Speaker of the Month, November 2013

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Yeah, I’m a couple of days late. Tough. My blog. My rules.

Speaking of rules. Speaker of the Month is chosen by me based on my whims, interests and the direction of the wind on every other Tuesday at 3PM. No whining.

I saw a ton of excellent sessions during the month of October. I was at SQL in the City, SQL Saturday Charleston, and the PASS Summit, so I had an embarrassment of riches to choose from. One session stood out. It’s on a topic that, frankly, I find incredibly dull. But not this presentation. Without further ado, for November I’m picking Chris Bell (b|t) and his presentation, Indexing Encrypted Data (oh stop yawning, this is good).

Chris went to town on the slides. He’s clearly very carefully built this presentation based on great graphic design principles. Then, he combines this great slides with excellent, real world, stories about data loss, about encryption, encryption costs and issues and solutions. I was enthralled, and remember, I find this topic dull. That means Chris is making it interesting. I really loved the demos and how he carefully broke down the solutions to allow you to get indexing in place on encrypted data. Chris very carefully lays out the strengths and weaknesses of his solution throughout the presentation. You’ll go away from this with a better understanding of how encryption works, how indexing works, and how to find solutions to the problems that encrypted data gives to searches. Fantastic work. His delivery was clear, smooth. He took questions like a pro. The humor was actually funny. Great presentation.

I have two issues with Chris’ work. First, well, this isn’t a criticism, but we need to get more people into the session. Maybe a better title. Maybe a better abstract. Maybe both, but this is the exact kind of session that lots and lots of people need to see. The next is that there is a moment between when Chris outlines the problems that encryption causes and the solution he has that I got lost. Looking around the room, several other people were too. We all understood the problem. We, well, I, mostly, understood the solution, but there’s a moment in the transition where a more careful progression is needed (at least, I needed it).

Other than that, we need to get people to see this session. I’m pretty sure that Chris will present this at SQL Saturday DC. I’m not sure where else. He’s on Lanyrd.com, but doesn’t have any upcoming speaking engagements.

Previous speakers of the month for October, September, August


OK, fine, but what do you think?