It all started with some lego, some beer and a water slide
When I started looking at SQL conferences I had heard about this conference held in Denmark in the middle of nowhere with everyone staying in huts and was always interested as to how it worked, confining all the delegates in one place with no opportunity for escape. Later on when I became an MVP I started hearing stories about a conference in Denmark, the same one. It was the extreme of the conference work hard play hard ethic. The play hard being the legend. The huts are holiday homes and the conference venue is on the site of Legoland. On one of the nights they have a bbq and on the last night they have a dinner followed by the pool party. This isn’t any old pool party but here they take over a water park with a bar. You can imagine the scene, a conference of Oracle and SQL guys (a few woman), drinking and then going down water slides in groups of 4 on huge rubber rings.
Almost two years ago I was invited to speak at said event and unsurprisingly decided it was a must. The event was Miracle Open World 2011.
Now whilst the event and the beach party was something to behold, you try holding a beer whilst shooting down a vertical slide, my overriding memory was a talk I attended.
“You’ve got to go and see this guy. Last year he dissected the internals of a PDF document.”
This was a comment by on of the attendees about a session on dissecting mdf files.
Being a fairly hard core SQL guy I though this was going to be a poor show, mdf files are very complex. But I was intrigued as I was looking at how to explain to developers how SQL worked, and thats what the session promised.
Well I wasn’t disappointed, the session was by Mark S. Rasmussen, on his OrcaMDF project. Essentially he has written code that allows you to point it at an MDF file and it will reconstruct rows and columns from the data. Essentially he’s written the storage engine parser, that parses pages into the relevant information.
Even at that stage Mark had made huge progress and could different types of pages, have linked lists of pages and the allocation maps, decode page values into the column values. Not simple stuff by any stretch.
Mark is a seriously clever and nice guy. If you ever see him at a conference say hi and have a chat. He’s also got a fascinating past, more examples of your stupidly clever he is.
Since that talk Mark has been talking around the world (no idea how he finds the time, or the money to do it) and I’m really please today as I found out that Mark has been awarded an MVP for SQL Server. Fantastic and well deserved.
You can followed Mark on twitter http://twitter.com/improvedk or read his blog http://improve.dk
He has made the OrcaMDF project available on Github https://github.com/improvedk/OrcaMDF
This is where it started http://improve.dk/archive/2011/04/17/miracle-open-world-2011-follow-up.aspx