Gatwick, after having had two hours sleep on the plane, I drove my car from London Gatwick Airport to central London, and arrived in time to deliver my presentation for the SQLSanta event in the Microsoft offices in London. Much kudos must go to Dave Ballantyne, Tony Rogerson and Neil Hambly, my partners-in-crime for organising SQLSanta. It was a lot of fun!

In case you’d like a copy of the presentation, please find it below.